Frederik L. Schodt is an award-winning writer, translator, and conference interpreter based in the San Francisco Bay Area. His latest book, Professor Risley and the Imperial Japanese Troupe, was published December 2012 by Stone Bridge Press, of Berkeley, California.
The book follows the exploits of “Professor” Risley (Richard Risley Carlisle), a charismatic American acrobat-turned-impresario. Risley was the first to introduce Western-style circuses in Japan and was later responsible for leading one of Japan’s first groups of touring performers all over North America and Europe. The “Imperial Japanese Troupe” performed before presidents, monarchs, and ordinary citizens. Its popularity helped stimulate curiosity and interest in all things Japanese throughout the Western world. In addition to being thoroughly researched, the book also includes nineteenth-century photographs, posters, and drawings, many in color. Schodt’s work sheds new light on a previously ignored historical narrative about a group of talented individuals who demonstrated how different cultures meet and influence each other.
Schodt is best known for his translations of and books about manga and anime. He also developed a relationship with Osamu “God of Manga” Tezuka, translating such works as The Phoenix and Astro Boy and even assisting Tezuka as his interpreter. Schodt has also written extensively on popular culture, history, and technology.
Many credit Schodt’s writings on and translations of manga with helping trigger the current popularity of Japanese comics in the English-speaking world. His 1983 book Manga! Manga!: The World of Japanese Comics served as the first English-language introduction to the genre. It has since become a cult classic and is considered an essential study guide for manga enthusiasts.
Schodt has also received numerous honors over the years, including the Asahi Shimbun-sponsored “Tezuka Osamu Cultural Prize” in 2000 for helping promote Japanese manga round the world, and the “Order of the Rising Sun, Gold Rays with Rosette” which he received in 2009 and is awarded to those who have made distinguished achievements in fields such as international relations and promotion of Japanese culture.
Professor Risley and the Imperial Japanese Troupe, as well as Frederik Schodt’s other works can all be found on Amazon and other on-line retailers. Schodt will also be contributing to the JASGP’s newest edition of the Phila-Nipponica that will be released later this year. For more information about the author and his works you can visit his website at www.jai2.com.