To what extent did Western observers approve of early Meiji diplomatic and military overtures to China (Taiwan) and Korea?

This essay achieved a low 1st in the third year of my undergraduate.

To what extent did Western observers approve of early Meiji diplomatic and military overtures to China (Taiwan) and Korea?

The Meiji Restoration of 1868 ushered in a new era of Japanese history, which many historians have recognised as the roots of its twentieth-century imperialist tendencies. The first significant ventures overseas made by the new Meiji government occurred in 1874 and 1876 to Taiwan and Korea respectively. Both were tentative demonstrations of the new Japanese state’s attempts to raise itself to the status of ‘Great Power’, and both met with mixed results, though the opening of Korea was perhaps the more significant in a wider context. Unfortunately, due to the later Sino-Japanese and Russo-Japanese wars, limited attention has been paid by modern scholars to particularly the Taiwanese expedition, let alone the Western reactions to such.[1] However, from the literature that does exist, it is clear that the diplomacy of the period was somewhat complex, with the attitudes of the Western powers varying from month to month throughout, ranging from outright disapproval, all the way through to full support. In between these poles, there is a third interpretation; one which may be gleaned from conjecture over the implications of Japanese actions.

The strongest Western disapproval accompanied the 1874 expedition to Taiwan, also referred to as Formosa. International concerns were largely made clear immediately prior to the inception of the expedition, and nonetheless failed to prevent it from taking place.[2] The reasons for such a change of attitude have been debated by many, including Gordon and Mizuno, with opinion ranging from the fact that it was merely a desire to avoid a Sino-Japanese war and the accompanying disruption of trade, ranging through to the mere avoidance of the participation of Westerners in the expedition. Gordon in particular argues that it was the possibility of a Sino-Japanese war which fuelled Western disapproval of the venture. Rather than the concern being over the destruction such a war might have caused, Gordon emphasises that the Americans in particular were more concerned with the disruption of trade and the complexities of diplomacy which might arise.[3]

The likes of Mizuno and Thomson agree however that the Americans only disapproved of the venture because of the use of an American ship, the New York, and American personnel, most notably General Charles LeGendre. Criticism from the U.S. came chiefly from Frederick Low, the Minister in Peking, who expressed doubts from the beginning; as soon as the expedition was proposed.[4] The more forceful disapproval however, which was articulated by the U.S. administration in 1874 was focused through John Bingham, the Minister in Tokyo from 1873.[5] The possibility of war in South-East Asia was a very real threat in the eyes of the U.S. administration, and something they were keen to avoid.

The Americans were not the only Westerners to object to the expedition however, as both Thomas Wade, the British minister in Peking, and Sir Harry Parkes his equivalent in Tokyo, both expressed doubts over the legitimacy of the venture, and questioned the use of British resources.[6] The British disapproval was largely for the same reasons as the U.S., with the possibility of a Sino-Japanese war threatening to upset their imperial interests in the region. Being the most powerful nation at the time, Britain applied pressure to many of the other Western nations, such as Russia and Spain to force them into alignment in their disapproval of the actions of the Meiji government.[7] Immediately preceding the expedition then, it would seem that Western disapproval for the venture to Taiwan was strong, largely for fear of provoking China, and the possible inception of a Sino-Japanese war.[8]

Disapproval for the extraction of the Treaty of Kanghwa was slightly more abstract than that for the Taiwan expedition. Objections arose from the foreign ministers in Tokyo, with British concerns being raised by Sir Harry Parkes. His argument stemmed arguably from the contemporary fashion for upholding regional ‘status quos’, as he revealed deep political concerns which might, in his opinions have provoked a Sino-Japanese war in the longer term.[9] According to Thomas, he also disapproved of the Japanese supremacy over Korea which was made clear by the unreciprocated nature of the treaty, feeling that it was up to the Western powers to decide the balance of regional power. Similarly to the instance of Taiwan, Britain was able to put international pressure on others of the Western powers by virtue of her position in the world order, and was able to force Russian disapproval as well.[10]

American disapproval was once again personified by John Bingham, whose negative attitude involved a declaration that the U.S. would declare strict neutrality in the event of the Sino-Japanese war which he felt was inevitably imminent.[11] While his vehemence would seem to be a repeat of the opposition he displayed in the Taiwan incident two years prior, it has however been argued by Conroy that Bingham not only approved, but encouraged the use of ‘gunboat diplomacy’ in the months prior to the signing of the Treaty of Kanghwa.[12] The Western condemnation of the diplomacy with Korea was therefore somewhat more ‘conditional’, predicated as it was on the actual outbreak of a Sino-Japanese war, which was considered rather less likely than it had in relation to the Taiwan expedition.

By way of a contrast, there were however instances of Western approval for the conduct, actions, and progress of the new Japanese government in general.[13] In the case of Korea and the 1876 Treaty of Kanghwa, arguable approval came from Western representatives such as John Bingham of the U.S. largely because the entire episode seemed to signal the ‘coming of age’ of a Japanese state which had ostensibly only thrown off a feudal system twenty years prior.[14] It was felt in most quarters that the ‘Unyo incident’ of 1875, and the diplomacy which followed was far less likely to cause an East Asian conflict than the earlier Taiwan expedition.[15] It was felt that the Meiji government handled the incident in a manner approaching the standards of the ‘civilized’ West, something which was noted with approval.

While the Western ministers in Peking and Tokyo objected to the Taiwan expedition immediately prior to its departure, there were others who not only did not, but actively encouraged it. Soejima’s diplomacy with China in the months preceding the invasion were praised in many Western circles as being in meticulous alignment with Western international law.[16] Other observers also began to approve once the expedition was complete, including Edward House, an American journalist who accompanied Saigō Tsugumichi’s forces, and George Seward, the American consul-general in Shanghai. The main argument made by both was that Japan had displayed both bold and active initiative, and a comprehensive knowledge of Western international law, while the Chinese attempted to conduct their diplomacy as they always had done.[17]

While the actual involvement of Westerners in the planning and execution of the expedition speaks volumes over the support shown for it, it is important to note that perhaps the most famous, General Charles LeGendre, was employed by the Japanese government as an advisor, meaning he was obliged to show enthusiasm for it.[18] The arguments made by LeGendre, the former American consul at Amoy, and DeLong, John Bingham’s predecessor as U.S. minister to Tokyo, were that Japanese occupation of Taiwan would be preferable to any of the other Western powers.[19] Due to LeGendre’s direct involvement, it may not be accurate to name him an ‘observer’, but the viewpoint was supported in The Times as well.[20] One significant constraint is that, as noted above, LeGendre’s involvement was strictly prohibited by the U.S. government, and DeLong was ostracised by the State Department for his unauthorised support for the venture.[21]

As a useful complement, newspapers such as The New York Times, The North-China Herald and The Times also covered the events, portraying the Chinese in a negative light, while the former simultaneously referred to the Japanese as “the honourable and generous nation we now know it to be.”[22] The reason for newspaper articles being a useful contrast is that, while the opinions of House and Seward were likely to be well-informed and accurate, the New York Times was likely to represent a more general public opinion – the combination of both opinions thus gives a broad spectrum of viewpoints. Such a wide range of sources may be considered more representative than the narrow views of four ministers representing two nations.

Based on the evidence of contemporaries then, there was a certain amount of discord among Western observers concerning the overtures to both Taiwan and Korea. Support for both ventures waxed and waned through the years leading up to and following the incidents. One can however make interpretations based on a comparison between Japanese actions and the actions of the Western world. In the case of the Taiwan expedition, there is a degree of contention over the Japanese motives behind the venture. While some, such as Ekildsen, have cited domestic factors, such as a basis for the establishment of a national identity, or an outlet for ex-samurai aggression, these would have been of little concern to Western observers, and so their relevance to the question above is debatable at best.[23] The majority of historians however, including such heavyweights as Conroy and Reischauer, argue that 1874 was little more than a punitive expedition in response to the 1871 massacre of fifty-four Ryūkyūan sailors by the Taiwanese aborigines.[24] The Japanese government considered the Ryūkyū islands to be under their sovereignty by virtue of the fact that a tributary relationship had been established between the ruler of the chain of islands and the daimyō of the Satsuma han centuries before. This meant that according to Western international law, the Japanese were well within their rights to launch a punitive expedition in the defence of their sovereign subjects, something which is likely to have been met with approval by many Western observers – it showed a Japanese willingness to conform to Western standards and law.

Such meticulous attention to the norms of Western international relations was also carried through into the Meiji dealings with Korea in the years until 1876.[25] The fact that, by all Western standards, both expeditions may be considered ‘legal’ means that observers in the West must have at least had some implicit approval, else risking hypocrisy. Particularly with regards to the diplomacy preceding the Treaty of Kanghwa, the West itself had introduced Eastern Asia to the concept of ‘gunboat diplomacy’; they had set the precedent for its appropriate use.[26] The fact that the Meiji government used such tactics is undeniable, especially when one considers the events leading up to and including the Unyo incident, and the proximity of said incident to Seoul.[27] The use of ‘gunboat diplomacy’ arguably showed admirable initiative on the part of the Meiji government, as they took Perry’s example of twenty years prior and consciously adapted it to their needs.[28] Such was noted by Sir Harry Parkes in the immediate aftermath of the incident, though whether or not he approved remains implied only.[29]

What is clearer is the precedent which the Treaty of Kanghwa set. Until that point, Korea had pursued a policy reminiscent of the Tokugawa seclusionist tendencies. What followed the extraction of the commercial treaty was much the same in Korea as it had been in Japan. The U.S. made a treaty of their own a few years later, closely followed by similar British and German agreements in 1883, a Russian one in 1884, and finally French in 1886.[30] It would seem then that, even if the Westerners did not approve of the episode itself, they were more than willing to take advantage of its consequences.[31] In terms of conjecture then, it seems likely that the Westerners approved far more of the Meiji government’s actions in relation to Korea than Taiwan, simply because they threatened the ‘status quo’ in South-East Asia far less.

Overall then, the opinions of Western observers were not cohesive at any point – Japanese actions and motives were debated throughout the period. In the long-term lead up to the Taiwan expedition, Westerners were largely supportive of the venture, but as noted above, opinion in diplomatic circles changed when the details became clear. Evidence from the press reports on the incident, and Edward House’s account however, combined with the point at which Western judgement came to rest would seem to show that, while there were qualms about it, the majority of observers approved of the way the Meiji government handled itself. The diplomatic overtures to Korea are far clearer cut however – there was little or no disapproval for the way in which the Japanese extracted a commercial treaty from Korea. That said, there was also very little in the way of explicit approval, with most being derived from the implicit Japanese mimicry of Western practice. While Western observers largely did approve of the early Meiji foreign overtures, it would be downright inaccurate to state that approval was unanimous.

Word count (including title): 2,947

 

[1] E. Shinkichi, ‘Japan’s Policies Toward China,’ in J.W. Morley (ed.), Japan’s Foreign Policy, 1868-1941: A Research Guide (New York & London, 1974), p.238.

[2] N. Mizuno, ‘Early Meiji Policies Towards the Ryukyus and the Taiwanese Aboriginal Policies,’ Modern Asian Studies, 43:3 (2009), p.688, E. Leung, ‘The Quasi-War in East Asia: Japan’s Expedition to Taiwan and the Ryūkyū Controversy,’ Modern Asian Studies, 17:2 (1983), pp.274-6, P. Duus, The Abacus and the Sword: The Japanese Penetration of Korea, 1895-1910 (Berkeley, 1998), p.45.

[3] L. Gordon, ‘Japan’s Abortive Colonial Venture in Taiwan, 1874,’ The Journal of Modern History, 37:2 (1965), pp.180.

[4] Mizuno, ‘Early Meiji,’ p.728, Leung, ‘Quasi-War,’ p.268, S.C. Thomson, ‘Filibustering to Formosa: General Charles LeGendre and the Japanese,’ Pacific Historical Review, 40:4 (1971), p.447.

[5] Thomson, ‘Filibustering,’ p.450, Gordon, ‘Taiwan,’ p.174, Mizuno, ‘Early Meiji,’ p.727, Leung, ‘Quasi-War,’ p.274, H. Conroy, The Japanese Seizure of Korea, 1868-1910: A Study of Realism and Idealism in International Relations (Philadelphia, 1974), p.55.

[6] Gordon, ‘Taiwan,’ p.174, Mizuno, ‘Early Meiji,’ pp.727-8, Leung, ‘Quasi-War,’ p.274, Thomson, ‘Filibustering,’ p.450, ‘The Japanese Expedition to Formosa,’ The Times, 31 July 1874, in Y. Uchikawa, M. Miyaji (eds.), Gaikoku Shinbun ni Miru Nihon, vol.2, p.17.

[7] Mizuno, ‘Early Meiji,’ p.727.

[8] R. Ekildsen, ‘Of Civilization and Savages: The Mimetic Imperialism of Japan’s 1874 Expedition to Taiwan,’ The American Historical Review, 107:2 (2002), p.398, Thomson, ‘Filibustering,’ p.452, Y. Kim, Korea and Japan: The Clash of Worldview, 1868-1876 (Seoul, 2006), pp.140-1.

[9] Kim, Korea and Japan, p.127, Leung, ‘Quasi-War,’ p.276.

[10] J.E. Thomas, Modern Japan: A Social History since 1868 (London & New York), p.131.

[11] Kim, Korea and Japan, p.140.

[12] Conroy, Japanese Seizure, p.62.

[13] H. Kublin, ‘The “Modern” Army of Early Meiji Japan,’ The Far Eastern Quarterly, 9:1 (1949), p.21, A. Heard, D.W. Stevens, H. Martin, ‘China and Japan in Korea,’ The North American Review, 159:454 (1894), p.308, Meiji Japan through Contemporary Sources, Vol.2: 1844-1882 (Tokyo, 1970), p.123.

[14] W.G. Beasley, The Rise of Modern Japan (London, 1990), p.144, Heard et al., ‘China,’ p.312, Conroy, Japanese, p.62.

[15] Kim, Korea and Japan, p.61, L.H. Battistini, ‘The Korean Problem in the Nineteenth Century,’ Monumenta Nipponica, 8:1/2 (1952), p.50, Heard et al., ‘China and Japan,’ p.311, A. Iriye, ‘Japan’s drive to great-power status,’ in M.B. Jansen (ed.), The Cambridge History of Japan, vol.5: The Nineteenth Century (Cambridge, 1989), p.746, Thomas, Modern Japan, p.131.

[16] M.J. Mayo, ‘The Korean Crisis of 1873 and early Meiji foreign policy,’ in P. Kornicki (ed.), Meiji Japan: Political, economic and social history 1868-1912, vol.1: The emergence of the Meiji state (London & New York, 1998), p.163.

[17] Kublin, ‘”Modern” Army,’ p.36, Thomson, ‘Filibustering,’ p.452.

[18] Mayo, ‘Korean,’ p.156, Leung, ‘Quasi-War,’ p.267, Conroy, Japanese, p.53, Gordon, ‘Taiwan,’ pp.171-2, Thomson, ‘Filibustering,’ p.444.

[19] Mizuno, ‘Early Meiji,’ pp.705-6, Mayo, ‘Korean,’ p.156.

[20] ‘The Japanese Expedition to Formosa,’ The Times, 11 August 1874, in Y. Uchikawa, M. Miyaji (eds.), Gaikoku Shinbun ni Miru Nihon, vol.2, p.19.

[21] On DeLong: Mayo, ‘Korean,’ p.156. On LeGendre: Leung, ‘Quasi-War,’ p.268, Gordon, ‘Taiwan,’ p.172

[22] For the New York Times, see: Thomson, ‘Filibustering,’ p.453. See also: ‘The Japanese in Formosa,’ The North-China Herald, 27 June 1874, in Y. Uchikawa, M. Miyaji (eds.), Gaikoku Shinbun ni Miru Nihon, vol.2, p.14, ‘The Japanese Expedition to Formosa,’ The Times, 11 August 1874, p.20.

[23] See F.R. Dickinson, ‘External Relations,’ in W.M. Tsutsui (ed.), A Companion to Japanese History (Malden, 2009), p.211, or Iriye, ‘Japan’s drive,’ pp.741-3.

[24] Gordon, ‘Taiwan,’ p.171, Conroy, Japanese, p.36, L.M. Cullen, A History of Japan, 1851-1941: Internal and External Worlds (Cambridge, 2003), p.229, Ekildsen, ‘Of Civilization,’ p.388, Mayo, ‘Korean,’ p.155, Mizuno, ‘Early Meiji,’ p.684, Leung, ‘Quasi-War,’ pp.257, 262, Y-S. Han, ‘Formosa under Three Rules,’ Pacific Historical Review, 19:4 (1950), p.404, J.E. Hunter, The Emergence of Modern Japan: An Introductory History since 1853 (London & New York, 1995), p.42, E.O. Reischauer, A.M. Craig, Japan: Tradition and Transformation (Revised edn.) (Boston, 1989), p.143, J.H. Gubbins, The Making of Modern Japan (Milton Keynes, 2009), p.89.

[25] Dickinson, ‘External,’ p.208, Mizuno, ‘Early Meiji,’ pp.685-7, Conroy, Japanese, p.57.

[26] Mizuno, ‘Early Meiji,’ p.701.

[27] Hunter, Emergence, p.44, Battistini, ‘Korean Problem,’ p.50, Duus, The Abacus, p.14, Conroy, Japanese, p.62, Gubbins, The Making, p.89, Reischauer et al., Japan, p.143, Iriye, ‘Japan’s drive,’ pp.745-6, M.R. Auslin, Negotiating with Imperialism: The Unequal Treaties and the Culture of Japanese Diplomacy (Cambridge & London, 2004), p.197, A. Dudden, Japan’s Colonization of Korea: Discourse and Power (Honolulu, 2005), p.2, J. Kim, A History of Korea: From “Land of the Morning Calm” to States in conflict (Bloomington, 2012), p.286, M. Hane, L.G. Perez, Modern Japan: A Historical Survey (4th edn.)(Philadelphia, 2009), p.163.

[28] A.A. Gordon, A Modern History of Japan: From Tokugawa Times to the Present (New York & Oxford, 2003), p.115, Dudden, Japan’s Colonization, p.2, Meiji Japan, pp.124-5.

[29] Cullen, History of Japan, p.230.

[30] Kim, History of Korea, p.288.

[31] Battistini, ‘Korean Problem,’ p.51, C.O. Paullin, ‘The Opening of Korea by Commodore Shufeldt,’ Political Science Quarterly, 25:3 (1910), p.477.

Bibliography

Primary Sources

‘China and the Formosan Difficulty,’ The North-China Herald, 12 September 1874, in Y. Uchikawa, M. Miyaji (eds.), Gaikoku Shinbun ni Miru Nihon, vol.2, pp.26-7

‘Japan and Formosa,’ The North-China Herald, 25 April 1874, in Y. Uchikawa, M. Miyaji (eds.), Gaikoku Shinbun ni Miru Nihon, vol.2, pp.7-8

‘Nagasaki,’ The North-China Herald, 16 May 1874, in Y. Uchikawa, M. Miyaji (eds.), Gaikoku Shinbun ni Miru Nihon, vol.2, p.8

‘Summary of News,’ The North-China Herald, 15 August 1874, in Y. Uchikawa, M. Miyaji (eds.), Gaikoku Shinbun ni Miru Nihon, vol.2, p.22

‘The Japanese Expedition to Formosa,’ The Times, 11 August 1874, in Y. Uchikawa, M. Miyaji (eds.), Gaikoku Shinbun ni Miru Nihon, vol.2, pp.19-20

‘The Japanese Expedition to Formosa,’ The Times, 31 July 1874, in Y. Uchikawa, M. Miyaji (eds.), Gaikoku Shinbun ni Miru Nihon, vol.2, pp.16-8

‘The Japanese in Formosa,’ The North-China Herald, 27 June 1874, in Y. Uchikawa, M. Miyaji (eds.), Gaikoku Shinbun ni Miru Nihon, vol.2, pp.14-5

‘The War in Formosa,’ The China Mail, 5 August 1874, in Y. Uchikawa, M. Miyaji (eds.), Gaikoku Shinbun ni Miru Nihon, vol.2, p.18

House, E.H., The Japanese Expedition to Formosa (Tokyo, 1875)

Meiji Japan through Contemporary Sources, Vol.2: 1844-1882 (Tokyo, 1970)

Secondary Sources

Auslin, M.R., Negotiating with Imperialism: The Unequal Treaties and the Culture of Japanese Diplomacy (Cambridge & London, 2004)

Battistini, L.H., ‘The Korean Problem in the Nineteenth Century,’ Monumenta Nipponica, 8:1/2 (1952), pp.47-66

Beasley, W.G., The Rise of Modern Japan (London, 1990)

Conroy, H., ‘Chōsen Mondai: The Korean Problem in Meiji Japan,’ Proceedings of the American Philosophical Society, 100:5 (1956), pp.443-54

Conroy, H., The Japanese Seizure of Korea, 1868-1910: A Study of Realism and Idealism in International Relations (Philadelphia, 1974)

Cullen, L.M., A History of Japan, 1853-1941: Internal and External Worlds (Cambridge, 2003)

Dickinson, F.R., ‘External Relations,’ in W.M. Tsutsui (ed.), A Companion to Japanese History (Malden, 2009), pp.207-23

Dudden, A., Japan’s Colonization of Korea: Discourse and Power (Honolulu, 2005)

Duus, P., The Abacus and the Sword: The Japanese Penetration of Korea, 1895-1910 (Berkeley, 1998)

Ekildsen, R., ‘Of Civilization and Savages: The Mimetic Imperialism of Japan’s 1874 Expedition to Taiwan,’ The American Historical Review, 107:2 (2002), pp.388-418

Gordon, A.A., A Modern History of Japan: From Tokugawa Times to the Present (New York & Oxford, 2003)

Gordon, L., ‘Japan’s Abortive Colonial Venture in Taiwan, 1874,’ The Journal of Modern History, 37:2 (1965), pp.171-85

Gubbins, J.H., The Making of Modern Japan (Milton Keynes, 2009)

Han, Y-S., ‘Formosa under Three Rules,’ Pacific Historical Review, 19:4 (1950), pp.397-407

Hane, M., L.G. Perez, Modern Japan: A Historical Survey (4th edn.)(Philadelphia, 2009)

Heard, A., D.W. Stevens, H. Martin, ‘China and Japan in Korea,’ The North American Review, 159:454 (1894), pp.300-20

Hunter, J.E., The Emergence of Modern Japan: An Introductory History since 1853 (London & New York, 1995)

Iriye, A., ‘Japan’s drive to great-power status,’ in M.B. Jansen (ed.), The Cambridge History of Japan, vol.5: The Nineteenth Century (Cambridge, 1989), pp.721-82

Jansen, M.B., ‘The Meiji State: 1868-1912,’ in T. Megarry (ed.), The Making of Modern Japan: A Reader (Dartford, 1995)

Kim, J., A History of Korea: From “Land of the Morning Calm” to States in conflict (Bloomington, 2012)

Kim, Y., Korea and Japan: The Clash of Worldviews, 1868-1876

Kublin, H., ‘The “Modern” Army of Early Meiji Japan,’ The Far Eastern Quarterly, 9:1 (1949), pp.20-41

Leung, E., ‘The Quasi-War in East Asia: Japan’s Expedition to Taiwan and the Ryūkyū Controversy,’ Modern Asian Studies, 17:2 (1983), pp.257-81

Mayo, M.J., ‘The Korean Crisis of 1873 and early Meiji foreign policy,’ in P. Kornicki (ed.), Meiji Japan: Political, economic and social history 1868-1912, vol.1: The emergence of the Meiji state (London & New York, 1998), pp.149-81

Mizuno, N., ‘Early Meiji Policies Towards the Ryukyus and the Taiwanese Aboriginal Policies,’ Modern Asian Studies, 43:3 (2009), pp.683-739

Norman, E.H., Japan’s Emergence as a Modern State: Political and Economic Problems of the Meiji Period (New York, 1940)

Paullin, C.O., ‘The Opening of Korea by Commodore Shufeldt,’ Political Science Quarterly, 25:3 (1910), pp.470-99

Reischauer, E.O., A.M. Craig, Japan: Tradition and Transformation (Revised edn.) (Boston, 1989)

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Shinkichi, E., ‘Japan’s Policies Toward China,’ in J.W. Morley (ed.), Japan’s Foreign Policy, 1868-1941: A Research Guide (New York & London, 1974), pp.236-64

Thomas, J.E., Modern Japan: A Social History since 1868 (London & New York, 1996)

Thomson, S.C., ‘Filibustering to Formosa: General Charles LeGendre and the Japanese,’ Pacific Historical Review, 40:4 (1971), pp.442-56

Treat, P.J., ‘Early Sino-Japanese Diplomatic Relations,’ Pacific Historical Review, 1:1 (1932), pp.18-35

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General Comments and Advice: A well-informed and for the most part lucidly written analysis of Western views on early Meiji overseas ventures. In places, more primary source material could have been usefully deployed to reinforce some of your key points, e.g. on the notion that the Japanese opened Korea to trade in a ‘civilised’ manner. In terms of in-depth analysis, there is also scope for drawing on this source material to explore some cases, tacit approval, e.g. the suggestion of complicity in early Meiji expansionism. Nevertheless, you have laid out an effective structure, differentiating between various types of observers to point up the dissonance to be found among the powers and between diplomats, journalists, merchants etc. Overall you have managed to construct a largely convincing and judicious overview of the spectrum of opinion at the time.

 

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