These documents, descriptions and commentary encompass Japanese bilateral and international relations; and the work has been parsed into sections by country across 350 volumes. The text is organized chronologically within each sections.
This historical survey was compiled in 1853 by the shogunate's chief foreign relations advisor, Daigaku-no-kami Hayashi Akira (also known as Hayashi Fukusai). With the help of others, Akira was able to prepare volume which includes material from 1566 through 1825.
- 1853 (Kaei 6): Akira completed Tsūkō ichiran. The work was created under orders from the bakufu to compile and edit documents pertaining to East Asian trade and diplomacy; and, for example, it includes a detailed description of a Ryukyuan tribute embassy to the Qing Chinese court in Beijing.
The purpose of this project was to develop a policy guide based on two and a half centuries of diplomatic precedents. For example, Daiyūin tono ojikki (Chronicle of Shogun Iemitsu) by Narushima Motonao (1778-1862) is cited; and one referenced excerpt presents an arguably convincing analysis:
- 1846 (Shōhō 3, 10th month): " ... sending a [military] expedition from Japan [to China] would not be successful and not only would be humiliating for the Japanese but would insure a long-term enemy of a foreign land, and it would cause eternal harm. Even if Japanese troops were to win victories and gain terrain, it would be like rocky soil, of no advantage to the country, in fact inviting disasters in years to come."—attributed to Tokugawa Yoshinobu.
- Cullen, L. M. (2003). A History of Japan, 1582–1941: Internal and External Worlds, p. 174.
- Hokkaido University Library: catalog, book description 通航一覧 1-8 / 林復斎 (in Japanese); (in English).
- Cullen, pp. 163, 173–185.
- Smits, Gregory. (1999). Visions of Ryukyu: Identity and Ideology in Early-Modern Thought and Politics, p. 37.
- Masuda, Wataru. (2000). Japan and China: Mutual Representations in the Modern Era, p. 148.
- Cullen, Louis M. (2003). A History of Japan, 1582-1941: Internal and External Worlds. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0-521-82155-X, ISBN 978-0-521-82155-1 (cloth); ISBN 0-521-52918-2, ISBN 978-0-521-52918-1 (paper); OCLC [//www.worldcat.org/oclc/270689346 270689346]
- Smits, Gregory. (1999). Visions of Ryukyu: Identity and Ideology in Early-Modern Thought and Politics. Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press. ISBN 0-8248-2037-1
- Masuda, Wataru. (2000). Japan and China: Mutual Representations in the Modern Era. London: Routledge. ISBN 0-312-22840-6; ISBN 978-0-312-22840-8; OCLC [//www.worldcat.org/oclc/320837067 320837067]
- Toby, Ronald P. (1991). State and Diplomacy in Early Modern Japan: Asia in the Development of the Tokugawa Bakufu. Stanford: Stanford University Press. ISBN 0-8047-1951-9; ISBN 978-0-8047-1951-3
- Hokkaido University Library: catalog, book description 通航一覧 1-8 / 林復斎 (in Japanese); (in English)