A design sketch for a character I've been dreaming up, Matsuura Tamako or Otama (it's a long story but in the 1800s, a woman's base name in Japan - here, Tama - would change depending on who is addressing her when). She's a daughter of a daimyo, Matsuura, who was in charge of Hirado domain in old Hizen prefecture, the area that is now Hirado city in Nagasaki prefecture. I doubt it will materialize into a novel or comic, but her deal is that she's been sent to study rangaku
(Dutch studies) in Nagasaki in the 1860s, and lives with a Dutch family there where she becomes friends with the daughter who is the same age.
Here's where the story gets to the whole reason why I was daydreaming about this period - I think that bakumatsu and Meiji Japan are just begging to be reimagined as a steampunk setting and that's what Otama walks into. I mean, Japan bought its first STEAM WARSHIP from the Dutch in the 1850s, there were steam trains everywhere, mechanical contraptions, top hats, moustaches, and pocketwatches, not to mention a chaotic political environment and conflicting regional interests. I imagine that these two are going to sneak onto a steam warship and end up going somewhere amazing. We'll see.
If Otama seems to resemble novelist Higuchi Ichiyo a little too closely, it's because I stole her badass hairstyle for a reference for this sketch.