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[JAPAN LIBRARY] Mutsu Munemitsu and His Time



Presented by Japan Publishing Industry Foundation for Culture (JPIC)



This book traces the footsteps of modern Japan's diplomacy by reviewing the extraordinary philosophical and political journey of 19th century Japan’s top diplomat Mutsu Munemitsu who protected the dignity of Japan as a modern nation throughout his professional life.


Toward the end of the Tokugawa shogunate (1603–1867), Mutsu Munemitsu was ousted from his home in Kishū-han, present-day Wakayama and southern Mie Prefectures, as a result of his father's defeat in a power struggle. His family was stripped of their former privileges and forced into a life of vagrancy. Having suffered this trauma at a young age, Mutsu bolstered his talent to become a man of “talent and learning in equal measure.” While in his youth, he joined the Kobe Naval Training Center founded by Katsu Kaishū (the “father” of the modern Japanese Imperial Navy) and, later, Kaientai, a trading and shipping company and private navy founded and managed by Sakamoto Ryōma (a revolutionary who helped overthrow the Tokugawa shogunate). Through this experience, he was able to see the developing conditions from the West and became a diplomat immediately after the establishment of the Meiji government.


During the Meiji era, Mutsu fully exercised his extraordinary ability, including becoming the Japanese ambassador to the United States, establishing formal diplomatic relations with Mexico, and working to revise unequal treaties with Western powers as foreign minister. In his last days, he scrambled to end the First Sino-Japanese War (1894-95); his efforts resulted in the signing of the Treaty of Shimonoseki with favorable terms for Japan.



Not only can readers gain insight into the progression of Mutsu’s life and the social, economic, and political conditions in Japan around the time of the Meiji Restoration; but also gain a deeper understanding of Japan’s position on the world stage after coming out of over 200 years of isolation, the ensuing diplomatic hardships, and the various challenges therein.



About the Author


Okazaki Hisahiko entered the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in 1952. He was appointed the first director-general of the Information Analysis, Research and Planning Bureau in 1984 and served as ambassador to Saudi Arabia and Thailand before retiring in 1992. He was the director of the Okazaki Institute until his death in 2014.




Contents Introduction


  1. Father and Son: At the Apex of Eighteenth-Century Culture
  2. Date Munehiro in Exile (Jitoku-Ō): Intellectual Pilgrimage of an Edo Dignitary
  3. Meiji Restoration: Into the Era of Revolution and Gun Smoke
  4. Giant Wings Broken: The Rise and Fall of a Prussian-style Military State
  5. A Bush Warbler in Winter: Involved in Tosa’s Adventure
  6. Burning the Midnight Oil Again: Study during Imprisonment
  7. Burning the Midnight Oil a Third Time: Is a Prussian-style Constitution Appropriate?
  8. The Origins of Japanese Democracy: Building a Modern Nation-State
  9. The Dawn of Constitutional Government: A Samurai Democracy to Be Proud of
  10. First Setback of the Parliamentary Democracy: Bloody Intervention in the Election
  11. Revision of Treaties: Freedom from Half a Century of Humiliation
  12. Rivalry on the Korean Peninsula: One Imperialism vs. Another
  13. The Donghak Peasant Revolution: Is Korea a Tributary to Qing China?
  14. The Eve of the First Sino-Japanese War: Tenacity
  15. A War of Diplomacy: Keeping the Western Powers at Bay
  16. The Battle of Pungdo: Dawn of an Empire
  17. Japan Sails to Victory: China’s Strategic Dilemma
  18. The Final Phase of the War: A Race Against Time
  19. The Treaty of Shimonoseki: Li Hongzhang in Japan
  20. The Tripartite Intervention: An Unavoidable Concession
  21. Mutsu’s Death: Fighting for Democracy to the Last




About the Book

Book:  Mutsu Munemitsu and His Time

Autor: Okazaki Hisahiko

Translated by Noda Makito

Published by:  JPIC in March 2018


Hardcover | ISBN 978-4-86658-025-8

352 pages | 220mm (h) x 148mm (w) |

Buy the book here.



Presented by JPIC