Sunday, May 29, 2016

Documents in History: Treaty of Shimoda

Admiral Putyatin in Nagasaki
In 1855, Putiatin returned to Japan to conclude a treaty delayed for over a year. The Treaty of Shimoda established formal relations between the two countries. Explore the contents of the agreement.

Treaty between Russia and Japan (Translation of the Japanese Version)

Signed at Shimoda, February 7th, 1855

The countries of Russia and Japan being at peace and desiring to preserve friendly relations, and having the intention of concluding a Treaty, the Czar of Russia has named as his Plenipotentiary, Adjutant General, Vice-Admiral Poutiatine, and the Tycoon of Japan has named his ministers Tsutsui Hizen no Kami and Kawaji Sayemon no Jo, who have agreed upon the following Articles: -


The two powers from this time forth being on terms of true friendship shall mutually in their respective countries protect the lives and property of one another’s subjects, so that they shall suffer neither loss nor injury.


From henceforth the boundary of Japan and Russia shall be between the islands of Yetorofu (Iturup) and Urutsufu (Urup). The island of Iturup belongs entirely to Japan; the whole island of Urup together with the several Kurile islands to the north thereof are the possessions of Russia. As for the island of Karafuto (Saghalin), which is between the possessions of Russia and those of Japan, no boundary line is drawn; it shall remain as it had hitherto been.


The Government of Japan agrees to open to Russian shipping the three ports of Hakodate, Shimoda and Nagasaki. From henceforth Russian ships may repair damages and may lay in wood, water, and such stores as they may be in want of, and, further, in places where coal is to be had, it shall be supplied to them. Payment shall be made in gold, silver, or copper cash, and if the Russian ships have no such money they may pay in goods. Except in cases of distress Russian ships may not put into any Japanese harbor other than the three specified above; and any expenses incurred on account of such distress shall be paid at one of the three above ports.


Shipwrecked persons driven on shore shall be well cared for by the contracting Powers and sent to one of the open ports. They will be treated kindly and with leniency, but they must abide by the laws of the country.


Russian ships arriving at Shimoda or Hakodate, may purchase such articles as they may stand in need of, paying for the same in gold, silver, or in merchandize.


In case of necessity the Russian Government may appoint an officer to reside at Hakodate or Shimoda.


Should any question arise involving a delay for further deliberation, the Japanese Government undertakes (in the meanwhile) to direct the matter with the utmost consideration.


Russian subjects living in Japan, and Japanese subjects living in Russia will be treated kindly and with leniency, and will be subjected to no restrictions of liberty; should they offend against the laws, however, they will be arrested and punished according to the laws of their own country.


The two countries being near neighbors, should Japan after the conclusion of this treaty, grant any privileges to other countries, the same privileges will at the same time be extended to Russian subjects.

The above Treaty will be ratified, in a separate form, by the Czar of Russia and the Tycoon of Japan, and the ratifications will be exchanged at Shimoda, at a convenient time, after a lapse of nine months.

In token of which the Plenipotentiaries of the two countries have affixed their respective signatures and seals.

The stipulations of the Treaty shall be observed without variations or alterations.

First Year of Ansei, 12th month, 21st day.

(February 7th, 1855)
(Signed) Tsutsui Hizen no Kami
(Signed) Kawaji Sayemon no Jo.

Treaties and Conventions Concluded Between Japan and Foreign Nations, Together with Notifications & Regulations Made from Time to Time. Yokohama, Japan: Daily Japan Herald Office, 1871.

Treaty between Russia and Japan (Translation of the Dutch Version)

In order to establish peace and friendship between Russia and Japan and to affirm them by treaty, His Highness the Emperor, Autocrat of all Russia, had appointed as plenipotentiary his Adjutant-General Vice-Admiral Evfimii Putiatin, and His Highness the Great Sovereign of all Japan has appointed as plenipotentiaries his eminent subjects: Tsutsui Khizenno-Kami (Tsutsui Hizen-no-kami) and Kavadzi-Saiemonno-Dzio (Kawaji Saemon-no-jo). The above-mentioned plenipotentiaries have laid down the following articles:


Henceforth let there be continuous peace and sincere friendship between Russia and Japan. In the possession of both Empires, Russians and Japanese enjoy protection and defense in regards to their personal safety as well as to the inviolability of their property.


Henceforth the borders between Russia and Japan will pass between the islands Iturup (Etorofu) and Urup (Uruppu). The whole island of Iturup belongs to Japan and the whole island Urup and the other Kuril Islands to the north constitute possessions of Russia. As regards the island Krafto (Karafuto) (Sakhalin), it remains un-partitioned between Russia and Japan, as has been (the case) to this time.


The Japanese Government opens for Russian vessels three ports:

Simoda (Shimoda) in the principality Idzu (Izu), Khakodate (Hakodate) in the district Khakodate, and Nagasaki in the principality Khizen (Hizen). In these three ports, Russian vessels can henceforth repair their damages, supply, themselves with water, firewood, victuals, and other necessities, even coal, where it can be obtained, and pay for all this with gold or silver specie, and in case of lack of money substitute for it goods from their store. With the exception of the abovementioned harbors, Russian vessels will not visit other ports, except in cases when because of extreme exigency the vessels will not be able to continue the voyage. Outlays made in such cases will be reimbursed in one of the opened ports.


Shipwrecked vessels and people in both Empires will be shown all kinds of assistance and all survivors will be delivered to open ports. Throughout all of their stay in the foreign land they shall enjoy freedom, but submit to the just laws of the country.


In the first two of the opened ports, the Russians are allowed to exchange desired goods and property for goods, property, and money brought.


The Russian Government will, when it finds it indispensable, appoint a consul to one of the two first mentioned ports.


If some question or matter demanding consideration or decision should arise, it will be considered in detail and set in order by the Japanese Government.


A Russian in Japan, as well as Japanese in Russia, are always free and are not subject to any constraints. A person who has committed a crime can be arrested, but is tried in no other way than according to the laws of his own country.


In consideration of the proximity of both Empires, all rights and priveleges which Japan has granted at present or will give in the future to other nations extend at the time same time also to Russian subjects.

This treaty will be ratified by His Highness the Emperor and Autocrat of all Russia and His Highness the Great Sovereign of all Japan, or as stated in the attached special agreement, and the ratifications will be exchanged in Simoda not sooner than in nine months or as circumstances will permit. As for the present, copies of the treaty bearing the signatures and seals of the Plenipotentiaries of both Empires are exchanged, and all its articles come into force from the day of signature and will be observed by both negotiating parties faithfully and inviolably.

Concluded and signed in the city of Simoda in the 1855th year from the birth of Christ, on the 26th day of January (7th day of February), or in the first year of Ansei on the 21st day of the twelfth month.


Evfimii Putiatin
Tsutsui-Khizenno-Kami (Tsutsui Hizen-no-kami)

Kavadzi-Saemonno-Dzio (Kawaji Saemon-no-jo)

Franz, Edgar. Philipp Franz von Siebold and Russian Policy and Action on Opening Japan to the West in the Middle of the Nineteenth Century. Munich: IUDICIUM Verlag, 2005.

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