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Treaty of Shimoda

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  • Signed: 1854/12/21[1]
  • Ratified: 1856/11/10 (Dec 7)

The 1855 Treaty of Shimoda, also known as the Russo-Japanese Treaty of Peace and Amity, signed between the Tokugawa shogunate and Russia was the first of a number of agreements seeking to define geographical borders between the two countries' territories.

The treaty was signed at Chôraku-ji in Shimoda, with Yevfimy Vasilyevich Putyatin and Moriyama Einosuke signing the Dutch-language version of the document, Iosif Antonovich Goshkevich and Koga Kin'ichirô signing the Chinese-language version, and Tsutsui Masanori and Kawaji Toshiakira signing the Japanese-language version. The Japanese were not given a copy of the Russian-language version of the document, but it was the Dutch which the Russians said would serve as the basis for resolving any future disputes.

Patterned after the Convention of Kanagawa and the Anglo-Japanese Convention of 1854, the Russo-Japanese Convention contained many of the same provisions. It established for the ports of Hakodate, Shimoda, and Nagasaki to be open for Russian ships to receive supplies and repairs, and for Russian ships to be unwelcome at any other ports except in cases of emergency. As Putyatin mistakenly believed that the Americans and British had already been granted trade concessions and permission to station a consul, this treaty also contained provisions for those two matters, allowing Russians to trade money and goods at Shimoda and Hakodate (but not at Nagasaki), and for a consul to be appointed to one of those two ports at such time as the Russian government found it "indispensable." Finally, most favored nation status was extended to Russia.

The official border between the two countries was established as lying between the Japanese-held island of Iturup (Etorofu) and the Russian-held island of Urup, with the shogunate also assuming direct administration of most of Ezo proper (the island of Hokkaidô) in order to more solidly claim the territory and repel Russian incursions; the Kuril Islands were officially given to Russia, but the status of Sakhalin was left undetermined. This Treaty represents the first establishment of "modern" political borders for Japan, and is the only one of the Bakumatsu period so-called "Unequal Treaties" which was "equal" in its treatment of extraterritoriality, extending that privilege not only to Russians in Japan, but also to Japanese in Russian territory.

References

  • Mitani Hiroshi, David Noble (trans.), Escape from Impasse, International House of Japan (2006), 247-250, 292.
  1. This date is equivalent to Feb 7, 1855 on the Gregorian calendar used by most Western countries, and Jan 26 on the Julian calendar used by Russia until 1918.
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