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Opening legations: Japan’s first resident minister and the diplomatic corps in Europe

Cobbing, Andrew



This analysis shows how Japanese legations, first established in Europe during the 1870s, were not just symbolic gestures but played a key role in the Meiji government’s quest for international recognition. The concept of resident ambassador was unfamiliar beyond the European world, so the transition from sending visiting envoys to establishing permanent missions was a pivotal stage. Here a comparative framework gauges the importance of Japan’s new strategy within the context of similar experiments by states such as the Ottoman Empire, Persia, and subsequently China and Siam. The case of Sameshima Naonobu, Japan’s first resident minister in Europe, highlights the cultural barriers the Japanese faced. Assisted by Frederick Marshall, an Englishman at the Japanese Legation in Paris, Sameshima’s research on the mysteries encoded in this particular social universe offers some insight on the nature of the diplomatic corps in Europe.


Cobbing, A. (2017). Opening legations: Japan’s first resident minister and the diplomatic corps in Europe. Diplomacy and Statecraft, 28(2), 195-214.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Feb 23, 2017
Online Publication Date Jun 20, 2017
Publication Date 2017
Deposit Date Mar 16, 2017
Publicly Available Date Dec 21, 2018
Journal Diplomacy & Statecraft
Electronic ISSN 0959-2296
Publisher Routledge
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 28
Issue 2
Pages 195-214
Public URL
Publisher URL
Additional Information This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Diplomacy & Statecraft on 1st of June 2017, available online:[Article DOI]


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