British Envoys in Japan 1859-1972
Edited by:Cortazzi, Hugh
The aim of this book is to describe the personalities and activities of senior British diplomats in Tokyo and their role in the formulation and execution of policy towards Japan in the period from 1859-1972.
The first three parts consist of biographical portraits of the British heads of mission in Japan between 1859, when the first British representative Rutherford Alcock arrived in Edo as Minister Plenipotentiary, and 1972 when John Pilcher retired as Ambassador to Japan. We have deliberately ended this survey in 1972 as papers covering later heads of missions have yet to be released under the thirty-year rule enforced by the Public Record Office. The end of Pilcher’s time as Ambassador also marks the end of an era. He was the last head of mission with pre-war experience of Japan and the last who had been a member of the pre-war Japan Consular Service. Moreover, while support to British commerce had been growing in importance in Japan since about 1960, by 1972 it had become one of the most important functions of the British mission to Japan and British relations with Japan had started a new phase.
The fourth part is devoted to some of the scholar diplomats who worked in Japan. One of those portraits is of George Sansom who played an influential role before the war in the British Embassy in Tokyo and during the war in the USA. Sansom should have become Ambassador if circumstances had been different. He was an outstanding scholar, but he belonged to the Japan Consular Service and the Foreign Office in those days mistakenly preserved heads of mission posts for generalists in the Diplomatic service. Moreover Sansom’s advice did not find favor with Robert Craigie who was the last British Ambassador to Japan before the war.
An Appendix gives brief biographical details of some of the other British diplomats who are mentioned in the biographical portraits reproduced here or who may appear in other books about Anglo-Japanese relations in the hundred years or so covered by this collection.
Part I: The early Pioneers 1859-1900v
Part I: The early Pioneers 1859-1900
Part II: From the Alliance to Estrangement, 1900-1941
Part III: The Post-war Years, 1945-1972
Part IV: Scholar Diplomats and Consuls
Index and Biographical Details of Diplomatic Names Associated with Japan
A reassessment of the career of Sir Rutherford Alcock (1809-1897), the first British Minister to Japan from 1859-64.
Detailing Lt Colonel Edward St John Neale's (1812-1866) time in charge of the British Legation in Japan during Sir Rutherford Alcock's time of leave. This article appraises Neale's actions in response to the Namamugi incident, the second Tōzenji incident and the bombardment of Kagoshima during a turbulent time in Anglo-Japanese affairs.
This article details Sir Rutherford Alcock's (1809-1897) return to Japan in 1867 and, in particualar, his actions taken with regard to the Shimonoseki Straits.
This portrait reflects on the diplomatic career of Sir Harry Parkes (1828-1885) from 1865 to 1883, a period of unprecedented revolutionary change, assessing both his personal characteristics and his diplomatic achievements.
This portrait considers the diplomatic career of Sir Francis Plunkett (1835-1907), British Minister at Tokyo from 1884-87, particularly in relation to the attempted revision of the 'unequal treaties'.
Hugh Fraser (1837-1894) presided over one of the most significant developments in Western relations with Japan, the replacement of the 'unequal' treaties originally signed in 1858. This essay surveys his involvement with the Japanese political scene.
This article considers the very short period that Power Henry Le Poer Trench (1841-99) served as British Minister to Japan before his appointment was cut short by ill health.
Sir Ernest Satow (1843-1929), generally regarded as the best qualified official and the most outstanding scholar of Japanese to have been appointed Head of Mission to Japan, served in this rol from 1895 to 1900, and this essay uses his diaries to arrive at an understanding of his chief concerns during his time in Tokyo.
Ian Nish's Introduction to Part II of British Envoys to Japan: From the Alliance to Estrangement. .
This essay recounts the diplomatic career of Sir Claude MacDonald (1852-1915) in Japan in the early 20th century - a highpoint in Anglo-Japanese relations.
Sir William Conyngham Greene (1854-1934) assumed his diplomatic posts in Pretoria and later Japan at times of accelerating tension and turbulence in the and late 19th early 20th centuries. This essay charts his career through both of these times.
This profile considers the career of Sir Charles Eliot (1862-1931) including his contributions to the field of oriental scholarship and his time as ambassador, overseeing the end of the Anglo-Japanese Alliance.
Sir John Tilley (1869-1951) was ambassador in Tokyo from 1926-31, and this essay covers his time in office and limited achievements.
Rather than assessing Sir Francis Lindley (1872-1950) as a diplomat, this portrait provides an assessment of his character through the lens of his second term in Japan and as chairman of the Council of the Japan Society of London
The period in which Sir Robert Clive (1877-1948) was Ambassador to Japan (1934-37) has been the subject of much study, but the man himself remains a mystery. This essay contends that this was because there was little friction between the Embassy and London at this difficult time.
This essay charts the diplomatic career of Robert Craigie (1937-1941) in Japan, one of the most controversial subjects in the history of inter-war Anglo-Japanese relations.
Peter Lowe's Introduction to Part III of British Envoys in Japan: The Post-war Years.
Sir Alvary Gascgoine (1946-1951) headed the British liaison mission in Tokyo from 1946 to '51, and was responsible for establishing postive relations with General Douglas MacArthur.
Concerning Sir Esler Dening (1897-1977) as a main figure in Anglo-Japanese relations following the ending of the Pacific War, at a time when British opinion was anti-Japanese.
Sir Daniel Lascelles (1902-1967) was an unlikely appointment as British ambassador to Japan having no connections or knowledge of the Japanse language, culture or people. This profile details his ineffectual time as ambassador.
This portrait details Sir Oscar Morland's (1904-1980) career and long association with Japan, as part of the Far East Consular Service and later as British ambassador to Japan.
Concerning Sir Francis Rundall's (1908-1987) time as ambassador to Japan overseeing the confrontation between Indonesia and Malaysia in 1963, the Olympic games in 1964 and the British Exhibition at Harumi in 1965.
This essay describes how Sir John Pilcher (1912-1990), as British ambassador in Japan between 1967 and 1972, helped to revive Anglo-Japanese friendship after the Second World War and was long remembered with affection both in Japan and by his friends and colleagues.
J. E. Hoare's Introduction to Part IV: Scholar Diplomats and Consuls.
This article details Sir Ernest Mason Satow's (1843-1929) further pursuits in Japan between 1873 to 1884.
This profile details William George Aston's (1841-1911) career in the consular service and his scholarly achievments as a writer of Japanese language learning books.
Detailing John Harrington Gubbins's (1852-1929) long relationship with Japan, beginning as a student interpretor with the Far East Consular Service through to dealings with the British Legation in Japan.
This profile considers equally Sir George Sansom's (1883-1965) career as a diplomat, scholar and historian.
This portrait provides a detailed account of the establishment and modus operandi of the Japan Consular Service (1859-1941) from the opening of Japan to the end of the Second World War.
An in-depth account of the build-up to and consequences of the British bombardment of Kagoshima, following the attack on three British by Satsuma retainers near Yokohama.
Vice Admiral Sir A. Kuper's report on the action from his flagship HMS Euryalus in the Straits of Shimonoseki on 15 September 1864.
Sir Esler Dening looks back on his time in post-war Japan.