Global History of Diplomacy

Activity Report

24 FEB 2022 English online-presentation seminar

We invited Asuka Takeuchi, President of Alba Edu, to join as an instructor at a seminar we held on giving presentations in English. Mizuho Yamamoto, a student of the Matsukata seminar, and Fuyuko Matsukata presented their papers as samples.


(Participant’s note)
We invited Asuka Takeuchi, President of Alba Edu, to join as an instructor, and we learned how to give presentations in English, including tips to speak clearly and how to structure the details. Regarding the PowerPoint presentations made as examples by Mizuho Yamamoto and Fuyuko Matsukata, the instructor pointed out what was good about them and what needed to be improved in a specific manner. The seminar provided participants with a precious opportunity to learn about the important points to be noted when creating a presentation draft and when reading out the manuscript. I found it was essential to state what you want to emphasize at the beginning of the presentation, thereby getting the audience’s attention. Participants proactively exchanged opinions in the Q&A session, and the topics discussed included the educational environment in Japan, where presentation skills are not greatly valued. Due to the pandemic, however, more schools are holding their classes online, leading to an increase in the frequency of on-demand classes held by using PowerPoint. I would like to use what I learned in the seminar to make presentations at academic meetings and also in my daily learning activities.

(Written by Hiroshi Kawaguchi)

(Organizer’s note)
The workshop was planned to last for one and a half hours, but it actually stretched to two and a half hours due to the proactive discussions we had. A major topic was the importance of making what you want to communicate to others truly understood, which is truly important in this age and goes beyond English presentation skills.

(Fuyuko Matsukata)

26 DEC 2021 Fourth workshop at Yokohama National University, which was held as detailed below:

(First half)
Fuyuko Matsukata: Early history of kanzei (customs duties) and ryōji (consuls)—Looking into the global history of diplomacy through the journals of the heads of the Dutch trading posts in Japan
(Second half)
Seiya Yoshioka: Review of the book written by Naoko Iwasaki on the recognition of the world in the latter half of the early modern period and national isolation


The face-to-face (also online) workshop was held for the first time in about two years since the launch of the joint research, and was the first face-to-face meeting after the full start of the research project. Fuyuko Matsukata, representing the research group, made the following comments in the first half of the event: “Regarding 1) jōyaku (treaties), 2) kanzei (customs duty), and 3) ryōji (consuls), which are the concepts to be examined in the joint research project, I would like to introduce the early history and research history mainly in my field of specialization and review ideas about unequal treaties featured by the loss of tariff autonomy and consular jurisdiction to make recommendations with regard to the global history of diplomacy.”
It requires a great deal of labor to review diplomatic issues to be freed from the prevailing views and take a new approach. First of all, it is necessary to reach a consensus among researchers in the joint research team, who specialize in different fields and have different concepts and ideas about early history. What we can achieve through online discussions to this end is limited, and I hope that the pandemic will end soon so that we can have more opportunities to have discussions in person.
In the latter half of the workshop, participants jointly reviewed the book written by Naoko Iwasaki on the recognition of the world in the latter half of the early modern period and national separation (published by Yoshikawa Kobunkan in 2021). First, Yoshioka made a presentation on his review of the book, and according to him, the author described the background for the policy decisions made by the Shogunate from the viewpoint of changes in its recognition of the world and demonstrated how the Shogunate created the diplomatic document delivered to Adam Laxman. Yoshioka praised the book for these points. On the other hand, he raised questions about the meaning of the diplomatic document and national isolation. In the discussion held following the presentation by Yoshioka, other participants also raised questions including the following: “Although it is true that the book was written based on careful research, are the concepts shown in the book truly aligned with the situation of that time?” Also, it was pointed out that the book was written from the viewpoint of Western history, without giving consideration to Confucian ideas.

(Written by Kanako Kimura)

24-25 JUL 2021 Third workshop held online as detailed below:

(Part 1) Diplomacy in non-state regions with a focus on the North American continent
Coordinator: Takako Morinaga
Explanation about the purpose of the workshop: Azusa Matsumoto

Yoshitaka Iwasaki (Konan Women’s University): Indigenous people’s sovereignty in the United States—Consideration of criminal jurisdiction in the Indian Country
Haruhiko Tamiya (National Fisheries University): Fishing industry in the nation-building period and an attempt to control fishermen—Whaling industry in its initial period and private whaling ships
Takeo Mori (Fukuoka University): Between alliance and vassalage—Massachusetts in the latter half of the 18th century—Nature of diplomatic relations with the indigenous people in British North America


(Participant’s note about Part 1)
We invited researchers of American history and held an online workshop on diplomacy in non-state regions with a focus on the North American continent. First, Azusa Matsumoto made the following explanation about the purpose of the workshop: In the event, for the understanding of diplomatic relations between nations and non-state regions in pre-modern periods, the focus would be placed on North America, which had been sometimes compared with Ezochi (Ainu lands to the north of Japan). Then, Yoshitaka Iwasaki pointed out the following fact: In the first half of the 19th century, indigenous people in North America had sovereignty but were subordinate to the United States of America due to treaties imposing restrictions on their sovereignty. Then the federal and state governments infringed upon the criminal jurisdiction of the autonomous governments of indigenous people. According to Tamiya, whaling was encouraged to boost nationalism during the founding era of the United States, but people who engaged in whaling were regarded as a kind of lowly people. Tamiya pointed out the need to consider the positioning of whaling from the perspective of the economic vision of the time. According to Mori, in the diplomatic relations between the indigenous people (Abenaki) and the government in Massachusetts, the treaty of that time forced the former to be subordinate to the latter, but the relationships later changed to be an alliance between friends, although the relations were unstable and mutual distrust continued to exist.
Mori pointed out the differences between the British diplomatic theories and the actual situation and mutual recognition between the parties, which were rather similar to diplomatic situations in Asia. According to the comments made by Iwasaki at the Q&A session, indigenous people living in North America in the 19th century had enough understanding of the details of the treaties. Iwasaki said that for the people, sovereignty meant to the right not to have their land invaded, and his comments were quite enlightening for the understanding of what sovereignty means. In the Q&A session with Tamiya, the following fact was shared: people engaged in whaling were onboard smuggler ships and also onboard smuggling monitoring ships. Also, participants talked about North America-Guangdong-Nagasaki trading, and for me the mobility of the frontier society and the global aspects of the age were quite impressive.
The workshop provided me with an opportunity to learn about treaties and the meaning of sovereignty in the early modern period as well as its historical background.

(Written by Hiroshi Kawaguchi)

(Part 2) Treaties and consuls from the perspective of history of Western legal system (part 2)
Fuyuko Matsukata: Explanation of the purpose of the workshop

Taku Minagawa (Yamanashi University): Inter-state arbitration in Europe in the early modern period—Background for the finding of a method to link a range of sovereign rights
Norifumi Daito: Formation of diplomatic relationships—Creation of agreements and other documents by the Dutch East India Company

Yasunori Kasai, Yoshihide Higa, Emi Matsumoto and Miyohe Muto also participated in the event as observers.


(Participant’s note: Part 2)
Minagawa reported on inter-state arbitration in Europe in the early modern period. Arbitration is a means to solve issues without fighting in fields where law enforcement systems are not applied. He explained how an arbitration process is conducted and functioned for which subjects against what kind of legal/institutional background. He introduced multiple types of arbitration, including the case of Bohemia-Bayern conflict over the national border.
In the Q&A session, participants discussed the positioning of Roman laws and church laws, how arbitration was related to treaties, and how to interpret sovereignty.

Taking an approach that was different from the conventional one, Daito conducted research into the diplomatic measures that had been taken by the Dutch East India Company in Asia. He paid attention to the local negotiations made by the Company to get letters patents from local political leaders in Asia. Daito then referred to the importance of examining how contracts had been created and the collections of written contracts had been made locally as a precondition to understanding the local situation in which diplomatic relations had been formed beyond the framework of the concepts of international law or jus gentium.
In the Q&A session, the Dutch East India Company was compared with the British East India Company, and differences between letters patents (“octrooi”) and written contracts (“contracten”) as well as differences in responses caused by cultural differences were examined.

(Written by Yuta Kikuchi)

(Organizer’s note)
The two-day event was quite exciting as a diverse range of researchers participated. I would like to thank Professor Iwasaki, Associate Professor Tamiya, Professor Mori, Professor Minagawa, Daito, Matumoto, who made preparations to explain the purpose of the workshop, and also Muto, Professor Kasai, Professor Emi Matsumoto and Yoshihide Higa, who participated in the event as observers.
We held the event on the theme of diplomacy in non-state regions. Adam Clulow, on page 220 of The Company and the Shogun: The Dutch Encounter with Tokugawa Japan (New York: Columbia University Press, 2014), pointed out that diplomacy like that based on Sinocentrism was not fit for stateless spaces. We started discussions by doubting this opinion of the author, because there were multiple non-state regions in East Asia, such as Ezochi, Taiwan, and Okinawa before the unification of the three kingdoms. Further, the settlements of Jurchen tribes before Nurhaci had unified them, and these regions had diplomatic relations with surrounding areas. Before the completion of this research project, we would like to be able to explain the global history of diplomacy without using the “non-state region” as a concept.
I am still in the process of learning the “Treaties and consuls from the perspective of history of Western legal system (part 2).” According to the records made by diplomatic missions sent by the Netherlands to various places in Europe in the 17th to 18th century, many of the missions were dispatched for the purpose of arbitration. Thanks to the Minagawa report, we were able to understand the background of the age. Daito reported about the translation of Corpus Diplomaticum (collection of basic historical materials on the diplomacy of the Dutch East India Company), and we expect further development of this great demonstrative research.

(Fuyuko Matsukata)

22 MAY 2021 Workshop on diplomacy and treaties in the expansion of Europe into Asia

We held the workshop jointly with Waseda University’s Institute for Russian and Easteuropean Studies and the KAKENHI basic research on ethnicity and distribution (network viewed from the perspective of economy in modern Eurasia, representative: Takako Morinaga)

Norifumi Daito: From silk to sugar—The Dutch East India Company and its diplomacy and commerce
Akifumi Shioya: Russian advance into Central Asia and the Russo-Khivan treaty in 1843
Comments by Takako Morinaga and Yutaka Horii

16 MAY 2021 Oral report by Fuyuko Matsukata at the Asian Universities Alliance (AUA) “The Asian Melting Pot: History through a Multicultural Perspective” conference

The AUA’s online workshop was slated to be held on February 20 to 21 by Chulalongkorn University in Thailand, but was postponed to May 15 and 16 due to the Myanmar coup situation.
At the final session, Fuyuko Matsukata made an oral report on the theme, “Consuls in Asia: How a Chief of Foreign Residents Became a Diplomat” and also participated in the wrap-up session held subsequently.
The conference became the first AUA conference in which it addressed a theme in the field of the humanities. It is expected that the Alliance will continue to hold such meetings going forward.

17 FEB 2021 English online-presentation Seminar

Inviting Ms. Asuka Takeuchi, President of Alba Edu, as an instructor, we held a seminar on giving presentations in English where the research members and the students of the Matsukata seminar participated. Daito and Matsukata presented their papers as samples. In the seminar we did voice training and learnt many things including how to use intonations when reading English, what we should have in mind when giving a presentation online or how to make slides. We believe that learning how to give a presentation in English, as a form of study, would open up our possibilities in the future. In the Q&A section at the end of the seminar, the students and research members asked many proactive questions which made them look very assured.



25-26 DEC 2020 2nd Workshop (online); line-up as follows

(Session 1) “Treaties and Consuls from the perspective of history of Western legal system (part 1)”
Fuyuko Matsukata “The purpose of the workshop”
Norifumi Daito “The basis of Roman law”
Emi Matsumoto “Consular courts and Commercial courts - issues around consular courts”


Assistant Prof. Yoshihide Higa (Anglo-Indian law of the 18th and 19th century)
Prof. Yasunori Kasai (Western classical literature)
Prof. Masayuki Tamaruya (Common law, Trust Business Act)
Ms. Xichen Yang (Oriental history)

(Participant’s note: Session 1)
On day 1 we had an online workshop with the project members and professors of History of the legal system on the topic of “Treaties and Consuls from the perspective of the history of Western legal system”.
Firstly, Mr. Daito, one of the project members summarised in his presentation, “The basis of Roman law”, how Roman law which was originally established as a law in Rome was generalized (made academic), adopted in various regions, in various forms, and finally systematized as Civil law.
Then in the following report “Consular courts and Commercial courts - issues around consular courts”, Prof. Emi Matsumoto who specialises in the history of the French legal system mentioned a particular French Commercial court which was institutionalised in the mid 16th century and continues to this day. Matsumoto raised the question, regarding the fact that the name of this commercial court, “Consular Court”, is the same as consular court and whether these courts can be seen as 2 separate institutions. She also suggested connections between the two in the process of formation and development.

As I am a researcher of Italian history, I was familiar with the words and terms used in this workshop which focused on the Western aspects. On the other hand, I keenly realized that the same terms are recognized differently depending not only on the region but also on the field.
Furthermore, it was an extremely interesting discovery for me to find a slight discrepancy in the meaning and substance of some words, for instance “Consul”, in context of German history and French history.
On the other hand, making a list of empirical studies and pointing out the differences are not enough. We started to see an important task that we need a superordinate concept that prove them in order to move the project forward. More than anything, it was a great opportunity for me to find something new even in the things I should have learned before because it gave me a chance to think deeply about the sets of terms like Roman law and Canon law, Private law and Public law, or Commercial Code and Constitution.
I would like to thank Prof. Matsumoto, and Prof. Kasai, Prof. Tamaruya and Prof. Higa who participated in the discussion.

(Written by: Akiko Harada)

(Session 2) Reading session; “Latest research of history of Internal Relations in early modern Japan”
Yamato Tsuji: “Book review: Research of the Local society in Pre-modern Ezo Chapter 1 by Akihisa Tanimoto”
Hironari Kido: Ryukyu’s history of territorial sea (volume 1) Trade, Pirates, Courtesy by Fusaaki Maehira
Azusa Matsumoto: Ryukyu’s history of territorial sea (volume 1) Trade, Pirates, Courtesy by Fusaaki Maehira

(Ms. Yang has been participating since day 1)

(Participant’s note: Session 2)
We held a reading session online on Research of the Local society in Pre-modern Ezo
(Akihisa Tanimoto /Yamakawa Shuppansha Ltd. /2020) and Ryukyu’s history of territorial sea (volume 1) Trade, Pirates, Courtesy (Fusaaki Maehira /Yoju Shorin /2020).

Mr. Yamato Tsuji who reviewed Tanimoto’s work pointed out the possibility that Ainu people formed multi-tiered groups that did not necessarily take the shape of “nations”, on Tanimoto’s theory of Ainu not forming “nations”.
Regarding the aspect that Russians advancing to the South encouraged the Edo shogunate regime (Bakufu) to recognize the concept of boundaries thus changing their attitudes regarding the handling of Ainus, he gave us similar examples of China’s Qing dynasty-Russia relations.
In the first debate, the question raised was which of those under the Tributary system were considered as “nations” by the Ming and Qing dynasties in that era.

Maehira’s work was reviewed by Ms. Azusa Matsumoto and Mr. Hironari Kido. They presented various issues such as an issue with the term “Ryukyu’s history of territorial Sea”, the evaluation of Ryukyu’s economic independence, and the role of trading in the process of establishing the Ryukyu Kingdom.
Both reviewers paid attention to how Ryukyu applied the laws of the shogunate regime and feudal domains “foreign nations (regions)”, I felt that it could be significant to discuss the course of change in shogunate and Satsuma domain’s vague attitude towards Ryukyu (to degrade the issuer of laws for Ryukyu) after signing agreements with Western Powers.

In the overall debate, there were many discussions about the relationship between “tribute” and “trade”, relations to current politics when talking about the history of minorities, contradictions between linguistic perspectives and historical perspectives to define ethnic groups, and so on.
This was a productive session with many points to learn and think about. I personally regret having focused only on my specialization field, pre-modern Japanese history.

(Written by: Seiya Yoshioka)

22 AUG 2020 Online joint reviewing session of “Choko・Kaikin・Goshi –Trade and order in pre-modern east Asia” by Shigeki Iwai (The University of Nagoya Press /2020) with Research Center for Modern and Contemporary China of the Institute for Research in Humanities, Kyoto University.
(Choko: Tribute/Kaikin: Policy to ban private international trades/Goshi: Trade)

It was a great success with 87 participants. Half of the researchers specialized in the history of the Ming and Qing dynasties, the other half being made up of those specializing in Contemporary Chinese history and Japanese history. Among the research members, Norifumi Daito, Yu Hashimoto, Hiroshi Kawaguchi, Kanako Kimura, Fuyuko Matsukata, Takako Morinaga and Takashi Okamoto participated in the session. We thank Mr. Mamoru Murakami for his hospitality.The reports were lined up as follows:

Takashi Jochi: “Short review of Choko・Kaikin・Goshi
Yu Hashimoto: “Attempt to read it from the perspective of Japan-Ming relation (Japan side)”
Fuyuko Matsukata: “From the standpoint of ‘creating global history of diplomacy’”

Mr. Hashimoto’s presentation was very profound and he examined the facts in detail.
In my presentation (Matsukata’s) I commented freely on the great work of such an authority, and even received the following comment “I got many unexpected inspirations, thank you” which made me relieved and grateful.

(Written by: Fuyuko Matsukata)

24-25 JUL 2020 We held our 1st workshop (online). Lineup as follows

Fuyuko Matsukata: “Recreation of global history of diplomacy”
Akifumi Shioya: “Russian empire’s diplomacy towards Asia in the first half of 19th century”
Seiya Yoshioka: “Practice of “Treaties” in opened ports”
Norifumi Daito: “Diplomacy of Dutch East India Company found in Agreement with Safavid dynasty”
Takashi Okamoto: “Global history and diplomacy”
Yuta Kikuchi: “System and diplomacy of medieval~modern Hanseatic League: House of Trade, City and Consul System.”
Azusa Matsumoto: “Movement for trade and restrictions on movement in Ezo”

Hao Peng:“Form of self-defense in Nagasaki’s Chinese community in pre-modern era”
Akiko Harada:“Communities of people from same origin in pre-modern Rome”
Yamato Tsuji:“Black markets and tax in the late Joseon era”
Kanako Kimura:“How to picture “Diplomacy” in pre-modern East Asia”
Hiroshi Kawaguchi:“Existing diplomatic documents from 17th century Ayutthaya”
Takako Morinaga:“Russian Empire’s “Boundary” and Distribution – Change from In-land Nation to International Trade Nation”
Yutaka Horii:“Treaty Norms in the Medieval and Early Modern Islamic Levant”
Hironari Kido:“The Initiative of Ryukyu”

This introduction/workshop was our 1st gathering but was unfortunately held online. I felt reassured by the passionate presentations given in such a limited time. We could find some common ground across the regions. I am excited for the progress of the research.

(Written by: Fuyuko Matsukata)


松方 冬子(まつかた ふゆこ) 東京大学 史料編纂所 教授 博士 (文学) Professor,the University of Tokyo Ph.D.(the University of Tokyo, 2008)