Private Correspondence between Sir Harry Parkes and Edmund Hammond, 1865-1868

1st Edition

Robert Morton

Edition Synapse
Published April 26, 2019
Reference - 220 Pages
ISBN 9781138393608 - CAT# K400327
Series: Official and Unofficial British Attitudes to Japan, 1865-1883

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This is a new series which publishes for the first time the correspondences of Sir Harry Smith Parkes (1828 – 1885) the second British Minister of Japan, and includes the complete transcriptions of his ‘private’ letters to and from Edmund Hammond, permanent Under-Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, who was the decision maker about major issues in the British relation to Asia, and his successors at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Chronologically arranged, the series covers all such letters during his 18 years in Japan and with the first volume for Bakumatsu, the end of the Shogunate era.

Parkes arrived in Japan in 1865 as the second Minister Plenipotentiary and Consul General of the United Kingdom to Japan and stayed at the position till 1883. He was one of the few who observed Japan during its turbulent period of Westernization, and supported the reformers to establish the new government. His efforts and services, alongside his secretaries such as Ernest Satow, George Aston, and A. B. Freeman-Mitford, saw the modernization of Japan starting under the strong influence of Britain.

Despite his leading role between Japan and the West in early years, his days and activities in Japan are less known and not widely studied due to the lack of primary source information as his experiences remained unpublished, unlike his predecessor Rutherford Alcock who authored The Capital of the Tycoon or Ernest Satow’s A Diplomat in Japan. Apart from two volumes in Parkes’ biography by F. V. Dickins, no contemporary sources of his life are available.

This series of private correspondence of Sir Harry Parkes will fill such a gap, and will be of interest for scholars and student of Japan and Anglo-Japanese history. All correspondence included in the volumes are fully annotated. Also included are his letters with other members of the ministry and documents such as conference minutes, which will provide a comprehensive understanding of the subject.

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