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1860 Secret Manuscript Letter TAIRO LI NAOSUKE Foreign Trade OPEN PORTS

1860 Secret Manuscript Letter TAIRO LI NAOSUKE Foreign Trade OPEN PORTS
1860 Secret Manuscript Letter TAIRO LI NAOSUKE Foreign Trade OPEN PORTS
1860 Secret Manuscript Letter TAIRO LI NAOSUKE Foreign Trade OPEN PORTS
1860 Secret Manuscript Letter TAIRO LI NAOSUKE Foreign Trade OPEN PORTS
1860 Secret Manuscript Letter TAIRO LI NAOSUKE Foreign Trade OPEN PORTS

1860 Secret Manuscript Letter TAIRO LI NAOSUKE Foreign Trade OPEN PORTS

Own a piece of history - today! Secret Manuscript Letter From Tsukuba To Chief Minister of Edo Government Discusses Foreign Trade - Open Ports 1860. Japan, Man'en 1 (1860). Substantial and fascinating manuscript copy of a letter written only seven years after Commodore Perry's arrival in Japan, discussing then controversial topics concerning the opening of foreign trade, addressed to the Chief Minister of the Edo Government li Naosuke, transcribed by Sado Nobuyuki, the actual sender identifying himself only as'Sender" along with the statement "Secret Letter From Tsukuba which the recipient would surely understand.

12 pages plus titled cover, red ink stamp to front, string-stitched at spine, opening from left to right, measuring approximately 27 x 20 cm. Two important annotations, to front and final leaf, are protected with a tipped-in paper segment. Some creasing and age-toning to exterior leafs, otherwise in very good and original condition, clean and bright internally. The letter is addressed to li Naosuke who at the time was Chief Minister of the Edo Government, and who was assassinated on 24 March 1860, which also tells us that the letter was written between 1 January and 24 March 1860. From Tsukuba suggests that he is representing the entire domain, not just writing humbly as a singular person, but rather from a position of power and authority. After all, what respectful and obedient Japanese civilian would so brazenly dare to address a high-ranking government official in such a manner, possibly risking their life in doing so? Only a powerful and out-spoken opponent, believing himself to be invincible and principled, it is easy to assume. As such, it is quite conceivable that the author is the dominant and compelling former daimyo of Mito, Tokugawa Nariaki himself.

He contributed largely to the rise of nationalism and the Meiji Restoration. Incidentally, died of a heart attack in September 1860, only a few months after the death of his opponent Ii Naosuke.

Quite likely the writer's own preserved copy, seeing as it was a'secret letter' not intended for other eyes to see, the content addresses important and then highly-controversial, non-nationalist matters such as Christianity, foreign trade, opening ports, and the consulate which had been established in Shimoda in 1854 not long after the imposing visit of Commodore Perry and his blackships in 1853. The strong political support, specifically in the Mito Domain, for the re-establishment of secular imperial rule, eventually led to the Meiji Restoration in 1868. Chief Minister of the Tokugawa shogunate Ii Naosuke, and former Daimyo of the Mito domain Tokugawa Nariaki, were vehement opponents on the political and socio-economic questions of the period, both powerful leaders, both unwavering in their missions. One advocated change, to bring Japan into a new era of connection and prosperity; the other held steadfast to traditions of isolation and nationalism.

The present letter is a rare surviving example of the direct and private correspondence on matters that would affect the nation forever thereafter. The deadly assault is referred to as Sakuradamon Incident.

He is most famous for signing the Harris Treaty with the United States, granting access to ports for trade to American merchants and seamen and extraterritoriality to American citizens. As a proponent of the reopening of Japan after more than 200 years of seclusion, he was widely criticized for signing the 1858 Treaty of Amity and Commerce with the United States Consul Townsend Harris and similar subsequent treaties with other Western countries.

From 1859, the ports of Nagasaki, Hakodate and Yokohama became open to foreign traders as a consequence of the Treaties. The city of Tsukuba, where the letter was sent from, is located in the Mito Domain (present-day Ibaraki Prefecture), sitting at the foot of Mount Tsukuba which has been a place of pilgrimage since at least the Heian period. The domain's capital settlement was also called Mito, which would officially become a city in 1889. Beginning with the appointment of Tokugawa Yorifusa in 1608, the Mito branch of the Tokugawa clan controlled the domain until the abolition of the han system in 1871.

Mito represented the center of nativism largely as a result of the Mitogaku, an influential school of Japanese thought, which advanced the political philosophy of "sonno joi" ("revere the emperor, expel the barbarians"). Mito School (Mitogaku) was established in 1657 and its nationalist philosophies had been entrenched in society for some two centuries when Commodore Perry invaded and influenced the region.

As Mito thought developed during the 19th century, its scholars began to emphasize anti-Western sentiment and the importance of the emperor in Japanese society. Aizawa Seishisai was the first scholar to advocate the sonno joi philosophy. In 1825, he wrote "New Proposals", to present his ideas about the need to protect Japan from the Western "barbarians".

He promoted nativism and opposition to Western force, trade, and belief systems. He was particularly a fierce opponent of Christianity, which in his view undermined Japanese values. He fully supported the notion of the emperor confronting the Western threat from abroad. In the work, Seishisai also advanced the idea of kokutai ("national essence") which combined Confucian morals, Shinto myths, and other philosophies. He was a leading figure in the late Tokugawa shogunate and a strong proponent of efforts to defend the country against encroaching foreigners.

In 1841, he greatly expanded Mitogaku by founding the Kodokan as the clan school. It was located in the third bailey of Mito Castle, and its construction would continue until 1857. It would become the largest han school in Bakumatsu period Japan. Nariaki was also leader of the Joi (expel the barbarian) party and made a Bakufu adviser on national defence. He was in charge of Bakufu efforts to defend the country against encroaching foreigners.

Even after resigning as domain leader in 1844, he remained one of the most radical defenders of Japan's seclusion from the West, and a leader in the nationalist movement in Japan during the 1850s and 1860s. He wrote a document entitled "Japan, Reject the Westerners" in 1853, in which he stated ten reasons why Japan should stay isolated from the rest of the world. He said that the Japanese people had a choice between war and peace, but clearly to him, the Japanese people should choose war so that Westerners would not intrude into Japan's affairs. "Sonni joi" became a widely popular sentiment after 1854, fueled by resentment for Commodore Perry and his blackships, and heavily promoted after his departure. Shortly thereafter, Mito scholars and their ideology, supported by the work "New Proposals", inspired many 19th century nationalists, and influenced the leading revolutionaries involved in the Meiji Restoration of 1868-69.

With the exception of one small Dutch trading station on the Japanese island of Dejima in the port of Nagasaki, operating from 1641 to 1843, Japan had remained "protected from foreigners" (closed off) until 1854 when the shogunate signed a treaty allowing the "barbarians" access to the country of Japan for the purpose of trade. This item is in the category "Antiques\Manuscripts".

The seller is "voyagerpress" and is located in this country: US. This item can be shipped worldwide.
  • Place of Publication: Not published
  • Type: Handwritten Manuscript
  • Language: Japanese
  • Year: 1861
  • Original/Reproduction: Original
  • Region: Asia
  • Material: Paper
  • Country/Region of Manufacture: Japan
  • Subject: History
  • Original/Facsimile: Original

1860 Secret Manuscript Letter TAIRO LI NAOSUKE Foreign Trade OPEN PORTS