British Travel Writing and the Japanese Interior, 1854–99

  • Andrew Elliott
Part of the Britain and the World book series (BAW)


Over a 200-year period from the 1630s, the Dutch were the only European nation with whom the Bakufu (Shogunate) maintained official foreign relations. This changed in the second half of the nineteenth century when Japan became an increasingly popular destination for Western travellers. The first of this new wave of visitors began to arrive in the Bakumatsu period (1853–68), mainly naval officers and crew on board the various missions sent by the American and European powers in the early 1850s. Then from 1858, after the signing of the first trade treaties and the opening of the treaty ports for commerce and residence, came diplomats and the earliest dedicated scientific, missionary and recreational travellers. In the Meiji era (1868–1912) the number of visitors increased substantially: the political stability brought about by the end of the Shogunate and the establishment of a new imperial government was an important factor in this rise; as was Meiji Japan’s involvement in a burgeoning global tourist network — with the completion of the American Transcontinental Railroad and the Suez Canal, as well as regular steam packets across the Pacific, Japan soon became a regular stopover on round-the-world tours, most famously (and pioneeringly) by Thomas Cook in 1872.1


Actual Authority Western Power Trade Treaty Meiji Period Travel Writing 
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© Andrew Elliott 2013

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  • Andrew Elliott

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