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: JK38003

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 2024, we will encounter the British diplomat Ernest Mason Satow (1843-1929), one of the most famous figures in the Japanese diplomatic history. Satow arrived in Japan under the Tokugawa shogunate in 1862 as a young student interpreter, and served in the country intermittently until 1900 to be British Minister plenipotentiary; he is known to have played an important role in the backstage of the Meiji Restoration. In a longer term, his diplomatic career was extended to Siam, Uruguay, Morocco, and finally China.
Large part of the course will be dedicated to looking into his 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 diplomat’s conducts in a culture different from his own.

Course Information

Module: Research and Advanced Studies
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 an individual’s experiences.
Furthermore, it is an important objective of the course to critically discuss people’s conducts and development of their life in the forefront of transcultural environment.

Course Schedule and Evaluation

For a detailed course schedule, please visit KULASIS.

Evaluation criteria:
1) Contribution to discussions in class: 20%
2) Oral presentations (each with an outline of several pages to be shared with all participants): 30%
2) Term paper (4,000-5,000 words): 50%

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).