Monday, May 2, 2016

Documents in History: July 1853 Memorial of Tokugawa Nariaki

Tokugawa Nariaki
On July 15, 1853, right after Commodore Perry left the Edo Bay, Tokugawa Nariaki, a known nationalist, Daimyo of Mito, sent a memorial to Edo giving 10 reasons for waging war against the Americans or other foreigners. Explore the document bellow.

There are ten reasons in favor of war.

1st. The annals of our history speak of the exploits of the great, who planted our banners on alien soil; but never was the clash of foreign arms heard within the precincts of our holy ground. Let not our generation be the first to see the disgrace of a barbarian army treading on the land where our fathers rest.

2nd. Notwithstanding the strict interdiction of Christianity, there are those guilty of the heinous crime of professing the doctrines of this evil sect. If now America be once admitted into our favor, the rise of this faith is a matter of certainty.

3rd. What! Trade our gold, silver, copper, iron and sundry useful materials, for wool, glass and similar trashy little articles. Even the limited barter of the Dutch factory ought to have been stopped.

4th. Many a time, recently, have Russia and other countries solicited trade with us; but they were refused. If once America is permitted the privilege, what excuse is there for not extending the same to other nations?

5th. The policy of the barbarians is first to enter a country for trade, then to introduce their religion and afterward to stir up strife and contention. Be guided by the experience of our forefathers two centuries back; despise not the teachings of the Chinese Opium War.

6th. The “Dutch scholars” say that our people should cross the ocean, go to other countries and engage in active trade. This is all very desirable, provided they be as brave and strong as were their ancestors in olden times; but, at present, the long continued peace has incapacitated them for any such activity.

7th. The necessity of caution against the ships now lying in harbor (i.e. Perry’s Squadron), has brought the valiant samurai to the capital from distant quarters. It is wise to disappoint them?

8th. Not only the naval defence of Nagasaki, but all things relating to foreign affairs, have been entrusted to the two clans of Kuroda and Nabeshima. To hold any conference with a foreign power, outside of the port of Nagasaki – as has been done this time at Uraga – is to encroach upon their rights and trust. These powerful families will not thankfully accept an intrusion into their vested authority.

9th. The haughty demeanor of the barbarians now at anchorage, has provoked even the illiterate populace. Should nothing be done to show that the government shares the indignation of the people, they will lose all fear and respect for it. 

10th. Peace and prosperity of long duration have enervated the spirit, rusted the armor and blunted the swords of our men. Dulled to ease, when shall they be aroused? Is not the present the most auspicious moment to quicken their sinews of war?

Nitobe Inazo. The Intercourse Between the United States and Japan: An Historical Sketch. Baltimore, Maryland: The John Hopkins Press, 1891.

Explore also:

No comments:

Post a Comment