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Kobeiki (Journal of a Ship's Voyage to America), 1860

Kobeiki (Journal of a Ship's Voyage to America)

Kobeiki (Journal of a Ship's Voyage to America), volume II, by Kimura Tetsuta (Japanese, 1830-1862), 1860. Diary; Book; ink on paper. Gift of Frank S.Bayley, 2010.6. 

This sketch depicts a bird’ s-eye view of San Francisco from the northwest across San Francisco Bay (labeled in Japanese), with an island battery—probably Alcatraz in one of its earlier uses—in the left foreground. The sketch is one of several in a handwritten, hand-illustrated travel diary by Kimura Tetsuta, who was a translator for one of the three ambassadors on the U.S.S. Powhatan. The diary comprises a total of six volumes covering the entirety of Kimura’ s trip around the world with the embassy. Volume II, shown here, begins with the voyage from Hawaii, covers nine days in  San Francisco, and then continues south and, by train, across the Isthmus of Panama

Kimura depicts the Bay Area through a map and several charming sketches of  San Francisco and Mare Island, part of present-day Vallejo, California, where the ships were taken to be repaired after a stormy crossing. Until now, only one of the two official copies of this important travel journal had been located. This manuscript, which has only recently come to light, appears to be a volume from the lost copy.

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