TYPE: Manuscript
DIMENSIONS: 6 x 15 inches opened
COMPONENTS: 22 pages
ITEM ID: 5076
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Bakufu Documents

DATE
Year: 1858
Decade: 1850s
Century: 19th (1801-1900)
Notes: 21st day of 6th month of 5th year of Ansei (1858)

According to Peter Francis Kornicki FBA, a English Japanologist and Emeritus Professor of Japanese at Cambridge University and Deputy Warden of Robinson College, Cambridge, “Thanks to a friend of mine in Tokyo, I have been able to dig a bit more deeply. These are Bakufu documents relating to the daimyo ordered to Kyoto and Osaka on guard duties (presumable to protect the Bakufu offices and the imperial court from those opposed to the Bakufu’s unilateral signing of the treaties).

The closely written pages later are more difficult to read, but they come from the local representatives of Asakusa in Edo. The copy of the letter (?) starts out by expressing gratitude for the 250 years of peace under the Tokugawa Bakufu but then complains about the decline in official standards and seems to be implying criticism of the Bakufu for signing the treaties – but to be certain would require a lot of time and effort to make out the whole document. Even my expert friend in Tokyo had difficulties!

The first line of this manuscript has the date of the 21st day of 6th month of 5th year of Ansei (1858). Each entry that follows contains the title of a daimyo together with the notional income of his domain and the name of his castle town. What is undoubtedly significant is that two days before the date at the head of this document, the shogun’s government in Edo had signed the ‘Treaty of Amity and Commerce Between the United States and the Empire of Japan’, crucially without the permission of the Imperial Court in Kyoto.

Later in the document there is a statement (?letter) dated eleven days earlier which makes explicit reference to the treaties with the United States and Russia.”

Scholar Jim Lockhart commented that, “The first line is a date: 21 day of the sixth month of Ansei 5 (1858), followed by a person’s name (Matsudaira Sanuki-o-kami) and remarks about his fief/domain (120,000 koku, Sanuki Takamatsu, Mito Domain property).

The other entries that follow start out in a similar manner. The main text of each entry starts out the same way (the first four characters are 京都表御.”