The phantom Nippo Jisho and Hepburn
Finding interesting articles in Hepburn's Collected Letters (Iwanami Shoten, 1959)
According to these letters, Hepburn had obtained the Japanese-French dictionary before the publication of its
However, there are no records of Hepburn having used this Japanese-French dictionary as a reference dictionary.
Meiji Gakuin University also has several books signed and donated by Hepburn: three copies of Charlevoix's Japon, ou, L'on trouvera tout ce qu'on a pu apprendre de la nature & des productions du pays, du caractère & des coûtumes des habitans, du gouvernement & du commerce, des révolutions arrivées dans l'empire & dans la religion & l'examen de tous les auteurs, qui ont écrit sur le même sujet: avec les fastes chronologiques de la découverte du nouveau monde: enrichie de figures en taille-douce, and Cérémonies usitées au Japon, pour les mariages, les funérailles, et les principales fêtes de l'année : suivies d'anecdotes sur la dynastie régnante des souverains de cet empire, which he donated to the Tokyo Union Theological School (the predecessor of Meiji Gakuin).
These two books were published in French, showing that Hepburn had a working knowledge of French.
Moreover, Hepburn's residence at Foreign Settlement No. 39 in the Yokohama Concession from December 29, 1862 was inside the French port (near Hikawa-Maru).
He may have had many exchanges with French people.
Discovering and anticipating the Japanese-French dictionary
Furthermore, an old Japanese-French dictionary was found while searching through the
Dictionnaire japonais-francais : traduit du Dictionnaire japonais-portugais, compose par les missionnaires de la Compagnie de Jesus et imprime en 1603, a Nagasaki... et revu sur la traduction espagnole du meme ouvrage ...(Paris : Duprat, 1862-1868).
Judging by its appearance, the book has the extremely old ownership mark perhaps dating back to the establishment of Meiji Gakuin, and has been rebound, with the binding clearly that of four separate books together. Checks inscribed in pencil are visible on every page, showing that the words have been examined. It was during this period that Hepburn led Meiji Gakuin as the Master.
This old dictionary is a translated edition of The Japanese-Portuguese Dictionary published in Paris in 1862
(Bunkyū 2). The Orientalist Leon Pages used books in Paris, The Japanese-Portuguese Dictionary, and The
Japanese-Spanish Dictionary to translate and create this French dictionary, which went on to be sold in Paris,
London, Madras, Calcutta, and Shanghai. This was against the background of the 1858 Treaty of Amity and Commerce
between France and Japan.
The Japanese-Spanish Dictionary was a translated edition of The Japanese-Portuguese Dictionary (published in 1603), enlarged and published in Spanish in 1630 in Manila.
We look forward to research that will reveal whether the Japanese-Portuguese dictionary apparently used by Hepburn is the same book.
Moreover, judging by the time of its publication, the aforementioned Japanese grammar dictionary sent by Dr. Lawley could be Essai de grammaire japonaise(B. Duprat, 1861).