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Portrait of Iwakura Tomomi seated in suit
Japanese statesman Iwakura Tomomi was the Second Prime Minister when General Grant visited Japan. As soon as Grant’s ship pulled into the diplomatic wharf at Yokohama, Japan, Mr. Iwakura and various other princes and ministers waited on shore to meet him. Mr. Iwakura had met General Grant before during his own diplomatic mission to the United States. In Japan, General Grant served as a diplomat rather than a traveler. He discussed public policy, foreign affairs and Sino-Japanese relations with Mr. Iwakura and other Japanese ministers. General Grant had recently met with Prince Kung and Viceroy Li Hung Chang of China and discussed the Sino-Japanese dispute over the Loochoo Islands. He had promised these Chinese officials that he would relay their thoughts to the Japanese Emperor and his staff. Though he had his own opinions, Grant admitted the affair required that he researched further into the history and affairs of the two nations before making suggestions. However, he stressed to the Emperor and his ministers that they shared a common enemy with the Chinese. Both China and Japan were equally vulnerable to European encroachment. As such, Grant felt it vital that Japan establish and maintain friendly relations with the Chinese. He warned of European intentions and predicted that if Japan and China were to go to war, the Europeans would most likely settle any dispute between the two Asiatic nations towards their own interests. Grant also advised the Emperor against becoming in debt to foreign countries. He applauded the Japanese advancement in education particularly in engineering. He predicted soon the Japanese would replace foreign teachers and officials with Japanese counterparts but warned such a process needed patience and time.
Ulysses Grant Dietz
notes on back in Japanese
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Mississippi State University Libraries (electronic version).
Ulysses S. Grant Presidential Library, Mississippi State University Libraries.
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