Rosenbach Manjiro Overview

Manjiro, who left Japan as a shipwrecked teenager in 1841, was the first Japanese person to live in the United States. The Rosenbach owns Manjiro’s own copy of a manuscript created after his return to his native Japan after 10 years of life in the United States and travel around the world aboard whaling ships. His return on the eve of Commodore Perry’s arrival in Japan created an auspicious environment for his home country to take advantage of his knowledge of the west. His diplomatic nature and winning personality served his nation well, and the manuscript, a testament to his humanity, intellect, and keen skills of observation, serves as a guidepost for the generations that have followed his lead in peaceful cultural exchange.

Manjiro Related Programs

Exhibition Dates: Wednesday, April 1, through Sunday, November 1, 2020

The Arts of the Brush: Japanese Calligraphy and Ink Painting

In the cross-cultural spirit of The Rosenbach’s Manjiro manuscript, this hands-on workshop will
introduce you to using brush and ink in two art practices: Shodo, or Japanese calligraphy;
and Sumi-e, or ink painting.  The workshop will be led by Janice Merendino, an exhibiting artist
who has worked with brush-and-ink painting for over 40 years.

Recipes from Hawaii

What might have Manjiro eaten when he was in Honolulu? Led by a local chef and owner of Poi
Dog restaurant who grew up in Oahu, this presentation takes a thoughtful and respectful Pan
Asian-Pacific approach to cooking foods from Hawaii. The presentation will include an
introduction to Hawaiian/Asian-Pacific cuisine and a hands-on cooking opportunity focused on
Hawaiian foodways, perhaps making poke bowls.

Fishadelphia: Seafoods in Manjiro’s Time and Our Own

This program will connect to Manjiro’s identity as a teenaged, working-class fisherman by
collaborating with the inner-city teens and regional fishermen who run the Philadelphia-based
community seafood program Fishadelphia. Fishadelphia offers culturally relevant seafood for
ethnically and socioeconomically-diverse communities, with a focus on under-harvested fish
available in our region. The program will include a presentation by regional fisherman and their
Fishadelphia colleagues (including founder Talia Young, Princeton University) on sustainable
fish harvesting for urban communities, as well as a hands-on seafood cooking demonstration.

In Support of Manjiro, at The Rosenbach: Hands-on Book Arts Mini-Series

The purpose of this series of workshops is to promote Japanese/American cultural literacy and
provide visitors with a greater understanding of the Manjiro story via book arts. It will offer
participants an opportunity to learn how the Manjiro manuscripts on display at The Rosenbach
were made and acquire hands-on book-arts skills. Each workshop will include a Manjiro
exhibition visit to study the original artifacts under the guidance of Collections Department

  • Japanese Bookbinding Hands-on Workshop
    Learn about the rich history of Japanese bookbinding, how it compares to Western bookbinding
    traditions, and create your own simple stab-bound book to take home.
  • Japanese Calligraphy Hands-on Workshop (see above)
    Explore the rich history of the art of calligraphy in Japan and try out techniques for brush
    calligraphy under the guidance of an expert. Create your own beautiful Japanese characters.
  • Japanese Paper and Watercolor Illustration Hands-on Workshop
    Dive into the rich history of paper production in Japan and try out watercolor illustration
    techniques on authentic handmade
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