Japan-American Diplomatic Relations in the Meiji-Taisho Era

By Kamikawa Hikomatsu | Go to book overview

PART TWO
THE FIRST HALF OF MEIJI FROM THE RESTORATION THROUGH THE TREATY OF SHIMONOSEKI

CHAPTEP ONE
THE BIRTH OF THE NEW GOVERNMENT

I. The Diplomatic Corps and the New Government

A. Promulgation of the Restoration of Imperial Rule

On October 2, 1867, Yamanouchi Toyonobu, Lord of Tosa, advised the Shogun to restore power to the Emperor. On November 9, the "Secret Imperial Edict" directing the "Suppression of the Shogunate" was issued to the Satsuma and Choshu clans. On the same day, the Shogun, Generalissimo and Lord Keeper of the Privy Seal Tokugawa Yoshinobu, in view of the situation, memorialized the Emperor:

"With foreign relations becoming increasingly active, the maintenance of order will become more and more difficult unless there be one throne and one authority. In reversal of past practice I accordingly surrender authority to the Emperor."

The Emperor gave this official sanction on the following day and the Shogunate gave notice of the "Restoration of Sovereignty to the Throne" to the representatives of all interested nations (the United States, Britain, Italy, France, Prussia, Denmark, Switzerland, Belgium, Portugal and Holland.) On November 17, Elder Councillor and principal officer for foreign affairs Ogasawara Nagayuki informed the American Minister Resident, General R. B. Van Valkenburgh, and the other foreign representatives that although the Shogun Tokugawa had turned over all authority to the Emperor, he, Ogasawara, would

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