This is the true tale of a 14-year-old Japanese boy who, after being shipwrecked while fishing in 1841, was marooned for six months, rescued by an American whaling ship, educated in New England, and returned home to become an honored samurai.

Reading more like the heroic adventures of a swashbuckler, this is instead the incredible story of Manjiro Nakahama, a Japanese boy who was essentially exiled from his own country due to a tragic shipwreck and the isolationist policy of Japan during the 1840’s. After being rescued by an American whaling boat, Manjiro becomes the first Japanese person to ever enter the U.S. and eventually plays a key role in opening Japan’s ports to American ships.

This well-written work by author Rhoda Blumberg is also beautifully illustrated with Japanese ink drawings, giving a rare glimpse into a closed country in the mid-1800’s.