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Henry Black


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Ian McArthur's first book on Henry Black, published in Japanese in 1992 under the title Kairakutei Burakku:wasurerareta Nippon saikO no gaifin tarento (Kairakutei Black: The Forgotten Greatest Foreign Talent in Japan), focuses on Henry Black himself and is written more as a historical novel, with gaps in the available sources augmented with narrative from the author's imagina--tion. By way of contrast, the present volume, based as it is on the author's 2002 PhD thesis from the University of Sydney, benefits from a rigorous academic approach. The bibliography, for example, lists 220 items. There are 120 explanatory footnotes, in addition to copious in-text citations acknowl--edging the sources of his material, and twelve pages of illustrations including photographs of Henry Black and the people around him, together with sketches from the books made from Black's narrations. Fortunately, despite its academic rigour,McArthur's training as a journalist, and his lapses here and there into colourful description, have left us with an elegantly written, absorbing text Ian McArthur's book should appeal to anyone with more than a fleeting interest in Japan's modernisation or popular culture in the Meiji and Taisho periods. Dr Ian McArthur and Monash University Press deserve to be congratu-lated for producing such an attractive, informative and eminently readable monograph. - HUGH CLARKE The University of Sydney JOSA Vol 46, August 2015

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