On a 1300cc Fukuoka prefectural police motor bike - not my usual mode of transport!
Hello, and welcome to my personal Home Page which also serves as a portal to my other pages. I am British and have lived in Japan since April 1, 1988, that date being the start of the school year in Japan. I have taught English in the Kansai area (1988-1994) and at Kyushu Institute of Technology, a national university in Kitakyushu city (on Kyushu island) since April 1, 1994. My research is in the area of Anglo-Japanese relations (c. 1850-1940), and in the whole life and letters of Sir Ernest Satow, not only his time in Japan. I have been President of the International Association for Japan Studies since April 2017. My hobby is watching, supporting and sometimes playing Japanese Rugby in which I take a keen interest. I hope you will enjoy your visit to my wee castle in cyberspace!
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since May 2, 2018.
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Most of my Research Results - including those about Satow - are listed and can be downloaded from the Kyutech repository here.
Sir Ernest Satow - my main research
Japanese Rugby by the Laird of Kitakyushu (pen name!) - very infrequently updated now.
My Bookstore on Lulu.com mostly has Satow-related books (his diaries and letters transcribed and edited by me) in paperback and digital formats, but there are also four Japanese to English translations (three academic ones and one rugby-related) and two more personal works written by Alexander MacDonald, C.B.E., my maternal grandfather from Glasgow - one about trout fishing in Chile (free to download here) and the other about my Uncle Ian after whom I was named (free to download here). You can also find my books on amazon if you search for "Ian Ruxton". My first book about Ernest Satow has been translated into Japanese.
My Welsh Language Learning page (under construction!)
Here is something I wrote about the great Japanese architect Tatsuno Kingo who designed Tokyo Station, the Bank of Japan headquarters nearby, the first school building of Kyushu Institute of Technology, the West Japan Industrial Club in Kitakyushu and many other buildings throughout Meiji Japan.
Recently I have uploaded a lot of my academic books and papers to the Kyutacar repository of Kyushu Institute of Technology ('Kyutech'). You can download them for free there if you search for "Ian Ruxton". There are currently about 40 items there. One of them - Satow's Peking Diary Vol. 1 (1900-03) - has been downloaded over 11,000 times and is top in the repository's list for all-time downloads, so I have decided to make an ebook version!
My Linked-In profile is here.
Contact me by e-mail here.
Desiderata by Max Ehrmann is a fine poem.
If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too.
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or being lied about, don't deal in lies,
Or being hated, don't give way to hating,
And yet don't look too good, nor talk too wise:
If you can dream—and not make dreams your master;
If you can think—and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster,
And treat those two impostors just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you've spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build 'em up with worn-out tools:
If you can make a heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breathe a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: "Hold on!"
If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with Kings—nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds' worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that's in it,
And—which is more—you'll be a Man, my son!
Honour thy Father and thy Mother, the Good Book says. It seems like a pretty good piece of advice to me! ;-) I was born in Lima, Peru and am very proud of my South American roots on my Mother's side of the family. I am equally proud of my associations with Ceylon (now Sri Lanka) on my Father's side. I myself was honoured and pleased once to be called a "man of the world" by Mike Gavins, a senior colleague whom I greatly respected at Uppingham School where I taught for three years (1982-1985), though at first I totally misunderstood his meaning, and thought it was a criticism! ;-) By the way, another former colleague from Uppingham, Dr. Malcolm Tozer, has recently published a scholarly book titled Education in Manliness: The Legacy of Thring’s Uppingham which I am looking forward to reading, especially as it starts with a reference to General Nogi...!! (I have bought a Kindle edition. I'm sure it's a very good book! ;-)
"Hands across the Pacific Ocean" - a much wider pond and a greater mental leap than across the Atlantic! I am very grateful to Charlie Barton, Teacher of the Grange School, Santiago, Chile (founded by John A.S. Jackson in 1928) for letting me see the school's 90th Anniversary Portrait in which my uncle's life, including his schooldays (as described in full by my grandfather in the book which I have recently published) is explained on pp. 28-31. I was delighted that they took such interest in their former pupil and that his name will live on in the annals of the school. One day I plan to visit Chile, also Peru (where I was born in Lima on November 16, 1956) and Argentina (for the rugby and beef!). Looking forward to all of that, and thanking Charlie and others in person! ;-)
In fact, one of my dreams is to follow my senpai John A.S. Jackson (educated at Cheltenham College and Cambridge University) and found a British-style independent school in Japan, as he did in Chile 90 years ago. But for that to happen, as I have already discussed at some length with my fellow Old Cheltonian in Japan Rupert Middle, a great deal of Work, Support (financial, moral etc.) and a decent portion of luck - albeit self-manufactured, as most luck is - would be necessary. After 30 years in Japan I have the confidence and belief that it is possible, even in this most culturally challenging of countries. A major advantage in considering such a project is the positive way in which Britain is viewed in Japan, as "shinshi no kuni" (the country of gentlemen).
Every road through life is a long, long road,
Filled with joys and sorrows too,
As you journey on how your heart may yearn
For the things most dear to you.
With wealth and love 'tis so,
But onward we must go.
Keep right on to the end of the road,
Keep right on to the end,
Tho' the way be long, let your heart be strong,
Keep right on round the bend.
If you're tired and weary still journey on,
Till you come to your happy abode,
Where all you love and you're dreaming of
Will be there at the end of the road.
With a big stout heart to a long steep hill,
We may get there with a smile,
With a good kind thought and an end in view,
We can cut short many a mile.
So let courage every day
Be your guiding star alway.
The Harry Lauder Show (Live on BBC Radio, March 16, 1938). Note his anxiousness to bring a bit of Scotland to the old grannie in Canada who writes that she will never see her homeland again, and the way the final song "Keep Right On..." is speeded up at the end, presumably because he has run out of time, and the way the orchestra follows him!! ;-)
Forever: Keep The Home Fires Burning (First World War songs mix). Listening to these songs we can get an idea of just how important it was to keep up the morale of the troops in the most trying and appalling conditions, and this is no doubt the reason why Winston Churchill described Harry Lauder as "Scotland's greatest ambassador." In World War Two he listened to Lauder's songs, especially "Keep Right On...", to cheer himself up in dark and difficult times - of which there were of course many.
Cheltenham College crest. Motto: "Labor Omnia Vincit." (Work Overcomes All Things.)
Many hymns give us the moral and mental strength we need to fight through and overcome the hardships and difficulties which Life visits upon us all from time to time. One of my favourites, which I sang many times at my school Cheltenham College in Cheltenham, Gloucestershire when I was a boy, is 'To Be a Pilgrim' from John Bunyan's Pilgrim's Progress.
"Who Would True Valour See
Let him come hither..."
Southwark Cathedral traditional version (similar to what we sang at school)
By the way, Cheltenham College (a Victorian era public school, founded in 1841, just four years after Queen Victoria's reign began in 1837 and the first noteworthy public school of her reign) has always had stong classical and military traditions. The latter is particularly evident in the Chapel cloisters, which tell the visitor who cares to stop and read of the 675 Old Cheltonians (recently updated to 702) who gave their lives in the First World War, and 347 O.C.s in the Second World War. Then there are the 14 recipients of Victoria Crosses, one of which - that of Duncan Boyes - was won in Japan. This is one of only four V.C.s won in Japan, three of which were at the Bombardment of Shimonoseki in 1864, the other being won posthumously off Miyagi prefecture by a Canadian pilot (Robert Hampton Gray) who sank a destroyer singlehandedly in 1945. You can download my chapter in Hugh Cortazzi (ed.), Britain & Japan: Biographical Portraits Volume X (2016) about the V.C.s won in Japan here.
Two films deeply connected with my secondary and tertiary education are:
1) The challenging, controversial and revolutionary 1968 movie "if...." directed by Lindsay Anderson, mostly filmed at Cheltenham College. I was in the Junior School (now Cheltenham College Preparatory School) over the road under the great rugby-playing headmaster W.P.C. Davies (recently deceased, R.I.P.) and used to hear the machine guns, and wonder what the next stage in my education had in store for me!
2) The 1981 movie "Chariots of Fire" which features two great runners: Harold Abrahams of Gonville and Caius College (usually 'Caius' pronounced 'Keys') at the University of Cambridge, where I was enormously privileged and hugely honoured to be an undergraduate from 1975 to 1978, and Eric Liddell of the University of Edinburgh, missionary and Scottish rugby international (seven caps). Of course the Vangelis music was stunning, as we hear it in the movie's opening scene. Nigel Havers played Lord Lindsay.
The Gonville & Caius College crest shows the two founders of the College: the first founder in 1348 of Gonville Hall - Edmund Gonville - on the left, and the second founder in 1557 of Gonville and Caius College - Dr. John Caius - on the right. The snakes indicate that the latter was a medical man (physician) - at least I have always understood that they do, and the college has a very strong medical tradition.
A man in whose footsteps I have followed - from Cheltenham College to Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge but not (yet!) as far as the South Pole - is the polar explorer Edward Adrian Wilson, whose statue is in The Promenade, Cheltenham. In Japanese terms he is my Daisenpai (Great Senior). In British terms he is firmly in the Pantheon of my heroes! (And we all need heroes, don't we?) By the way, like Edward Wilson, the great composer Gustav Holst was born in Cheltenham.
Gonville and Caius College (first founded by Edmond Gonville in 1348, see free ebook of the history of Caius downloadable from the College's website) is also the college where Stephen Hawking was a Fellow for more than 50 years. Verbum sapienti sat est! (Verb. sap.)