Cornell University

Counting Dreams: The Life and Writings of the Loyalist Nun Nomura Bōtō

Wednesday, November 3, 2021 at 1:30pm to 2:30pm

Virtual Event

Cornell East Asia Series (CEAS) book talk welcomes author Roger Thomas to discuss his book, "Counting Dreams" (October 2021)

Counting Dreams tells the story of Nomura Bōtō, a Buddhist nun, writer, poet, and activist who joined the movement to oppose the Tokugawa Shogunate and restore imperial rule. Banished for her political activities, Bōtō was imprisoned on a remote island until her comrades rescued her in a dramatic jailbreak, spiriting her away under gunfire. Roger K. Thomas examines Bōtō's life, writing, and legacy, and provides annotated translations of two of her literary diaries, shedding light on life and society in Japan's tumultuous bakumatsu period and challenging preconceptions about women's roles in the era.

Thomas interweaves analysis of Bōtō's poetry and diaries with the history of her life and activism, examining their interrelationship and revealing how she brought two worlds--the poetic and the political--together. Counting Dreams illustrates Bōtō's significant role in the loyalist movement, depicting the adventurous life of a complex woman in Japan on the cusp of the Meiji Restoration.

About CEAS: The Cornell East Asia Series (CEAS) became an imprint of Cornell University Press in July 2019.

Browse CEAS Publications in the CUP Catalog

Housed in the East Asia Program, CEAS is an internationally known, award-winning scholarly press. CEAS publishes on subjects relative to the cultures of East Asia, covering topics in history, culture, and society, and translations of literary works.

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Event Type

Author Appearance, Lecture


Cornell University Library, Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality Studies, Mario Einaudi Center for International Studies, College of Arts & Sciences, Asian Studies, East Asia Program, Asian American Studies Program, Global Learning, Asian & Asian American Center, China and Asia-Pacific Studies


asianstudiescal, cupress, ceas



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Alexis Siemon


Roger Thomas

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Dept. Web Site

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