Analysis Of Narrative Of My Captivity In Japan By Vasilii Golovnin

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“Narrative of my captivity in Japan” by Vasilii Golovnin, is a story with a unique perspective and travel experience in Japan. As the story starts us off with travelers coming under arrest after being suspect in their motive for coming to Japan, Golovnin and his companions are held captive in Japan for a little over two years, until they can be proven innocent of the allegations. This travel experience, give the reader perspective Japanese prisons, government, and foreign diplomacy, rather than it focusing on cultural day to day happenings and scenery like with most travel experiences. Not only does it provide this unique perspective, but also paints the western traveler in Japan in a very different light, as a complete anomaly and even as …show more content…
After all, they did having some reason for coming to Japan. Beside from their actually coming to Japan, we can see their own inquisitiveness develop as Golovnin provides details of seemingly insignificant occurrences. For example he makes notes of the garb worn by the Bunyo and his attendants, down to even the smallest details, like which sides their sabers are worn upon. Not only does he describe garments, but also tells that the Bunyo has an attendant carry his sword and even describes the exact manner that it is carried, and describes the way the Japanese bow to one another and the Bunyo. He pays close attention as well to the way in which the Japanese interact with his party and himself, making it a point to include the diplomatic accommodations made by the Japanese despite, his party being prisoners. The get warmer garments made in a style of their choosing, food made to suit more Russian tastes, and even get benches because they are more accustomed to sleeping off of the floor. Golovnin even notates the relative size and style of the prison, its dimensions, how exactly it is set up, and even how many guards are there. At first it seems maybe this would have some kind of strategy attached to escaping, but Golovnin really just seems to be listing details. The reader is …show more content…
These interactions seems to perfectly embody the relationship between Japan and the western world, as on both ends there was some attempt to understand each other, but in the end, everything came down to a lot of struggle with miscommunication, misunderstanding, and frustration. There is some excitement on page 82 where they discover a servant knows some Russian. Later however, when speaking with the Bunyo, the account describes a great deal of frustration with the poor translator named Heinste, whom the Russian fear will displease and anger the Bunyo with his poor translations and failure to admit he is unfit to translate. “The shameful assurance of this man roused our indignation so far, that we declared we would answer no more questions, in order that this imposter might not injure us by his erroneous interpretations.” (Golovnin 84.) Despite the negative interactions described, Golovnin also describes the Russian and Ainu and Japanese people working together to develop at least some understanding, though its frustration, there is a significant amount of effort made on all sides to communicate effectively. These interactions seem so much like Japan and the West at this time, because despite many hurtles and frustrations, there seems to be an effort starting to be made to develop communication and understanding

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