A native of the province of Sanyodo, went to sea in 1850. When his ship was dismasted, he and other members of the crew were rescued by an American ship which took Heco to California, and the young Japanese did not return to his native land until 1859.
The narrative of a Japanese, vol. 1 (1895) contains Heco's reminiscences, based on diaries that he began to keep as soon as he had mastered English. In the first volume, he describes his boyhood in Japan and the voyage that brought him to America; a trip to Hong Kong; and a return voyage to San Francisco, where a local businessman sponsors Heco's education and travels to New York and Baltimore. This volume concludes with Heco's return to Japan in 1859 and work as interpreter for the U.S. consulate and a second trip to America, 1861-1862.
Vol. 2 (1895) contains Heco's reminiscences of his adventures, picking up the story shortly after Heco's return to Japan after his second journey to America in 1862. His later experiences in Japan include an eyewitness account of key events in the Revolution of 1868.