Public Lecture Series with Daisuke Takahashi
hundred years ago Daniel Defoe published a tale of perhaps the world’s
most well-known castaway, Robinson Crusoe. Defoe’s famed novel is
believed to be modeled after the epic story of the marooned buccaneer,
Alexander Selkirk (1686 – 1721). Selkirk survived for more than 4 years
alone on a remote Pacific island in Chile’s Jan Fernández Archipelago,
now known as Isla Robinson Crusoe. Despite the popularity of Robinson
Crusoe over the past three centuries, little was known about Selkirk or
his story of survival until 2005 when a National Geographic team, led by
Daisuke Takahashi, discovered Selkirk’s campsite and other associated
artifacts on an Explorers Club Flag Expedition (Flag No. 60).
Following the successful expedition to Isla Robinson Crusoe, Takahashi shifted his focus to the volcanic island of Torishima, 518 km south of Tokyo, where a little known and forgotten 18th century castaway survived for 20 years. Now known as the Japanese Robinson Crusoe, the castaway survived by eating albatross and collecting raining water before sailing home on a boat built of driftwood and makeshift nails. The castaway of Torishima inspired Japanese authors just as Selkirk had for Defoe. Takahashi draws on decades of research and field expeditions to explore the gray area between fiction and non-fiction, and tell the stories of these real Robinson Crusoes; one from the east and one from the west.
Daisuke Takahashi is a Fellow of The Explorers Club, a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society in the UK, and a grantee of The National Geographic Society. His research focuses on castaways, legends, and mountain worship. Takahashi is the author of In Search of Robinson Crusoe (Cooper Square Press, 2002) and Castaway Island (in Japanese – 2015).
Date: Monday, November 4
Time: 6:00 pm Reception, 7:00 pm Program
Location: Club Headquarters, 46 E 70th Street, NY, NY, 10021
Member Ticket Price: $15
Guest Ticket Price: $30
Student Ticket Price: $5 with valid academic ID at the door
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