Yokohama Archives of History

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Yokohama Archives of History

The Yokohama Archives of History (横浜開港資料館 Yokohama Kaikō Shiryōkan?) in Naka ward, central Yokohama near Yamashita Park is a repository for many precious archive materials on Japan and the foreign connection with Japan since the arrival of Commodore Matthew Perry in 1853. The archives are next to Kaiko Hiroba (Port Opening Square) where Commodore Perry landed to sign the Convention of Kanagawa.[1]

The archives are housed in a newly built annex to the former British Consulate building. The British Consulate building, which replaced the former consulate building destroyed in the 1923 Great Kanto Earthquake, was completed in 1931 and used as a consulate until 1972. The ground floor of the former consulate building is open to the public and there is a small exhibition room which is free. There are plaques in the consulate commemorating consulate employees who died in the Great Kanto Earthquake as well as British sailors who died during the British Bombardment of Kagoshima in 1863. The British Court for Japan, under the British Supreme Court for China and Japan sat in the consulate compound from 1879 to 1900. Prior to that the British Provincial Court for Kanagawa sat in the compound from 1865 to 1878.[2]

The Archives include a museum which tells the story of Japan and Yokohama's opening to the West from the arrival of Commodore Perry and his black ships.[3]

The reading room downstairs has historic Japanese and English newspapers and books. Materials housed include many of the papers of Ernest Satow, foreign and Japanese newspapers of the Meiji period etc., including, the Japan Daily Herald, the Japan Weekly Mail and Japan Punch. Many of the old newspapers have been copied onto new paper making them very easy to handle. These copies can be accessed directly from the shelves and can be photocopied. There are also collections of various diplomatic papers relating to Japan's foreign relations. A select number of books on Japanese history published by the archives are also available for purchase.


  1. ^
  2. ^ R Chang, The Justice of the Western Consular Courts in Nineteenth Century Japan
  3. ^ Official Home Page of Yokohama Archives

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Coordinates: 35°26′51″N 139°38′38″E / 35.44750°N 139.64389°E / 35.44750; 139.64389