Monday, August 21, 2023

Nakata's Smile

The Huntington Library,
San Marino, CA
Yoshimatsu Nakata won me over with his smile.

He was Jack London's valet for eight years, but he was more than that.

He sailed the South Seas with London on the Snark, the yacht that London built to his own specifications.

He embarked with his boss on a trip around the Horn on the tall ship Dirigo.

And he was first mate on the last boat that London owned and sailed on the San Francisco Bay, the Roamer.

The Huntington Library,
San Marino, CA
In early 2022, I found two of Nakata's personal diaries, a real find since Nakata is a central character in my book in progress, a place-based biography about London and the San Francisco Bay. 

Here is my story in California magazine about finding the diaries, the long journey of translation, and my continuing fascination with this young man who London considered more of a son or younger brother.

Nakata's Smile: Unlocking the Diaries of Jack London's Valet

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