Japan Comes of Age: Mutsu Munemitsu and the Revision of the Unequal Treaties

Japan Comes of Age: Mutsu Munemitsu and the Revision of the Unequal Treaties

Japan Comes of Age: Mutsu Munemitsu and the Revision of the Unequal Treaties

Japan Comes of Age: Mutsu Munemitsu and the Revision of the Unequal Treaties


"In the sweltering summer of 1894 Foreign Minister Mutsu Munemitsu knelt before the Japanese emperor Meiji to report that Japan's "long nightmare" was over at last. After forty years of humiliation, Japan was ridding itself of the hateful "Unequal Treaties." These treaties had been imposed upon a politically divided and militarily weakened nation by powerful mercantilist Western nations in mid-century. The treaties had hindered Japan's economic development because of discriminatory tariff restrictions, they had poisoned Japan's foreign relations, and they had truncated its legal sovereignty by virtue of extraterritoriality. The final six months of negotiations are carefully examined, employing Mutsu's extensive personal and official correspondence as well as telegrams and secret British and Japanese documents." Title Summary field provided by Blackwell North America, Inc. All Rights Reserved


As many times as I have been poised over my word processor with intentions of thanking all of the people who have helped me complete the long journey from original idea to published page, I am always dismayed how inadequate words can be to express the depth of the emotion I feel.

The present book should have been my first; it is my third. Some twenty years have elapsed since I began this seemingly endless study of Mutsu Munemitsu and the Revision of the Unequal Treaties. a dozen years ago my ideas saw first light of day in the form of my Ph.D. dissertation, Mutsu Munemitsu and the Revision of the Unequal Treaties, 1888-1894, (University of Michigan, 1986). At that time I thanked a number of the same people whom I will thank again here. But, the next decade made my obligations weightier and deeper. I will try to express my appreciation for the help and encouragement of the last decade.

First, my obligations continue to Roger Hackett, who served as the chair of my dissertation committee. He and the others on the committee, John Campbell, Peter Arnesen, and especially Ernest Young gave me many good ideas and encouragement as to how I might improve the dissertation and turn it into a monograph worthy of being published.

For the past eight years I have been the recipient of many favors and kindnesses from the grandson of Mutsu Munemitsu. Ian (Yonosuke) Mutsu, as he prefers to be called, has taken me under his wing and nurtured my continued interest in his illustrious grandfather. He has introduced me to many people and has facilitated my entry into many manuscript and library collections. He has spent countless hours patiently answering my questions, no doubt with much bemusement and certainly with great tolerance. Despite failing eyesight and debilitating health, he has read everything I have written. His constant good humor has kept me sloughing along. I dedicate this book to him.

Ian Mutsu introduced me to another scholar of Munemitsu who has similarly assisted my work. Hagihara Nobutoshi prefers to call himself an Independent Scholar. He has produced an . . .

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