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Shipwrecked: The True ...
Rhoda Blumberg
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Shipwrecked: The True Adventures of a Japanese Boy

3.9  ·  Rating Details ·  225 Ratings  ·  52 Reviews
Any person who leaves the country to go to another and later returns will be put to death. This was the law in Japan in the early 1800s. When fourteen-year-old Manjiro, working on a fishing boat to help support his family, was shipwrecked three hundred miles away from his homeland, he was heartbroken to think that he would never again be able to go home. So when an America ...more
Published by Turtleback Books (first published 2001)
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Apr 16, 2011 Donalyn rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The true story of the first Japanese man to live in an America. A wonderful resource for children reading Heart of the Samurai. Includes photographs, maps, and artwork.
Faith Joy
Oct 31, 2016 Faith Joy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shipwrecked! by Rhoda Blumberg is during the 1800s when the Japanese government had strict isolation laws. Foreigners and ideas outside Japan were forbidden. So when 14 year old Manjiro and four other fisherman were shipwrecked on a small rocky island three hundred miles from shore, they thought they would never be allowed to return home! Manjiro was the first Japanese person to come to the United States, and his impressions of the country give vivid pictures of mid- nineteenth century American ...more
Nov 07, 2011 Wendy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reviewed
Genre: Junior Book, Biographical


A Japanese teenager becomes stranded on an island many miles off the coast of Japan after a violent storm and the course of his life is permanently altered. Due to the severe restrictions regarding leaving the motherland and contact with outsiders, Manjiro (the boy) is cast into the world of an American whaler and adopts his new community with passion and vigor.

His story as it unfolds takes him across the globe and eventually to American shores where he pu
Assignment: Junior Book Log
Category: Informational
Recommending Source: p. 278 textbook

Review: "Head of the family at the age of nine!" Living in poverty, nine-year old Manjiro had no other choice but to help support his family once their father died. He began by assisting the local fishermen in order to help provide for his mother, younger sisters, younger brother, and disabled brother. In January 1841, five years had passed and Manjiro was old enough to do more than just unhook fish and empty n
Becky B
Little Manjiro was working as a fisherman in early 19th century Japan when he and the four men he worked with were caught in a storm and marooned on a deserted island outside of Japan's realm. At the time, Japan was a closed country. No foreigners were allowed in and no Japanese citizens were allowed out. If you left and tried to return, the punishment was death. After many months on the small island, Manjiro and his crewmates were rescued by an American whaling vessel. Manjiro quickly picked up ...more
Chris Connolly
Oct 16, 2013 Chris Connolly rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: libs-642
Category (Biography-Informational)
Found on page 278 in the textbook

1. Description

As a true adventure, the story of Manjiro, a young boy from Japan, is a bitter but sweet account of how this young man was brave enough to leave his country behind in search of new life, but this was not his choice; anyone who was caught leaving his country was banded forever and if returned, would be jailed immediately. A ship searching for whale oil makes a stop on the same island as Manjiro and his brothers. Afte
May 09, 2013 Ms.Gaye rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is the amazing true story of 14-year-old Manjiro, the first Japanese person to come to America. Shipwrecked and marooned on a tiny island, Manjiro and four other crew members took shelter in a small cave and ate raw bird meat because they had no way to make a fire. They were cold. They had only a handful of water to drink each day. Worst of all they knew they could never go back to Japan. Japanese laws at that time were designed to keep everyone in Japan isolated from the rest of the world ...more
(NS) Becca
Nov 01, 2009 (NS) Becca rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

From School Library Journal
Gr 4-8-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. Blumberg was inspired to rescue this incredible story about Manjiro, also known as John Mung, when she realized that although it was well known in Japan, it enjoys only a small awareness in the West. The author's presentation illum
Rebecca Thomas
Nov 26, 2012 Rebecca Thomas rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
1.) Genre- Biography

2.) Summary- A Japanese boy, Manjiro, gets stranded during a storm at sea. In his adventures and travels Manjiro finds work both on an American whaling vessel and then in America itself.

3.)a.) Area of focus-graphics (both illustrations and photographs)

3.)b.) Blumberg uses a plethora of diagrams in this book which add interest and visual appeal to Manjiro's story.

3.)c.) While the language of this book can be dense, Blumberg does a great job of including appropriate images to
Based on the title of the book, what I found inside wasn't exactly what I had been expecting. That's not to say that I didn't enjoy this book; I just thought there would be more swashbuckling adventure throughout. Shipwrecked! discusses the isolationist policies in place in Japan at the time through the telling of young Manjiro's life. Not only that, but it also briefly touches on American whaling and America's early forays into foreign affairs. I really liked Manjiro's images included throughou ...more
Apr 08, 2008 Jennie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: childrens-books
This biography is attractive and historically accurate as Blumberg wrote this book after doing research for a book on Commodore Perry. She includes a variety of illustrations including: Japanese artwork, photographs, wood block print, engravings, sketches, maps, and American oil paintings. Shipwrecked! also includes several drawings done by Manjiro himself.

I was fascinated by this unbelievable story and surprised that I had never heard of this man, who is an iconic figure in Japanese culture. M
May 07, 2010 LauraW rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I guess the mark of a good biographical story is that it makes you want to learn more. I would now like to know more about why Perry was sent to open up Japan. Why weren't the Japanese just left alone? And, there are some other politically oriented questions: was the United States as friendly and nice as he portrays it? In what ways did these interactions set the stage for the future, i.e., World War II?

I enjoyed the book. It wasn't quite as exciting as Shipwreck at the Bottom of the World by J
Type: Informational
This book is about a man who goes to the sea and gets a job hunting for whales but he is just a cooks help at the beginning. He gets homesick a lot and wants to go back but the laws of Japan says no one can talk to foreign ships so when he had seen a japanese ship people were not talking and he knew they wouldn't take him back to his home so he decided to stay on the Americans boat and he takes on jobs from then.
Critique: I wouldn't read this to the kids because of th
Sep 20, 2010 Liz rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: biography, all-ages
A fascinating biography of Maniro Nakahama, a Japanese boy of 14 who worked as a fisherman in 1841. His ship was wrecked during stormy seas and he and his four companions where they were forced to live on a barely habitable, deserted island after their fishing boat was capsized.
This biography which is illustrated with many the biographee's drawings. Maniro eventually made his way to the United States then back to Japan and participated with Commodore Perry's talks with Japan about ending Japan's
Connie T.
Mar 16, 2012 Connie T. rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
In the mid 1800s a young boy goes out fishing in the hopes of getting food for his poor family. A storm comes up and he and the crew are shipwrecked on a small island 300 miles from their home in Japan. That is just the start of the trials and adventures of Manjiro. This true story highlights the differences between isolationist Japan and industrialized America as we follow Manjiro from fishing village to remote island, from whaling ship adventures to the port of Honolulu, school in New England, ...more
Manjiro was the first Japanese man ever to step onto the United States. This true story is about his adventures as a 14 year old boy who got lost at sea, was found by Americans, and made a life for himself there. Longing to return home, but facing the strict laws of Japan, Manjiro risked his life to return home to his family. Although he faced execution, Majiro was saved by the emperor and eventually became a legend in his home country. He is known for bringing together Japan and the United Stat ...more
Jan 23, 2009 Elizabeth rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: asian-american
A very interesting book, Shipwrecked by Rhoda Blumberg combines a biography; Japanese history, politics and culture in the 19th century; quotes from Herman Melville detailing whale hunts and the processing of whales; and artwork that includes historical photographs, Japanese woodcut prints, and drawings made by person about whom the book was written. I learned quite a bit, and enjoyed it! However, I wished there had been some color to the book; all the photos and artwork are simply black and whi ...more
Feb 23, 2016 Susan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
An entirely new to me part of both Japanese and American history. Manjiro was an amazing person who overcame challenges throughout his life, and had a part in changing the world. I suppose this book was written for 'young people,' but it never talks down and makes a memorable story of courage, intelligence and persistence a pleasure to read.
The illustrations, some by Manjiro, some classics of Japanese art and more, add to the education and enjoyment I had.
Emi Clark
Jul 30, 2014 Emi Clark rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shipwrecked!: The True Adventures of a Japanese Boy is a great biography to have in the classroom. The illustrations are great supplemental images of the journey Manjiro took and they help make the text easier to understand. I believe this text would spark students' interests in biographies. It also teaches students about the Japanese culture in the mid-1800s. It should help students appreciate the freedom we have in America.
Keith Kendall
Aug 10, 2011 Keith Kendall rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: biography
This book was an easy read (It's a children's book). I enjoyed learning a couple of things about America that I hadn't know. (For example: in 1819 the whaling ship the Essex was rammed by a whale and sank. Moby Dick was written what the Essex was still in people's memories.) As the author points out, this story is well known in Japan, but not in the US. It made me want to learn more about this interesting bit of world history.

I also read this true story aloud to my daughter. A young Japanses fisherman gets shipwrecked along with his comrades in the early 1800s when Japan observed a strict isolationist policy. From there they embark on a real life adventure featuring whaling ships and learning about America and Americans first hand. The book includes many illustrations, period drawings, woodblock prints, etc. We learned a lot of interesting things about this time, especially about whaling. Interesting tale.
A fascinating biography of a man who lived an unintentionally adventurous life that bridged Japan and the United States. Poignant text combines with period art work to help readers understand the cross-cultural experience of Japanese and Americans encountering each other for the first time. Highly recommended.

"Commodore Perry in the Land of the Shogun" is a companion volume that is also wonderful, though my student and I enjoyed this one slightly more.
Sep 10, 2013 Tawny rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A fascinating account of Manjiro, a poor Japanese fisherman who was marooned on an island for 6 months and then saved by an American whaling ship. He was the first Japanese person to come to the U.S., attend school here, and participate in the Gold Rush. He returned to Japan and was thrown into prison for leaving his country during Japan's isolationist policy. His experiences and knowledge would eventually result in his elevation to samurai, government consultant, and professor.
Lady Avalon Of Oceania
This book is about a boy who gets shipwrecked on and island, off the coast. They are not able to return because there boat broke.and there is a policy that people are not aloud back to japan if they have left. The boy and his father get picked p by the Americans and are taken to Hawaii. There the little boy becomes a captain of a ship, and his father becomes a business man.

Read the book to find out what happens next.
Jun 30, 2008 Sally rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
JBiography Nakahma

I have to admit, the cover hooked me. The story did not disappoint. I had never heard of Manjiro before, and was pretty clueless about Japan's isolation policy and their strict caste rules. Interesting all around.

Melville was a contemporary of Manjiro's, but I still never want to re-read Moby Dick! lol
Sep 20, 2015 Frank rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Quite an amazing tale...but I wonder how a younger me would have felt about it. It certainly didn't try to embellish the exciting parts, and I'm not sure it needed it, but it's possible that it might be a little dry for young readers looking for an "adventure story."

Great, quick read for adults though.
Jan 28, 2013 Dustin rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: children-s-books
This book really grabbed my interest. There is a recent Newberry honor book about the same subject. I have it on hold at the library. I love some of his comments about American culture. Manjiro had an exciting life of adventure. I want to learn more. It's another good book to recommend to my student.
Laura Gardner
Jun 25, 2008 Laura Gardner rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfic
This book is all about Manjiro, the Japanese boy who was the first Japanese person to visit the United States. He lived in Fairhaven, MA, which is where I live now. I thought maybe I should learn a bit more about him...
Sep 18, 2012 'jean rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: recent-juvenile
The story is incredible and fascinating. The writing is okay and sufficient for children. As I am no longer a child, it felt choppy. I love the inclusion of art, and I would recommend this as a biography for a older child (not a 6 yo).
Mar 01, 2016 Penn rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very interesting! Discard from elementary school library because it never got checked out. Story of first Japanese person to come to America and the role he played in the Japanese opening relations with US in trade.
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Rhoda Blumberg has written about the opening of Japan (1853-1854) in Commodore Perry in the Land of the Shogun, a Newbery Honor Book, which also won the Boston Globe/Horn Book Award and the Golden Kite Award. Her acclaimed histories also include The Incredible Journey of Lewis & Clark, The Great American Gold Rush, and The Remarkable Voyages of Captain Cook, all ALA Notable Books. She is the w ...more
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