Kagoshima bombardment - August 1863, seven British warships entered Kagoshima Bay in the Satsuma domain to negotiate settlement for
the Richardson affair. After several days of fruitless talks,
the British seized three Satsuma steamships. In an exchange of
fire, large parts of the city of Kagoshima were destroyed. The
British suffered sixty casualties themselves, and were forced
to retreat when a typhoon struck, but Satsuma was convinced of
the superiority of Western military technology, and an agreement
was realized by which Satsuma agreed to punish the murderers and
pay an indemnity.
Sightseeing in Kagoshima City
Karakuri ningyo - Literally, "mechanical dolls." Beginning
in the early 18th century, Japanese craftsmen devised marvelous
dolls that danced, performed backflips, served tea, and acted
entire plays in ensemble, activated by wound-up springs, shifting
mercury and sand, or pumped water. By the late 18th century, theatrical
performances of dolls powered by backstage waterpumps rivaled
Kabuki in the elaborateness of their sets and costumes, and dolls
performed as public entertainment in parks and fairgrounds. Tea
merchants' dolls carried bowls of tea across the shop to place
them in the hands of delighted customers. The tea-serving dolls
utilize a complex gear mechanism and are still made, by hand,
in Shizuoka Prefecture. More prosaic life-sized electrical dolls,
dressed in tidy blue uniforms and wearing white goves, are used
today in some large Japanese department stores to greet customers
as they enter and thank them as they leave.
More about karakuri ningyo
Mikuni festival with giant mechanical dolls
John Keats (1795-1821) - English poet, one of the principle figures
in the Romantic movement.
Keats as a reader of gothic novels
Knights of the Golden Circle - A secret society formed in 1854
by George W.L. Bickley, a quack Cincinnati physician, the Knights
were dedicated to supporting pro-slavery policies and promoting
the American conquest of Mexico. Allied with the Copperhead segment
of the Democratic party, the Knights co-ordinated terrorist rides
and other illegal activities throughout Ohio, Illinois, and Indiana.
At one point, General Ulysses S. Grant had to disband a unit of
the Illinois militia because it was virtually a branch of the
The Difference Dictionary was first published
in slightly different form in Science Fiction Eye, Issue #8.
Text copyright 1990, 1996, 2000, 2003,
by Eileen K. Gunn.