Skip to Main Content
Have library access? Log in through your library
Opening a Window to the West

Opening a Window to the West: The Foreign Concession at Kobe, Japan, 1868-1899

Copyright Date: 2014
Pages: 264
  • Cite this Item
  • Book Info
    Opening a Window to the West
    Book Description:

    The first book-length study of Kōbe's Foreign Concession,Opening a Window to the Westsituates Kōbe within the larger pattern of globalization occurring throughout East Asia in the nineteenth century.

    eISBN: 978-1-4426-6421-0
    Subjects: History, Geography

Table of Contents

Export Selected Citations Export to NoodleTools Export to RefWorks Export to EasyBib Export a RIS file (For EndNote, ProCite, Reference Manager, Zotero, Mendeley...) Export a Text file (For BibTex)
  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. List of Illustrations
    (pp. ix-x)
  4. Abbreviations
    (pp. xi-xii)
  5. [Maps]
    (pp. xiii-xiv)
  6. Preface
    (pp. xv-xx)
  7. Acknowledgments
    (pp. xxi-2)
  8. Chapter One Setting the Stage: The Role of Ports in the Encounter between East and West in Japan
    (pp. 3-21)

    Along the coasts of South and East Asia are a number of ports with long-established connections to east Africa, the Persian Gulf, and the eastern Mediterranean.¹ For example, Mombasa in what is now Kenya has a trading history going back to the twelfth century, and Kochi (also spelled Chochi) in what is now the Indian state of Kerala attracted Jewish resident traders as early as 352 BC, as well as Muslim merchants in the eighth century, and was a regular port of call in the spice trade from the fourteenth century onwards. The Chinese had penetrated the Indian Ocean by...

  9. Chapter Two The Creation of Kōbe’s Foreign Concession
    (pp. 22-41)

    In 1865 the old port city of Hiōgo was a well-established trading centre. Situated near the eastern end of the Inland Sea, it was close to both Kyōto, the imperial city, and Ōsaka, the second largest city in Japan and the country’s principal industrial centre. Hiōgo was situated on a broad, sweeping bay and had a deepwater harbour that offered a measure of shelter, protected as it was by the steeply rising Rokkō Mountains on the north and west and by the Shikoku and Awaji Islands. In Japanese medieval times, Hiōgo had been an important trading centre with links to...

  10. Chapter Three Establishing Municipal Government and Services in the Concession
    (pp. 42-66)

    The agreement for establishing the treaty port at Hiōgo anticipated that the settlement would be governed at the municipal level by a council. By 1868, those taking up residence in Japanese ports expected this sort of provision. However, the experience of other earlier settlements was that these governance arrangements left a great deal to be desired. Contemporary English-language newspaper editors generally agreed that Shanghai’s municipal administrative arrangement worked reasonably well within the British settlement. By contrast, Yokohama, the most important treaty port in Japan, and the one closest to Hiōgo, was anything but a model to be emulated. The settlement...

  11. Chapter Four Forging an Economy: The Basis for Mercantile Trade
    (pp. 67-87)

    To understand the economic motives of the foreigners who developed communities in ports like Kōbe, it is essential to examine the broader context of their presence there. Japan’s long, self-imposed seclusion from the rest of the world, which began about 1635, and which was broken only by the arrival of Perry’s Black Ships in 1853, had stifled Japan’s participation in international trade. While Japan had developed a highly complex intra-regional trading and supply system during this period of isolation, its truncated involvement with its trading neighbours meant that Japanese mercantile firms were ill-prepared to engage the external trading world when...

  12. Chapter Five Finding a Mercantile Staple for Kōbe: The Tea and Silk Trades
    (pp. 88-110)

    The first merchants to locate in Kōbe were concerned with establishing a toehold in the port in order to sell various Western goods to the Japanese. These goods included used munitions and ships, which the Japanese had shown a disposition to purchase with specie. Only later did it become essential to find local domestic products to sustain trade. In the older treaty port of Yokohama, the two items that had emerged to fill this need were tea and silk, and Kōbe’s early merchants recognized that these products could, for them, become important and perhaps sustaining export staples. Many merchants commenced...

  13. Chapter Six The Morphology of the Settlement and the Development of a Pleasing Townscape
    (pp. 111-145)

    All treaty ports required infrastructure, including – crucially – port installations, but also including landward transportation systems for moving goods and people to and from their increasingly modernizing hinterlands. Who was responsible for these investments, and how did foreign communities shape these developments? In exploring these issues for Kōbe, it will also be important to track that settlement’s form as it evolved, including developments immediately proximate to the Concession, such as in the Native Town and on “the Hill,” where many in the foreign community lived and worked. Much of this exploration will focus on the architectural character of the settlement – that...

  14. Chapter Seven Life at the End of the World: Forming an Expatriate Society in Kōbe
    (pp. 146-170)

    The initial population of the Foreign Settlement at Hiōgo consisted of the foreigners who poured into Hiōgo in 1868 in anticipation of the commercial opportunities the port was expected to afford. It is difficult to place a number on this original population, for many of these people undoubtedly would have been there as part of the Western powers’ apparatus for securing the location through a military presence. Nor is it easy to determine with precision the population numbers thereafter, owing to the multi-national governance of the treaty ports, which meant there was neither a requirement nor a single agency to...

  15. Chapter Eight Measuring Success in the Concession
    (pp. 171-186)

    For all the bravado and self-important assumptions and affirmations of those who formed the trading culture at Kōbe, and for all the accolades accorded to the Concession as an ordered and well-run multicultural outpost of the Euro-American world, just what was life really like there before the treaties ended in 1899? Were those who occupied this curiously artificial place exemplars of modernity, or were they unwilling performers in a pastiche of the Victorian world? Were they a kind of zoological garden whose actions and behaviour were selectively read and absorbed by their Japanese hosts?

    What was day-to-day life like for...

  16. Glossary
    (pp. 187-188)
  17. Explanatory Notes
    (pp. 189-190)
  18. Notes
    (pp. 191-214)
  19. Bibliography
    (pp. 215-228)
  20. Index
    (pp. 229-238)
  21. Back Matter
    (pp. 239-239)