External relations--disputes with Britain--revival of Hitotsubashi party--Satsuma and Choshu--Meiji Restoration

THE ASSASSINATION of Ii Naosuke left the Tokugawa government without firm leadership at a time when its problems were growing rapidly more serious. Already by 1860 it was becoming clear that neither the treaty negotiations of 1858 nor the Court's half-hearted acceptance of them had solved the questions raised by the coming of Western diplomats and traders. The foreigners for their part soon found that privileges were of little use unless they could be enforced, enforcement being something which the Bakufu tried usually to prevent. On the other hand, their mere presence in the open ports was enough to arouse hostility in Japan. As this grew in vehemence, Edo's new leaders tried to meet the threat by playing off foreign against domestic enemies, a policy which led in the end to their own destruction.

An early move was to build facilities for trade at Yokohama, a fishing village, instead of nearby Kanagawa, as specified by treaty, isolating the foreign community from the main road between Edo and Osaka and making possible greater official control of access to it. Western diplomats accepted the change, but under protest. Yet within a year the newly-built town was handling the bulk of Japan's foreign trade and had become a focal point of the country's foreign relations. By comparison business elsewhere was negligible, though Nagasaki occasionally had a good year, since the domains of Satsuma, Tosa, Hizen and Fukui all traded there. As to commodities, the


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The Modern History of Japan


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