Japan’s early diplomacy during the last decade of the Tokugawa Shogunate

Course Type: Lecture
Study Focus: SEG
Term: Fall

Teacher: SANO Mayuko

Course Code: JK17005

This course aims to explore Japanese diplomacy during the last decade of the Tokugawa Shogunate, through in-depth readings of documents (such as memoirs, diaries, and diplomatic correspondences) written by people who worked on the ground during that time.



In the course of 2022, we will encounter with the British diplomats Ernest Mason Satow (1843-1929) and Algernon Bertram Mitford (1837-1916), two of the more famous figures in the early diplomatic history of Japan, known to have played important roles in the backstage of the Meiji Restoration. They were both young at the time and good colleagues to each other.
Large part of the course will be dedicated to looking into their own writings, in combination with some other sources when necessary. Students are not only expected to learn the Japanese history of the time, but to critically discuss the two diplomats’ conducts in a culture different from their own, particularly through comparing their reactions.


Course Information

Module: Research 1-3
CATS Requirements: BA 3rd year or above

Day/Period: Thu/2
Location: Edu. Sem. 1
Credits: 2


Course Goals

Students will have apprehended the transcultural nature of Japan’s path in the late 19th century. It is also aimed to familiarize the students with historical studies through carefully following individuals’ experiences.
Furthermore, it is an important objective of the course to critically discuss people’s conducts and development of their work in the forefront of facing a different culture.

Course Schedule and Evaluation

For a detailed course schedule, please visit KULASIS.

Evaluation criteria:
1) Oral presentations (each with an outline of several pages to be shared with all participants): 40%
2) Term paper (4,000-5,000 words): 60%

To JDTS/MATS students: This course can be taken as full seminar (8 ECTS) only.

Featured Image Information: Shōgun Tokugawa Iemochi gives audience to British Minister Rutherford Alcock (Illustrated London News, 20 Dec. 1860).