Henry Faulds


Henry Faulds (1843-1930)

The title page from Faulds’ text

Henry Faulds came to Japan in 1873 as a missionary and spent a total of nine years in the country.   He worked in a number of different roles and engaged in many worthy activities.  He was a surgeon at Tsukiji Hospital in Tokyo;  he founded a school for the blind; he was involved in some of the first archaeological digs in Japan; and, arguably, it could be claimed he invented forensic finger-printing.  Faulds passed through Shizuoka prefecture on a journey between Kansai and Tokyo.  He recorded his views on Japan and Shizuoka in the text Nine Years in Nipon – Sketches of Japanese Life and Manners (1888).  All quotations are from this text.

Faulds commented on three things during his brief time in Shizuoka.  First,  Faulds wrote about the beautiful views of Mount Fuji from the Tokaido in Shizuoka.  He wrote  “…we came to a turn of the road where through a veil of mist we looked sheer down into a boiling, foaming sea, and by-and-by a great plain opened out to view, from which arose in ever steeper sweep the great wood-embroidered flanks of Fuji, stupendous and seeming to merge into heaven itself…” (p.187)

An illustration of the Tokaido from Faulds’ text

The ubiquity of tea houses was the second thing Faulds noted while on the Tokaido in Shizuoka.  “Every few miles or so you find a tea-house, and in busy places there may be several in mile’s distance…” (p.187)  Unfortunately, he doesn’t say whether he stopped to enjoy the refreshments.

An illustration of a tea house from Faulds’ text

Finally Faulds recounted a rather unusual (at least to Faulds) sight in Shizuoka city.  “[W]e passed some great hulking over-fed giants in peculiar attire – one after another in rapid procession as if one were in a nightmare.” (p.187)  It turned out that these over-fed giants were professional sumo wrestlers in town to perform on that very evening.

Faulds didn’t spend long in Shizuoka but he did leave three interesting, if rather fleeting, images of the Tokaido.


Faulds, Henry, 1888. Nine Years in Nipon: Sketches of Japanese Life and Manners. Boston: Cupples and Hurd


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