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Richard Henry Brunton was a Scottish engineer who came to Japan in 1868, one of a number of o-yatoi-gaikokujin — foreigners hired to help Japan modernize at the beginning of the Meiji Era (1868-1912). This book is his memoir, the story of the eight years he spent living in Yokohama and traveling the country overseeing the dredging of channels and the building of lighthouses and bridges both literal and figurative.

He was responsible for the first iron bridge in the country (in Yokohama), and for the first telegraph system, and he founded Japan’s first school of engineering. Nearly 150 years later, many of his lighthouses still stand and function, a testament to his skill and efforts.

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