Study Guide

Heart of a Samurai Epilogue

By Margi Preus


  • Here's the real-life scoop on what happened to Manjiro after returning home.
  • He became a teacher.
  • Then Commodore Matthew Perry and his American ships entered Edo Bay in July 1853 and asked for access to Japan's ports.
  • Manjiro was asked to go to Edo and turned into a samurai for his knowledge and expertise about America.
  • Manjiro eventually advised the ruling government to end its isolationist policies and open itself up to America—after all, it wasn't like they had any weapons that would scare America off.
  • On March 31, 1854, Japan and the U.S. sign a treaty of peace and friendship, thereby ending Japan's isolationism.
  • Even though Manjiro was so influential with the shogun, for the rest of his life, people were suspicious of him; he even hired a bodyguard due to the threats against his life.
  • Even so, he achieved many things: He wrote and translated some major books; he taught math, English, and sea navigation.
  • He began the whaling industry in Japan and served as an interpreter for the first embassy to the U.S.
  • He also managed to visit the Whitfields again, when he was forty-three years old.
  • He was married three times and had three kids.
  • He wore a hybrid of Western and Japanese fashion, and he always had a breakfast of toast and coffee.
  • The friendship between the Whitfields and Manjiro lives on in a broader context through the Japan-America Grassroots Summit. Fairhaven and Tosashimizu (a city near Manjiro's hometown) are also sister cities.