Gaikoku bugyō (外国奉行) were the commissioners or "magistrates of foreign affairs" appointed at the end of the Edo era by the Tokugawa shogunate to oversee trade and diplomatic relations with foreign countries. In essence this was the beginning of the creation of a Ministry of Foreign Affairs after Japan's long period of isolationist policy.
The Gaikoku bugyō system began just prior to the negotiations which resulted in the Harris Treaty. First appointed in August 1858, the gaikoku-bugyō were shogunate officials who were charged with advising the government on foreign affairs and who were tasked with conducting negotiations with foreign diplomats both in Japan and abroad. This was a high-ranking office, in status roughly equivalent to that of kanjō-bugyō, or expressed differently, the status of this office ranked slightly below that of daimyo. The number of gaikoku bugyō varied, from five in 1858 to a maximum of 13, with wide variations in the numbers of officials who were appointed across the span of years.
The office was often held concurrently with that of kanjō-bugyō or the office was held concurrently by those serving the shogunate as governor of one of the great ports (Nagasaki bugyō or Kanagawa bugyō).
The genesis of the gaikoku-bugyō pre-dates the actual creation of the office.
The prefix kaibō-gakari meaning "in charge of maritime defense" was used with the titles of some shogunate officials after 1845. This term was used to designate those who bore a special responsibility for overseeing coastal waters, and by implication, for dealing with matters involving foreigners—for example, kaibō-gakari-ōmetsuke which later came to be superseded by the term gaikoku-gakari.
Rōjū Hotta Masayoshi formed an ad hoc committee of shogunate officials with special knowledge of foreign affairs, and he himself headed this working group. In November 1856, he appointed the members and charged them to come up with recommendations about the terms for opening Japanese ports. The results of their deliberations would become the basis for negotiations which ultimately resulted in the Harris Treaty (the Treaty of Amity and Commerce between Japan and the United States).
List of gaikoku bugyō
The numbers of gaikoku bugyō varied throughout the Edo period:
- Iwase Tadanari (1858).
- Tsutsui Masanori (1858).
- Inoue Kiyonao (1858–1859, 1862–1863, 1864).
- Nagai Naoyuki (1858–1859, 1865–1867).
- Mizuno Tadanori (1858–1859, 1861–1862).
- Hori Toshihiro (1858–1860)
- Watanabe Takatsuna (1859)
- Matsudaira Yasuhide (1859–1860, 1861–1863)
- Takemoto Masao (1859–1862, 1863–1864).
- Sakai Tadayuki (1859–1860)
- Mizoguchi Naokiyo (1859–1860)
- Shinmi Masaoki (1859–1862)
- Matsudaira Yasunao (1860, 1861–1863).
- Oguri Tadamasa (1860–1861).
- Takeuchi Yasunori (1861–1864).
- Okubo Ichio (1861–1862).
- Abe Masatō (1862–1863).
- Kawaji Toshiaki (1863).
- Ikeda Nagaaki (1863–1864).
- Kawazu Sukekuni (1863–1864).
- Shibata Takenaka (1863–1868).
- Sasaki Akinori (1864)
- Tsuchiya Masanao (1864)
- Kinoshita Toshiyoshi (1865–1866)
- Kurimoto Joun (1865–1866, 1866–1867).
- Yamaguchi Naoki (1865–1866, 1867)
- Asagara Masahiro (1865–1867)
- Gōhara Isaburo (1866)
- Hirayama Seisei (1866–1868).
- Narushima Ryūhoku (1866).
- Koide Hidezane (1866–1867)
- Tsukahara Masayoshi (1866–1867)
- Mukōyama Ippaku (1866–1868)
- Ishikawa Toshimasa (1867–1868)
- Hiraoka Jun (1867–1868)
- Narishima Hiroshi (1868)
- Cullin, L.M. (2003). A History of Japan, 1582–1941, p. 185.
- Nussbaum, Louis-Frédéric. (2005). "Gaikoku bugyō" in Japan Encyclopedia, p. 229, p. 229, at Google Books; n.b., Louis-Frédéric is pseudonym of Louis-Frédéric Nussbaum, see Deutsche Nationalbibliothek Authority File.
- Beasley, W.G. (1955). Select Documents on Japanese Foreign Policy, 1853–1868, p. 322.
- Beasley, p. 323.
- Beasley, p. 333.
- Beasley, p. 26.
- Beasley, p. 338.
- Beasley, p. 337.
- Beasley, p. 340.
- Beasley, p. 336.
- National Diet Library: Okubo Ichio, image
- Beasley, p. 331.
- Beasley, p. 334.
- National Diet Library: Kurimoto Joun, image; Beasley, p. 335.
- Sawada, Janine Anderson. (2004). Practical Pursuits: Religion, Politics and Personal Cultivation in Nineteenth Century Japan, p. 194.
- National Diet Library: Narushima Ryuhoku, image
- Beasley, W.G. (1955). Select Documents on Japanese Foreign Policy, 1853-1868. London: Oxford University Press; reprinted by RoutledgeCurzon, London, 2001. ISBN 978-0-19-713508-2
- Cullen, L.M. (2003). A History of Japan, 1582–1941: Internal and External Worlds. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0-521-82155-X (cloth) ISBN 0-521-52918-2 (paper)
- Doi, Ryozo. (1997). Bakumatsu gonin no gaikoku bugyo: Kaikoku o jitsugensaseta bushi. Tokyo: Chuokoron-shinsha. ISBN 978-4-12-002707-9
- Nussbaum, Louis-Frédéric and Käthe Roth. (2005). Japan encyclopedia. Cambridge: Harvard University Press. ISBN 978-0-674-01753-5; OCLC 58053128
- Sawada, Janine Anderson. (2004). Practical Pursuits: Religion, Politics and Personal Cultivation in Nineteenth Century Japan. Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press. ISBN 978-0-8248-2752-6 (cloth)