|The Japanese Embassy at the Washington D.C. shipyard in 1860: Vice-Ambassador Muragaki Norimasa (third from left), Ambassador Shinmi Masaoki (middle), and Oguri Tadamasa (second from right)|
Years ago, when I started this project about the visit in Year 1860 to the Hawaiian Kingdom by the delegation representing a newly-opened Japan on its way to the United States of America I was never quite sure what would lay ahead.
I saw this blog as a free resource available to all who were interested in this remarkable event in our history. That continues, by the way.
Back in 2013 and 2014 I gave some thought to turning this into a book project. That, too, continues. But as things go life has a way of interfering with our best intentions and our plans.
My teaching schedule increased for one thing. In 2015 I was invited by the Chinese government to come to Beijing as an official guest for its 70th year commemorations of the end of World War II. Stories about my research into my late-father's service in China caught their attention -and off I went to Beijing. That excursion was both life and career changing, launching my current career as a radio broadcast journalist. I worked again as an adjunct instructor, a professional tax preparer, started traveling extensively again, and so on.
Historical things like these tend to capture my passion for history and my imagination as well. I'm always delighted when others join in, too.
Just after the beginning of 2019 I received an email from Mr. Jon Yoshimura representing Hawaii Governor Ige's office. It seemed that this blog was attracting attention -I'm all for that!
It was by phone with Jon Yoshimura that I learned about the creation of a new organization -Society of Descendants of the First Japanese Embassy- comprising the descendants of the 1860 Japanese delegation.
We had a lively conversation, traded thoughts and ideas, and I received an invitation to attend an event this month at the Japanese Cultural Center of Hawaii.
In 2016 Naval District Washington held a commemoration ceremony marking the arrival of the Japanese Embassy in 1860. Read about it here.
I learn about a truly dedicated gentleman spearheading the preservation of the 1860 Japanese Embassy's history -Takashi Muragaki, chairman of the Society of Descendants of the First Japanese Embassy and a fourth generation descendant of Vice Ambassador, Norimasa Awajinokami Muragaki (see picture above).
Arigato! I salute you! Trust me, this is hard work. It's often thankless, but it comes with its own rewards.
All this came about just when my three-year Marvels of China: Pathways to the Pacific Rim radio show concluded its run on 1490 WGCH and online worldwide (We lost the underwriting sponsorship due to complications resulting from the current trade war).
I started a successor weekly broadcast in the same time slot, Asia Today with Jeffrey Bingham Mead, also on 1490 WGCH and online worldwide every Saturday morning starting 10:30 a.m. Eastern USA Time.
When you're in radio broadcasting its a good sign when you are presented with an avalanche of material.
We live in a fantastic time, a period of history when people all over the world are learning about each other and connecting as never before. Sure, it has its challenges. But it also comes with opportunities and surprises galore. It's never dull.
What's next? Tune in! In the meantime please peruse this historical blog site. Share it. Be enriched and let your imagination soar.
You can also contact me by email anytime: JeffreyBinghamMead@gmail.com