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A History of the Japanese People by F. Brinkley

Was Tokugawa Nariaki 1800 1860



Contemporaneous with the wholesale reformer, Mizuno, was Tokugawa Nariaki (1800-1860), daimyo of Mito, who opposed the conciliatory foreign policy, soon to be described, of Ii Naosuke (Kamon no Kami). Nariaki inherited the literary tastes of his ancestor, Mitsukuni, and at his court a number of earnest students and loyal soldiers assembled. Among them were Fujita Toko (1806-1855) and Toda Tadanori, who are not less remarkable as scholars and historians than as administrators.


Japan now began to make the acquaintance of American citizens, who, pursuing the whaling industry in the seas off Alaska and China, passed frequently in their ships within easy sight of the island of Yezo. Occasionally, one of these schooners was cast away on Japan's shores, and as a rule, her people were treated with consideration and sent to Deshima for shipment to Batavia. Japanese sailors, also, were occasionally swept by hurricanes and currents to the Aleutian Islands, to Oregon, or to California, and in several cases these mariners were sent back to Japan by American vessels. It was on such an errand of mercy that the sailing ship Morrison entered Yedo Bay, in 1837, and being required to repair to Kagoshima, was driven from the latter place by cannon shot. It was on such an errand, also, that the Manhattan reached Uraga and lay there four days before she was

compelled to take her departure. It would seem that the experiences collected by Cooper, master of the latter vessel, and published after his return to the United States, induced the Washington Government to essay the opening of Japan. A ninety-gun ship of the line and a sloop, sent on this errand, anchored off Uraga in 1846, and their commander, Commodore Biddle, applied for the sanction of trade. He received a positive refusal, and in pursuance of his instructions to abstain from any act calculated to excite hostility or distrust, he weighed anchor and sailed away.


In this same year, 1846, a French ship touched at the Ryukyu archipelago, and attempted to persuade the islanders that if they wished for security against British aggression, they must place themselves under the protection of France. England, indeed, was now much in evidence in the seas of southern China, and the Dutch at Deshima, obeying the instincts of commercial rivalry, warned Japan that she must be prepared for a visit from an English squadron at any moment. The King of Holland now (1847) intervened. He sent to Yedo a number of books together with a map of the world and a despatch urging Japan to open her ports. This was not done for Japan's sake. The apparent explanation is that the trade at Deshima having ceased to be worth pursuing, the Dutch East India Company had surrendered its monopoly to the Netherlands Government, so that the latter's advice to Japan is explained. But his Majesty's efforts had no immediate result, though they doubtless augmented Japan's feeling of anxiety.

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