Memorial for the Japanese Shogun



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The 1853 arrival in Edo Bay of Commodore Mathew Perry caused a crisis for the Tokugawa government. As they had done for over 200 hundred years, daimyo around Japan looked to the Shogun for guidance on how to react to Western demands for treaties. In an unprecedented move, the Shogun instead requested the opinions of various daimyo and his advisors. Prominent figures and intellectuals around the country responded with memorials offering their impressions of the Westerners and their advice on how to respond to requests for trade. The Shogun’s response to this advice would determine the fate of the country as well as that of his military government.

Materials (included in attached file):

Ii Naosuke, “Memorial on the American Demand for a Treaty”
Tokugawa Nariaki, “Memorial on the American Demand for a Treaty”
Hotta Masayoshi, “Memorial on the Harris Proposal”
Yoshida Shoin, “Testimony of a Madman”
Yokoi Shonan, “Proposal for Reforming Japan”

You are a daimyo in Japan in the 1850s and have received a request from the Shogun for advice on how to react to Perry’s arrival and requests for trade. After reading the above materials from your fellow daimyo and public intellectuals, craft your own memorial to send the Shogun. As you make your own case, indicate your agreement or disagreement with your colleagues, providing quotations of their positions, and citing them by name.