Summary

Diary belonging to Setsutaro Hasegawa, used circa 1900. It contains a page of postage stamps, which are mostly dated 1898, indicating an interest by Setsutaro in collecting stamps from around the pre-Federated states. Setsutaro migrated to Australia in 1897 at the age of 29. This was just four years before the introduction of the Immigration Restriction Act which virtually banned immigration to Australia from Asia.

The words on the covers have not been translated but the quality of the calligraphy suggests Setsutaro was well educated, and grew up in a family where education was valued. The calligraphy is beautiful, it requires much practice and great skill. His father was a finance officer working for the government. This was a typical outcome for the former samurai class who following the fall of the Tokugawa regime no longer served the daimyo (feudal lords). There were many diaries written by Setsutaro, unfortunately no one over the generations could read them and over time they were lost.

Setsutaro worked as a houseboy in Melbourne before establishing a laundry business in Geelong. By 1910 he had married an Australian-born woman and had several children. In 1941 Setsutaro was interned at Tatura as an enemy alien, he was over 70 years old. He was released at the end of World War II, and unlike most Japanese interns he was not deported. Setsutaro returned to Geelong where he remained for the rest of his life.

Physical Description

Brown soft covered booklet with Japanese characters in black ink on both sides and a string binding. The pages are possibly rice paper, and are most blank. The second and third pages feature Japanese text in ink and pencil. The fourth page has 19 postage stamps glued in, 17 of which are from various Australian states, the other two are from Sweden and Egypt. The stamps are mostly dated 1898.

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