The Influence of the Opium War on Japan

  • Masuda Wataru


The Second Opium War developed as a joint Anglo-French military force invaded Tianjin and Beijing, and as a result the Chinese signed the Treaty of Tianjin (1858) and the Convention of Beijing (1860) with England and France. These supplied the legal basis to spur on the latters’ policies for the colonization of China. This development transpired with the eruption of the ‘Arrow Incident’ in October 1856, or the ninth lunar month of the third year of Ansei, according to the Japanese calendar. As a result of this incident, the British military forces burned the Guangzhou (Canton) market area to the ground. Information regarding all of these ‘incidents’ was conveyed to Japan in concrete detail in documents submitted to the shogunate which were based on direct conversations between Opperhoofd (Captain) Donker Curtius and the overseeing officials under the command of the Nagasaki Administrator, Nagamochi Kōjirō, and an assistant overseer.


Foreign Affair Historical Material Foreign Relation Direct Conversation Foreign Nation 
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  1. a.
    See Dona Torr, ed., Marx on China, 1853–1860: Articles from the ‘New York Daily Tribune’ (London: Lawrence & Wishart, 1968).Google Scholar
  2. b.
    Adapted from W. G. Beasley, trans. and ed., Select Documents on Japanese Foreign Policy: 1853–1868 (London: Oxford University Press. 1955). p. 131.Google Scholar

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© Joshua A. Fogel 2000

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  • Masuda Wataru

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