First Japanese Embassy to Europe (1862)
The First Japanese Embassy to Europe (Japanese:第１回遣欧使節, also 開市開港延期交渉使節団) was sent to Europe by the Tokugawa shogunate in 1862. The head of the mission was Takenouchi Yasunori, governor of Shimotsuke Province (present-day Tochigi Prefecture). The head of the mission staff was Shibata Takenaka Sadataro. Fukuzawa Yukichi was a member of the mission, acting as one of the two translators. The mission numbered 40 men. Despite the name, it is more accurately the third Japanese embassy to Europe, being preceded by the Tensho Embassy (1582–1590) and the expedition led by Hasekura Tsunenaga between 1613 and 1620.
The mission was sent in order to learn about Western civilization, ratify treaties, and delay the opening of cities and harbours to foreign trade. Negotiations were held in France, the UK, the Netherlands, Prussia, Russia and finally Portugal. They were gone for almost an entire year.
The members of the mission were extensively photographed by Nadar.
The mission was concluded by the London Protocol, signed on 6 June 1862, which recognized that Japan needed time to "overcome the opposition now existing" (meaning the anti-foreign sentiment shared by the population and the Imperial Court), and accepted the postponement of the opening of Osaka, Hyogo, Edo and Niigata by five years, to 1 January 1868.
Although unknown by Japanese officials at that time, Hasekura Tsunenaga had preceded them by more than 200 years as the first official Japanese envoy to Europe.
- Japanese Embassy to the United States (1860)
- Second Japanese Embassy to Europe (1863)
- Iwakura mission
- France–Japan relations (19th century)
- French Policy in Japan by Medzini, p.35-37
- Shin Jinbutsu Ōrai-sha, eds.: Ikokujin no Mita Bakumatsu–Meiji Japan, Aizō-ban (異国人の見た幕末・明治JAPAN 愛蔵版: Bakumatsu and Meiji Japan in the Eyes of Foreigners, Enthusiasts’ Edition). Tokyo, 2005. ISBN 4-404-03252-8 (ISBN ), ISBN 978-4-404-03252-2 (ISBN ) (Japanese)
- Medzini, Meron French Policy in Japan Harvard University Press 1971, ISBN 0-674-32230-4
- First Embassy to Europe (Japanese)