chapter  1
17 Pages

THE IWAKURA PERIOD, 1869-83

In the middle of the nineteenth century the fate of China was a source of no small concern for Japan. The Middle Kingdom with its reputation for great wealth and vast population became a prey for the commercial countries of the West. They wanted trade and, when they found that it was restricted, they were ready to resort to warlike means. When their superiority was established over China as it was by wars in 1842 and 1858, they concluded Western-style commercial treaties which secured for them open ports with extra-territorial rights and consular representation and jurisdiction. These concessions were extended by most-favourednation provisions to all their trading rivals. These were involuntary concessions by China because the strength of the maritime Powers could not be resisted.