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The foreign settlement in Nagasaki, 1859-1869.

Although the port town of Nagasaki had long been a crossroads for East and West, it reached a new zenith when it was designated one of three ports opened to foreign trade and residence following the arrival of Commodore Perry and his "Black Ships" in 1853. Representatives of religious and diplomatic missions were joined by merchants and sailors, as Westerners flocked to Nagasaki even before the official opening of the foreign settlement on 1 July 1859.

Nagasaki's potential was based, in part, on its long relationship with Westerners. The port had been founded in 1570 by Jesuit missionaries and Portuguese traders in search of a Japanese entrepot for the silk and silver trade between China and Japan. The Spanish, Dutch, and English followed the Portuguese, as Nagasaki became the main Japanese port of foreign trade in the Tokugawa period (1600-1868). The English left of their own accord in 1624, while the Spanish (1623) and Portuguese (1640) were forced to leave by the Tokugawa shogunate for violations of government anti-Christian prohibitions. From 1641 to 1859 the tiny artificial island of Dejima in Nagasaki Harbor became home to a handful of Dutch traders - the only Westerners allowed in Japan.

The opening decade of the foreign settlement in Nagasaki held special promise for Western merchants and missionaries. Expectations were high among Western merchants that trade in Nagasaki would immediately begin to soar because of its experience with Westerners, its excellent harbor, its proximity to Shanghai and the China coast trade, and its ample supply of coal. In May 1859 E. E. Rice, the U.S. commercial agent at Hakodate, speculated that Nagasaki would become the "Honolulu of Japan."(1)

Hope was also high among Western missionaries, who had been excluded from Japan since the early seventeenth century. Christianity, which had as many as 300,000 Roman Catholic followers in 1600, was virtually eliminated from Japan by 1638. The last bloody campaign of suppression was fought in the Shimabara region near Nagasaki. Missionaries, both Protestant and Catholic, recognized the symbolism of rekindling "the fires of Christianity in the very place where nearly two centuries and a half ago they were extinguished at the stake." In November 1858 Rev. Henry Wood, a U.S. naval chaplain, predicted that Nagasaki was "destined from its convenient position to become very populous - another New York and also influential, instantly there will be a rush there and indeed it has already begun."(2)

Consular officials and Western employees of the Japanese government joined the agents of God and mammon in Nagasaki. All together, Western residents at the opening of the foreign settlement numbered approximately seventy, the vast majority of whom were men. A short-term assortment of sailors, travelers, entertainers, and vagabonds completed the foreign population.

The Japanese government was obligated by treaties to have a site available for residence by the foreign population by 1 July 1859, but was not able to comply. Temporary arrangements had to be made in town until low-lying land at Oura, near the harbor, could be filled in and hills along either side of this reclaimed area could be cleared for residence. Most merchants rented buildings in the Chinese section of town, while others used Buddhist temples for consulates and private residences.

In May 1860 negotiations between Western consular officials and the Nagasaki bugyo (commissioner) regarding the foreign settlement were concluded, with rents being fixed at $37 per 100 tsubo (1 tsubo equaled approximately 4 square yards) for waterfront lots, $26 for rear-street lots, and $12 for hill lots. The dominant British presence in East Asia meant that the British consul conducted most of the negotiations with Japanese officials. On 10 October the foreign residents gathered at the British consulate to select lots. Rules for selection gave first priority to governments and second to businesses; no compradore businesses (those firms that employed Chinese laborers to load and unload cargo from ships) were to have waterfront lots; and when two or more people were from the same business, only one would have the right to select until the others were finished. Following these guidelines, the order of selection was determined, with two-thirds of the choice waterfront lots going to the British. The back-street lots came to be occupied by hotels, taverns, tea-firing establishments, and "godowns" (warehouses).(3)

The following year one of the nearby hills also became available for foreign residence, and in 1863 the old Dutch quarters at Dejima was incorporated into the foreign settlement. French and Prussian merchants, who found Oura already occupied by that time, joined the Dutch on Dejima. In 1866 an area off the waterfront next to Oura called Umegasaki was added to the foreign settlement. Umegasaki was inhabited by latecomers, initially Prussians, and later Jewish merchants from eastern Europe and Russia.(4)

Because of their leadership in the China trade, British merchants dominated trade in the early years of Nagasaki. The more established East Asian trading houses, such as Jardine-Matheson Co. (which dispatched a representative with a cargo of sugar to Nagasaki as early as January 1859), and Dent and Co., initially led the way, but soon young merchants, such as Thomas Glover and William Alt, broke away to form their own companies. The only large U.S. trading firm during the first decade of the foreign settlement was Walsh and Co., which was aided by the fact that John Walsh also served as U.S. consul. Although British and U.S. merchants were the most numerous, the French, Dutch, and Prussians also actively traded in Nagasaki. Most of the early trade consisted of Japanese vegetable wax, marine products, tea, and silk, which were exchanged for Western woolen and cotton goods, and Asian sugar and herbs; however, as opposition to the Tokugawa shogunate grew, foreign merchants in Nagasaki also made considerable profits selling ships and arms to Japanese on both sides of the conflict.(5)

Other foreign merchants worked as provisioners, shipbuilders, harbor pilots, tavern owners, and hotel proprietors. Hotels with names such as "Royal George," "Our House," "New Amsterdam," "St. Petersburg," "Cosmopolite," and "Prussian Eagle" sprouted up on the back streets of the foreign settlement, reflecting the international nature of the Western community in Nagasaki in the 1860s. Most of these merchant-adventurers were young men who arrived in town with little money in their pockets, looking for whatever work they could get; they went as far as their wits and skills would take them.(6)

The 1860s was a decade of considerable excitement in Nagasaki, as hundreds of foreign merchants moved in and out of the port town looking for easy money. A few made early fortunes on currency exchange, tea, ships, and weapons, but these were usually lost as quickly as they had been gained. Only a handful of merchants from the first decade remained in Nagasaki into the 1870s. By the late 1860s events had begun to change, and Nagasaki became less attractive to those seeking a quick fortune.

Almost from the beginning, the shrewder foreign merchants in Nagasaki realized that greater profits could be made in Yokohama and Kobe, the two foreign settlements near the large commercial and industrial centers of Tokyo and Osaka. Yokohama was not only dose to Tokyo, but also had direct access to the rich silk trade of eastern Japan. Being on the east coast, it was also closer than Nagasaki for Americans coming from San Francisco. Kobe's opening in 1868 virtually sealed the fate of Nagasaki as a major trade center. Almost all of the major trading firms in Nagasaki moved their headquarters to Yokohama or Kobe by the end of the first decade. Even the first English-language newspaper in Japan, The Nagasaki Shipping List and Advertiser, which had been founded in Nagasaki in 1861, lasted only a few months before the editor took his business to Yokohama. The other important source of wealth for foreign merchants in Nagasaki in the 1860s also disappeared; having made considerable money selling arms and ships to both sides in the early and mid 1860s, individual foreign merchants saw the well go dry with the victory of the opposition forces over the shogunate in the Meiji Restoration of 1867-1868.(7)

Western missionaries were also active in the opening decade of the foreign settlement in Nagasaki. Early Protestant missionary activity was dominated by two U.S. denominations: the Reformed Church and the American Episcopal Church. Joining them was the Paris Foreign Missionary Society, which monopolized Catholic missionary work in the town.

According to treaty provisions Westerners were allowed to practice their religion within the confines of the foreign settlement, but the propagation of Christianity among the Japanese population was still prohibited. In spite of the prohibition, in September 1858 two Protestant missionaries residing in China, S. Wells Williams of the Reformed Church and Edward Syle of the American Episcopal Church, traveled to Nagasaki to ascertain what openings were available for introducing Christianity into Japan. They were joined by Rev. Henry Wood, chaplain of the U.S.S. Powhattan, which was in port at the time. As a result of their findings, Williams, Syle, and Wood wrote to the directors of the Episcopal, Reformed, and Presbyterian mission boards in the United States, urging them to appoint missionaries to Japan.(8)

After Williams and Syle departed, Wood remained in Nagasaki for two months to teach English to Japanese interpreters at the request of the Nagasaki commissioner. The lessons in English were interspersed with information on Christianity, a practice which, according to Wood, did not seem to offend Japanese officials. He suggested that U.S. churches send missionaries to teach English to the Japanese and in return learn the Japanese language themselves while they waited for the right moment to preach Christianity.(9)

Williams believed that the best place to initiate this strategy was Nagasaki.

It seems to me that the most promising plan to commence with, will be to station a missionary at Nagasaki or Yedo, whose object shall be to teach English to the Japanese youths put under his charge . . . In some respects Nagasaki is preferable to Yedo to commence such a school, as this town is intended to be a leading commercial port in foreign trade and the demand for a knowledge of English is greater.(10)

The first of the mission boards to respond to the appeal was that of the American Episcopal Church, which had the advantage of a station and missionaries already in China. Two missionaries in China, John Liggins and Charming Moore Williams, were chosen to go to Nagasaki. Liggins arrived in Nagasaki in early May 1859 and was joined by Williams at the end of June, and both were already in town by the date of the official opening of the foreign settlement.

Liggins immediately began to teach English to Japanese interpreters, but the new commissioner in Nagasaki made it dear that he would not allow the teaching of Christianity. The religious duties of Liggins and Williams were thus limited to serving as ministers for the U.S. and British residents of the foreign settlement and to leading services for visiting sailors.

Liggins left Japan in February 1860 due to ill health, leaving Williams as the sole representative of the American Episcopal Church in Japan. Williams continued his work with the foreign community and even built a church in the foreign settlement in 1862 - the first Protestant church in Japan - but his successes among the Japanese were few. According to one source,

He did not make a single open convert during approximately seven years. What encouragement he had came from such cases as that of the [Japanese] artillery officer who visited him at night under cover of darkness to ask more about the strange book, The Bible, which had come into his hands.(11)

In the spring of 1866, just as the situation began to show signs of improvement for Williams, he was recalled to the United States and appointed bishop of China and Japan. He later returned to Japan and was based in Osaka, but his departure brought an end to activity by the American Episcopal Church in Nagasaki. The Church Mission Society of the Anglican Church took charge of the chapel in the foreign settlement in January 1869 and developed its own headquarters at Dejima, but the American Episcopal Church never returned to Nagasaki.

The Reformed Church was the second American Protestant mission to dispatch representatives to Nagasaki. Guido Verbeck, the man sent by the Reformed Church, became the most influential of all the foreign missionaries in Japan. Verbeck was chosen in part because he was a native of the Netherlands, and it was thought that his ability to speak Dutch would be an advantage in Nagasaki, with its long ties to the Dutch. Verbeck, who arrived in Nagasaki in November 1859, found the situation there not altogether unfriendly and mentioned that many Japanese visited him. His biggest regret was that he did not speak Japanese. His Dutch and English ability made communication with some people possible, however, and he soon found a Japanese language teacher.(12)

In one of his first reports to the mission board, Verbeck noted that "Nagasaki appears to be the place best adapted for missionary operations at present in Japan." By the end of the year, however, he was lamenting the fact that his Japanese language study was going slowly, because he was spending too much time teaching English to a group of Japanese interpreters. As far as his religious duties went, he described his work as preparatory

In our special case, they who once attempted to "drown Christianity in the blood of Christians" must, as it were, be conciliated; the language . . . must be acquired; aids to learn the language with more ease in less time must be prepared for the use of future laborers of our own, or other Christian bodies; and the people's religious, institutions, habits, and sins of the country must be studied attentively.(13)

By 1862 Verbeck had made some progress in his study of the Japanese language, and had formed the first Bible class in Japan. The latter, he admitted was a direct result of his English teaching. "Every one of these Bible students has become so . . . in consequence of having been my pupils in English. Thus, teaching English, which I had sometimes considered as unprofitable drudgery . . . was under Providence turned to so good an account."(14)

In 1864 Verbeck began to teach English at the newly opened foreign language school operated by the Japanese government. At this school and its successor Verbeck taught many of Japan's brightest young men, using the U.S. Constitution and the New Testament as his main texts. In this way he became a self-supporting missionary and developed contacts with students who would later rise to positions of power within the new Meiji government. Although initially stationed at Nagasaki because of his Dutch-language skills, ultimately it was his English-language skills that proved invaluable.

In 1869, in the aftermath of the Meiji Restoration and after having spent ten years in Nagasaki teaching English, learning Japanese, and laying the foundation for the propagation of Christianity, Verbeck moved to Tokyo at the invitation of some former students to establish a government university. In spite of a new, more liberal government in power, however, the propagation of Christianity to Japanese was still prohibited.

Verbeck spent a decade single-handedly conducting preparatory work for the Reformed Church in Nagasaki, and by the time of his departure it was dear that Nagasaki was no longer the pivotal city early missionaries had hoped it would be. By 1869 the pioneer Protestant missionaries who had arrived in Nagasaki ten years earlier were gone; Liggins back to the U.S., and Williams and Verbeck to more prominent cities in Japan. The symbolic dream of having American Protestant missionaries reestablish Christianity in the Japanese city where it had been virtually eliminated two hundred years earlier had faded.

Roman Catholic missionaries had even higher hopes for Nagasaki, because of their proselytizing successes in the area more than 200 years earlier, and the prospect that some of the descendants of these followers may have survived. Despite intense persecution by the Tokugawa shogunate in the early seventeenth century, and continued government efforts throughout the Tokugawa period to enforce the anti-Christian ban, thousands of Japanese Catholics - almost all of whom lived in the vicinity of Nagasaki - retained their faith into the nineteenth century. These so-called kakure kurishitan (hidden Christians) were able to survive annual Christian image-trampling ceremonies, registration at Buddhist temples, government rewards for information as to their whereabouts, community spy networks, and anti-Christian inquisition offices by taking their religious beliefs underground and restricting membership to family and friends that they knew could be trusted. This meant secret ceremonies, Christian images disguised as Buddhist icons, oral transmission of beliefs, and quite often dangerous marriages within restricted gene pools, but they managed to keep their religion alive.(15)

Hoping to reach these kakure kurishitan, whose existence they suspected but could not officially document, the Paris Foreign Missionary Society sent Theodore Forcade to the Ryukyus in May 1844 to begin preparation for the eventual reopening of Japan. In March 1846 Pope Gregory XVI raised Japan to the status of Vicariate Apostolic and named Forcade its first vicar.(16)

In February 1855 in the aftermath of Perry's opening of Japan, three young French missionaries, Eugene Mermet, Louis Furet, and Prudence Girard, who had been studying Japanese in Hong Kong, were sent to Naha to ready themselves for their eventual transfer to Japan. Furet went to Nagasaki in May 1856 with Admiral Laguerre and viewed the city from aboard ship. Mermet acted as an interpreter for the French envoy Baron Gros who stopped in Nagasaki in October 1858. The mission then proceeded to Edo where Mermet became the first priest to enter that city. Girard returned to Hong Kong to prepare for the opening of the Japan mission, and in September 1859 was invited to be interpreter and priest to the French consul general in Edo. In January 1862 he had a large Catholic church constructed in Yokohama, in an attempt to draw out suspected hidden Christians; it failed, however, because there were no such Christians in the area. Later in the year, Bernard Petitjean, who had arrived in the Ryukyus in 1860, and Furet went to Yokohama to join the French priests already there.(17)

Around the same time, Leon Dury was appointed vice-consul in Nagasaki. Dury was a doctor who had been brought to Japan by his friend Mermet to open a hospital in Hakodate. When that failed due to Japanese objections, Dun/found a job at the French consulate in Yokohama until his appointment to Nagasaki. Since Dun was a fervent Catholic, the acting superior in Japan sent Furet to Nagasaki in January 1863 to establish a church and mission headquarters there.(18)

The French decided to build Oura Church on the hill at Minamiyamate. because from there one could see across town to the site where twenty-six Western and Japanese Catholics had been executed by the Japanese government in 1597 because of their religious beliefs. Furet oversaw the construction of much of the church, but was replaced in 1864 by Petitjean and Joseph Laucaigne.(19)

Construction proceeded slowly until early December 1864 when Japanese officials asked Petitjean to teach French at the new government school in town. He agreed to do so, but only in return for having the church completed by the beginning of the new year. Suddenly, the number of Japanese workers tripled, and work continued day and night until the deadline was met. The church was dedicated in February 1865 to commemorate the 268th anniversary of the Twenty-Six Martyrs. The following month, scores of Japanese hidden Christians appeared at the doorstep of the church and announced their presence to Petitjean and Laucaigne.(20)

The French missionaries were delighted by their discovery, and the following year two more members of their order arrived to strengthen the mission in Nagasaki. Events did not remain calm for long, however, as the Japanese government prohibition against propagating Christianity to Japanese citizens was being openly flaunted by these Catholic missionaries. Large-scale persecution began in July 1867. Petitjean went to France in October to plead the cause of the mission and returned in June 1868. Forced banishments began a month following his return to Nagasaki. More than three thousand Japanese Christians were exiled from the neighboring village of Urakami to distant parts of the country in January 1870.(21)

By the end of the first decade the French Catholic missionaries achieved mixed results. They had constructed an impressive church that brought thousands of Japanese Christians out of hiding, but these Christians were persecuted by the Japanese government. It would be 1873 before Western pressure and a change of heart by Japanese government officials after a trip abroad resulted in the softening of the ban on Christianity and the return of Japanese Christians to Nagasaki. The French Catholics faced different problems than the American Protestants, but for both groups the opening decade of the foreign settlement in Nagasaki proved a frustrating experience.

In addition to the Christian missions at Nagasaki, numerous government officials were attached to diplomatic missions in town. At the opening of the foreign settlement, five nations had residential and trading privileges in Nagasaki: Britain, the United States, France, the Netherlands, and Russia, with Portugal and Prussia following shortly thereafter. By the end of the opening decade, all had consulates at the port.

The British unquestionably had the most elaborate and best trained diplomatic mission. C. Pemberton Hodgson, who arrived in June 1859, was appointed officiating consul for Nagasaki until the permanent consul, George Morrison, succeeded him in August. Morrison did most of the negotiating with Japanese officials over the location, rent, and laws involving the foreign settlement. He also headed the committee for the construction of the first church and cemetery for foreigners in Nagasaki. The mission also included an assistant consul, a packing agent, a constable, and an interpreter. Morrison, who was wounded in the attack on the British legation in Edo in July 1861, remained in Nagasaki until 1863. He was succeeded in office by four other Foreign Office officials in the initial decade of the foreign settlement.(22)

The United States also had a consul appointed prior to the official opening of the foreign settlement, but the selection process was much more haphazard than that of the British. On 1 May 1859, Townsend Harris, the U.S. consul-general to Japan, appointed John G. Walsh, the largest American merchant in town, as consul. Walsh served, for all practical purposes, as a merchant-consul; he received no salary from the U.S. Department of State, but was permitted to conduct his own private business. Walsh was assisted in his duties as U.S. consul to Nagasaki by a deputy (or vice) consul, a U.S. marshal, and, at times, an interpreter - all selected from the local business community and paid out of his own pocket.

Walsh's main duties as consul were to serve as the consular magistrate (since the U.S. and other Western nations had extraterritorial rights in Japan) and to maintain various official records for the U.S. government. Although some of Walsh's duties began almost immediately, it was more than six months before be was able to borrow a copy of the U.S. consular instructions, and even longer before he received the necessary books and forms needed to operate the consulate in the proper manner. Even when the materials did arrive, Walsh did not have the legal training to carry out the duties of his office. This did not prevent him, however, from ruling on more than Fifty cases during his tenure. To make matters worse, there was no jail in the foreign settlement, and, according to Walsh, the Japanese one was so bad that it did more harm than good. U.S. citizens sentenced to lengthy prison terms had to be sent to the jail in the Kanagawa foreign settlement.(23)

Walsh was replaced as U.S. consul in October 1865 by Willie P. Mangum, the nephew and adopted son of the famous North Carolina judge and presidential candidate of the same name. The younger Mangum had originally been appointed U.S. consul in Ningpo, China, in 1861 by Abraham Lincoln as a favor to his uncle. For the first time Nagasaki had an official U.S. consul confirmed by Congress. Mangum, however, encountered many of the same problems Walsh had faced. He received a $3,000 annual salary, but balked at having to use one third of it to pay the salary of his vice-consul. A local merchant served as marshal, but Mangum was unable to hire an interpreter.(24)

In his role as consular judge, Mangum handled a variety of cases, but the most celebrated involved the trial of a U.S. merchant (and former marshal under Walsh) who was found guilty of his third major offense in Nagasaki by Mangum and eventually deported by the Japanese government. Although having no previous diplomatic service in Japan, Mangum brought a certain degree of legal and administrative expertise to the post as the first permanent U.S. consul to Nagasaki.(25)

France's interests were directed the first year by a British merchant in the employ of Jardine-Matheson. A Portuguese subject under British protection succeeded him and conducted affairs until late 1862 when Leon Dury was appointed French consul. Dury left in the mid 1860s to become a French language teacher, first in Nagasaki and later in Kyoto. Walsh and Mangum thereafter managed French affairs in Nagasaki until the consulate dosed in 1870 because of war with Prussia.(26)

The Netherlands was originally represented by the last of the Dutch superintendents on Dejina He was followed by J. K. De Witt in the early 1860s and then by A. J. Bauduin, a physician and businessman who served as consul until 1868. Other nations, with more limited interests, used foreigners as representatives during the early years or went without a consul. Russia, which had no merchants in town did not have a consulate in Nagasaki until the end of the opening decade. In September 1860 the governor of Macao, and Portugal's envoy to Japan, appointed a British employee of Dent & Co., to supervise Portuguese interests in Nagasaki. He soon departed, but was replaced by a local Portuguese merchant working for the same firm. Prussia did not ratify its treaty with Japan until 1863, so its citizens had to trade under foreign flags (usually British, Dutch, and U.S.) until that time. After ratification, two local Prussian merchants served as vice-consuls for the remainder of the decade. By the end of the opening decade of the foreign settlement in Nagasaki, Danish, Belgian, and Swiss interests were also served by local merchants affiliated with other foreign consulates. The primary duties of all foreign consuls included protecting and enhancing the interests of their citizens, administering the laws of the settlement, and keeping accurate records of all transactions and activities in the port.(27)

The opening decade of the foreign settlement was hectic and sometimes dangerous for the consuls, who symbolized the official Western presence and personally executed the despised (in the eyes of the Japanese) laws of extraterritoriality. They had to cope with language problems (most of the early communications were conducted in Dutch; later English became the dominant language), roaming bands of anti-Western samurai, political instability in Japan, their own general inexperience, and a lack of support from home governments. Near the end of his tenure in Nagasaki, Morrison, the British consul, wrote that "The East is a mixture of exile and purgatory, of which one year should count for three as with the military in war time; for it is a continual war with all that is disagreeable in life." Although events in Nagasaki during the first decade may have been a disappointment for merchants and missionaries, the period was both a chaotic and perilous one for the government officials who had to administer the foreign settlement.(28)

Another group that played an important function in the first decade of the foreign settlement were Westerners invited by the Japanese government to serve as technicians, doctors, and teachers. This group was led by the Dutch, who had gained the confidence of the Tokugawa shogunate during their long residence on Dejima prior to Perry's opening of Japan. The Japanese government employed about a dozen Dutch at their two shipbuilding factories at Akunoura and Tategami, and the Government Hospital in Koshima.(29)

The Foreign Language School was the other Japanese government institution employing foreigners. The school, which went by a series of different names during the decade, was established in 1858. Here Japanese officials studied English, French, and sometimes Russian. Most of the teachers were English, U.S., or French consular officials and missionaries.(30)

In addition to the relatively long-term residents, Nagasaki also played host to a significant transient population of sailors, travelers, entertainers, prostitutes, and vagrants. Of the short-term groups, the one with the greatest impact on Nagasaki - both in the foreign settlement and in the native town - were the sailors, who sometimes came by the hundreds to the port.

The British, Americans, French, Dutch, Russians, and Prussians in particular sent large numbers of sailors to Nagasaki. The most informative account of the behavior of sailors in the opening decade of the foreign settlement was written by a naval surgeon attached to the U.S.S. Iroquois. The physician, who arrived in Nagasaki in October 1868, detailed a favorite activity of American sailors, known as "John Nugi" (from the Japanese word nugu, to take off one's clothes) or "Johnnie Nookee." This was a rowdy, drunken version of "Simon Says," in which the losing "tea house" girls forfeited their clothes one item at a time.

As soon as the girls are all naked, why, so soon do they commence to perform all manners of tricks, dancing in the most voluptuous manner, placing themselves in all different kinds of attitudes that one might imagine men and women would take whilst having carnal communication with each other. In short, the whole is one carnival of sin and iniquity, the passions of both sexes amused to the highest pitch.

Those participating in too many "Johnnie Nookees" or frequenting too many "tea houses" paid a price - the doctor treated a number of sailors suffering from syphilis and gonorrhea.(31)

In the opening decade of the foreign settlement, sailors had to worry not only about venereal disease, but cholera, smallpox, and dysentery as well. During this period, scores of seamen lost their lives in Nagasaki and were buried at the international cemeteries in Inasa and Oura. The June 1867 death of an American sailor illustrates another danger faced by Western military personnel. The sailor was murdered by a Japanese samurai who struck him down from behind with a sword. Tensions increased in Nagasaki when, in spite of a detailed description of the assailant, the attacker was not brought to justice. Two months later two British seaman were killed by a Japanese swordsman as they lay in a drunken stupor at the entrance to a Nagasaki "tea house," and the incident almost led to war between Japan and Great Britain.

Only victory by the opposition forces in 1868 brought an end to the attacks on foreign sailors.(32)

Other short-term residents had less of an impact on the early foreign settlement. During the initial decade, when most foreign traffic arrived via Shanghai and Hong Kong, the vast majority of travelers entered Japan through Nagasaki. They spoke almost unanimously of the clean streets and verdant hills of Nagasaki in comparison with the dirty, brown, coastal towns of China.

Various entertainers, including singers, magicians, fortunetellers, and circus performers, played the port circuit of East Asia, and invariably found their way to Nagasaki. Prostitutes (including a number of Western women) quite often followed the same circuit, arriving aboard foreign ships and stealing out of town in the middle of the night. The numerous vagrants who wandered from port to port seeking handouts were most burdensome of the short-term residents. They were not only a nuisance to the permanent residents, but could quite often be dangerous. These vagrants rarely found their way into the written records of Nagasaki except when they were arrested or when they died - both occasions causing a financial burden to the foreign population in town. It cost money to pay for their upkeep in a Japanese jail and even more to bury them. It is difficult to determine where the vagrants were buried, because while residents usually contributed to burials, they were far less willing to pay for the extra cost of a tombstone.

During the first ten years of the foreign settlement, the number of Westerners in Nagasaki increased almost threefold, from approximately 70 to 200. As the Western population expanded, the foreign residents began to develop various governing and social institutions. The models for most of these were institutions developed by the British at the foreign settlement in Shanghai. By 1862, Westerners in the Nagasaki settlement created a municipal council, a chamber of commerce, a fire brigade, a land renters' association, and a church and cemetery society.(33)

The opening decade of foreign settlement was too fluid to generate many permanent social organizations, but here again the British took the lead in the creation of the Nagasaki Club (a social dub for Westerners) and the Amateur Dramatic Corps (a loose-knit organization of amateur actors). The times were generally more conducive to social activities that developed outside the constraints of formal social clubs. The two most popular activities seem to have been bowling and billiards, judging from the number of such establishments erected in Nagasaki in the early years. International bowling tournaments were common within the settlement, with the U.S., German, and British residents the most active participants. Horseback riding, bird hunting, and boat racing were also very popular among the foreign population in Nagasaki. The annual regatta was unquestionably the most important social event of the season.(34)

By the 1870s, the foreign settlement changed dramatically. Frustration among Western merchants and missionaries was evident everywhere, as the great promise of the late 1850s diminished in the face of the hard realities of the day. Foreign trade declined significantly when the major Western trading firms moved their headquarters to Kobe and Yokohama, and Western missionary work among the Japanese was not only prohibited, but Japanese Christians were being actively persecuted by government officials.

One readily available scapegoat, especially in terms of the decline of Western trade, was the Chinese merchant community in Nagasaki - originally brought to town as compradores by the Western merchants themselves. It was much easier to blame the Chinese than it was to analyze long-term economic trends or give credit to better-situated harbors.

In an April 1870 article, the editor of Nagasaki's English-language newspaper observed that

It is painful to note the swift and sure decay of foreign trade at Nagasaki. As firm after firm finds it advisable to withdraw its capital from the part, as resident after resident finds the utter stagnation of trade rendering his labour unnecessary, as day after day business seems to, grow worse instead of better, the end becomes more and more certain to our unwilling senses. We struggle against the thought that our power is no more in Nagasaki, we try to fancy that a better time is coming, but as no signs of that better time show themselves, we cannot help anticipating the final result. Were it only the poverty of the country and the necessarily prescribed limits of trade by which we were afflicted, we could give up our position without shame; but the fact that it is principally through Chinese whom we have brought into this place and assisted, in direct opposition to the wishes and inclinations of the Japanese themselves, does not reflect much credit upon us.(35)

An item in the same newspaper only three weeks later, in the form of an epilogue read by a Western actor performing his final scene before leaving Nagasaki, conveyed a similar opinion.

Farewell! and why? Alas! the cause is known Our occupation's like Othello's gone. For look! where'er you cast your eyes, you see The Chinese flourish like a green-bay tree. And whose the fault if Chinese every where Take all our business and pollute our air? Whose but our own who gave them house and land And sowed our ruin with a heedless hand. What use to cry or raise the voice of woe? The Chinamen are here and we must go.(36)

Although Chinese competition may have been a contributing factor in the decline of Western trade at the port, it certainly was not the major one, and later interpretations do not support the Sinophobia prevalent among Westerners in Nagasaki at the end of the opening decade of the foreign settlement.

Nagasaki would never again be the kind of town that it was in the 1860s. Replacing the volatile foreign settlement of the initial decade was a settlement dominated by a more stable population with a greater stake in slower, long-term growth. Social institutions aimed at establishing traditional mores and achieving stability in the foreign settlement also began to proliferate. The tremendous promise of the late 1850s may never have been realized - Nagasaki became neither the New York nor the Honolulu of Japan - but it did remain a major Japanese trading port that hundreds of Westerners continued to call home until well into the twentieth century.

1 Elisha E. Rice, U.S. Commercial Agent at Hakodate, to U.S. Secretary of State, 22 May 1859, Despatches from United States Consuls in Hakodate, Japan, 1856-1878 (Record Group 59), microfilm, National Archives, Washington D.C., 1957.

2 Rev. Henry Wood to Rev. Bethune of the Reformed Church, 30 November 1858, Records of the Board of Foreign Missions, Japan Mission, Reformed Church Archives, Rutgers University, New Brunswick, N.J. Hereafter cited as RBFMJM.

3 For records of land rents paid by foreigners in the early years of the foreign settlement, see Gaikoku kyoryunin kachi chiryocho [Records of the Land Rental Fees for Foreign Residents], a handwritten document by Japanese officials contained in the local history section of the Nagasaki Prefectural Library; John G. Walsh to the U.S. Secretary of State, 3 October 1859. "Record of the Original Allotment of Land in the Foreign Quarter at the Port of Nagasaki, Japan" contained in the Records of the United States Consulate at Nagasaki, Japan, 1859-1941 (Record Group 84), National Archives, Washington D.C. Collection hereafter cited as RUSCN.

4 For a detailed account of the construction of the foreign settlement in Nagasaki, see Hishitani Takehira, Nagasaki gaikokujin kyoryuchi no kenkyu [Research on the Nagasaki Foreign Settlement] (Fukuoka, 1988), 75-428.

5 See the account of Henry Holmes, My Adventures in Japan (London, 1870). The most famous Western merchant in Nagasaki to sell ships and arms to the Japanese during the 1860s was the Scotsman Thomas Glover. For an account of Glover's trade, see Shinya Sugimoto, "Thomas Glover: A British Merchant in Japan, 1861-1870," Business History 26, no. 2 (1984): 115-138.

6 The names of the various hotels can be found in The Nagasaki Directory, an annual listing printed in Hong Kong of the businesses and residences of foreigners in Nagasaki, which began in 1865 and continued, in one form or another, until 1941.

7 The Nagasaki Shipping List and Advertiser was founded by the Englishman Albert Hansard. Its first issue was 22 June 1861. Hansard moved his business to Yokohama in November and began publishing the Japan Herald. Copies of the former can be found in the Nagasaki Prefectural Library, while copies of the latter are in the Yokohama Kaiko Shiryokan.

8 Frederick Wells Williams, The Life and Letters of Samuel Wells Williams (Wilmington, Del., 1972), 284-285.

9 Rev. Henry Wood to Rev. Bethune, 30 November 1858, RBFMJM.

10 S.W. Williams to Edward Syle, 30 September 1858, in Mission of the Protestant Episcopal Church, Japan, Occasional Missionary Paper, Foreign Committee, February 1859, 14-15.

11 Maria Minor, Charming Moore Williams: Pioneer Missionary in Japan (New York, 1959), 12.

12 Rev. H. V. S. Peeke, Sketch of the Japan Mission (New York, 1923), 8.

13 Guido Verbeck to Rev. Isaac Ferris, 14 January 1860, RBFMJM; Guido Verbeck, Annual Report for the Year ending 31 December 1860, RBFMJM.

14 Ibid.

15 For accounts of the kakure kurishitan, see Kataoka Yakichi, Kakure kirishitan (Tokyo, 1967); and Furuno Kiyoto, Kakure kirishitan (Tokyo, 1984).

16 Joseph L. Van Hecken, The Catholic Church in Japan since 1859, trans. John Van Hoydonck (Tokyo, 1963), 6.

17 Francisque Marnas, La Religion de Jesus Ressuscitee au Japon (Paris and Lyon, 1896), 1:253; Van Hecken, The Catholic Church in Japan since 1859, 10, 13.

18 Ibid., 14.

19 For an account of the Twenty-Six Martyrs' Incident, see Kataoka Yakichi, Nagasaki no junkyosha [The Martyrs of Nagasaki] (Tokyo, 1970), 37-49. Today a Catholic museum stands on the site of the former execution grounds at Nishizaka commemorating the martyrdom.

20 Petitjean to Rousseille, 26 January 1865, as quoted by Mamas, 1:479. For details of the event, see Petitjean to Girard, 18 March 1865, and Petitjean to his superiors in Paris, 22 March 1865, quoted in Mamas, La Religion de Jesus Ressuscitte au Japon, 1:487-490.

21 Otis Cary, A History of Christianity in Japan, Roman Catholic and Greek Orthodox Missions (New York, 1909), 306-329.

22 See C. Pemberton Hodgson, A Residence at Nagasaki and Hakodate in 1859-1860 (London, 1863), for his account of the time he spent in Nagasaki. The British consular records of the period are on microfilm in British Foreign Office, Japan Correspondence, 1856-1905, Sections I-III. Hereafter cited as BFOJC.

23 John Walsh to U.S. Secretary of State, 2 January 1860, and 1 February 1865, RUSCN.

24 "Obituary of Willie P. Mangum," New York Times, 1 April 1881, 5; Willie Mangum to Secretary of State, 10 October 1865, RUSCN.

25 For a detailed account of the case, see the documents listed as enclosures in a letter from Nagasaki Consul William Abercrombie to Secretary of State, 17 January 1894, RUSCN.

26 George Morrison to Rutherford Alcock, 27 September 1860, BFOJC; Van Hecken, The Catholic Church in Japan since 1859, 14.

27 Yamawaki Teijiro, Nagasaki no Oranda shokan (Tokyo, 1980), 195; Morrison to Rutherford Alcock, 27 September 1860, BFOJC.

28 George Morrison to British Foreign Office, 23 May 1863, BFOJC.

29 Kamura Kunio, ed., Nagasaki jiten: rekishihen (Nagasaki, 1982), 117-118, 123.

30 Ibid., 123-124.

31 Dr. Samuel Boyer, Naval Surgeon: Revolt in Japan, 1868-1869 (Bloomington, Ind., 1963), 102-103.

32 U.S. Vice Consul D. L. Moore to Nagasaki commissioner, 16 June 1867, Raikan [Official Correspondence], original handwritten correspondence between Western consulates and Japanese government officials in Nagasaki from 1860 to 1905. Contained in the local history section of the Nagasaki Prefectural Library. For an account of the deaths of Robert Foad and John Hutchings, see Lane Earns and Brian Burke-Gaffney, Across the Gulf of Time: The International Cemeteries of Nagasaki (Nagasaki, 1991), 24-25.

33 For a discussion of the various self-governing organizations in the foreign settlement, see Hishitani, Nagasaki gaikokujin kyoryuchi no kenkyu, 433-631.

34 For an account of the first Nagasaki Regatta in September 1861, see M. Paske-Smith, Western Barbarians in Japan and Formosa in Tokugawa Days, 1603-1868 (New York, 1968), 260-261.

35 The Nagasaki Press, 16 April 1870, 2.

36 Ibid., 7 May 1870, 3.

Lane Earns is associate professor of history at University of Wisconsin, Oshkosh.
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Author:Earns, Lane
Publication:The Historian
Date:Jun 22, 1995
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