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FOREIGN OFFICE FILES FOR JAPAN AND THE FAR EAST
Series One: Embassy & Consular Archives - Japan (1905-1940)
(Public Record Office Class FO 262)

Part 1: Correspondence to and from Japan, 1905-1920
(PRO Class FO 262/1466-1511 & 2033-2034)

Through the complete files of the British Embassy and Consular Archives in Japan, this project documents the immense political, social, cultural and economic changes in Japan in the first two decades of the twentieth century.

Subjects featured include:

  • The First World War and the Russian Revolution.
  • Railways in Manchuria.
  • Commercial Legislation, Trade Restrictions, Trade Marks and Patents.
  • International Trade and Shipping.
  • Treaty Negotiations.
  • The Boycott of Japanese Goods in China.
  • Industrial and economic expansion in Japan.
  • The Japanese Red Cross Society.
  • Japanese Prisons.

Immediately after the Russo-Japanese War (1904-1905) Japan acquired significant and increased recognition around the world. Theodore Roosevelt conducted the Peace Treaty at Portsmouth, New Hampshire, USA. The Great Powers opened embassies in Tokyo and Japanese legations in London, Washington, Paris, Berlin, Vienna, Rome and St Petersburg were raised to the status of embassies.
Sir Claude M MacDonald was appointed as the first British Ambassador in Tokyo in November 1905. The Anglo-Japanese Alliance of 1902 was renewed and revised.

The last decade of the Meiji era witnessed the growth of a new confidence, and intensification in national pride, experimentation in the realms of literature and art, imperial expansion in the form of the annexation of Korea and extended spheres of influence in Manchuria. All this is well documented in these files.

The diplomatic offensive against China and the 'Twenty One Demands' of 1915 brought further territorial, commercial and economic advantages, but awakened British and particularly American eyes to the consequences of Japanese opportunism. Her permanent seat on the newly created Council of the League of Nations, amounting to full recognition of her status as a world power, fuelled concerns about Japan's place in the global hierarchy.

the Diet building

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