Sir Ernest Mason Satow P.C.,G.C.M.G.
(1843-1929)

(Japanese name: ƒA[ƒlƒXƒgEƒTƒgƒE)

"A great Englishman (even though his father was from Wismar and only naturalized as a British subject in 1846), a great European, a great scholar and a great friend of Japan, nay, of the whole of East Asia : in short, a GIANT, who in his lifetime - long before the era of easy global communications - succeeded in bridging the chasm between East and West."

This is from the frontispiece of B.M. Allen's 1933 memoir of Satow, published by Kegan Paul, Trench, Trubner & Co. A photo of the author of this web page with Sir Ernest Satowfs photograph in Shimonoseki is here.


 

Check my storefront for new publications. See also amazon.com , amazon.co.uk , amazon.co.jp and Kinokuniya BookWeb .


UPDATE (September 11, 2014)  Two new volumes of The Correspondence of Sir Ernest Satow, British Minister in Japan 1895-1900 have just been published: Volumes Three and Four. These are the final two volumes in this series. Volume 4 is letters from consular staff in Formosa, Japanfs new colony. Volume 3 includes letters from British diplomatic representatives elsewhere, colonial and India authorities, Royal Navy officers, Japanese government officials, foreign representatives in Tokyo and miscellaneous letters. Click on the covers for details. (Scroll down this page for Volume 1 – purple cover – and Volume 2 – dark blue cover.)

 

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UPDATE (February 3, 2014) The Japanese translation of my first book about Ernest Satow has now been published on Maruzen eBook Library, and I hope that the late Shozo Nagaoka of Kamakura who translated it with Prof. Sekiguchi Hideo would be happy about it too. It is actually more expensive than the original book, but I understand this is an institutional price for researchers at universities etc.


Book title (English): The Diaries and Letters of Sir Ernest Mason Satow (1843-1929)
Author: Ian Ruxton
Pub. Edwin Mellen Press, 1998
Book title (Japanese):
ƒA[ƒlƒXƒgEƒTƒgƒE‚̐¶ŠU
Pub. Yushodo Shuppan, Tokyo, 2003
https://elib.maruzen.co.jp/elib/html/BookDetail/Id/3000008284

 


Satow Diaries 1861-69 now published.

 

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Facebook album

 

With Professor Robert Morton of Chuo University I have been transcribing, annotating and indexing Satowfs diary for 1861-69. This is definitely a worthwhile exercise as it is quite different in many parts to A Diplomat in Japan (published 1921) which was based on these diaries and Satowfs memory.

 

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Here is Sir Ernest Satow as he appears in A Diplomat in Japan. He was knighted KCMG in 1895 and GCMG in 1902. The photo on the left was taken when he was on leave from Japan in Paris in December 1869, and the photo on the right was taken in London when Satow was on leave from Peking.


 

My presentation at the JAIR 2012 conference in Nagoya on 21 October 2012: gMeiji Japan through the Eyes of Ernest Satowh(downloadable pdf, about 10MB)

 

 


NEW!! (26 July 2012)

A Diplomat in Japan (free ebook download)

A Diplomat in Japan: A Clash of Cultures  (on YouTube)

 


Sir Ivor Roberts has updated Satowfs legacy to professional diplomacy by editing the sixth edition of Satowfs Guide to Diplomatic Practice. The first edition was written by Satow himself and published in 1917. This latest edition was published in 2009. Although it is inevitably much changed from the original, Sir Ivor begins his Preface thus: gSir Ernest Satowfs Guide to Diplomatic Practice although first published nearly a hundred years ago remains a masterpiece. The book he wrote in 1917 was no dry collection of facts and legal terms. It was suffused with illuminating, interesting, often whimsical, anecdotes, and wise counsel.h

 


Volume Two of Satowfs Correspondence in Japan 1895-1900 has been published in September 2011. Click on the front cover for more details.

 

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Satow diaries 1862-3 (pdf)


My new paperback book and e-book (pdf) has just appeared on amazon.com (April 9, 2010). It was first published in 2003 as a hardcover by Edition Synapse of Tokyo and apparently there are still a few hardcover copies left.

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FREE DOWNLOADABLE PREVIEW

KINDLE edition


My latest Satow book (publication date September 1, 2009) is available in paperback here:

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Click on the front cover!

The downloadable preview is here.


 

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Download the preview of this book: Sir Ernest Satowfs Private Letters to W.G. Aston and F.V. Dickins (published February 2008)

 

Review of this book by Sir Hugh Cortazzi on lulu.com (hyperlinks added by the creator of this web page):

 

gMore valuable information about nineteenth century Japanese scholars

Students of Japanese history in the nineteenth century have reason to be grateful to Ian Ruxton for the long and hard work which he has put into transcribing and publishing the diaries and letters of Sir Ernest Satow, an outstanding scholar diplomat. This is the latest in a series of books which Professor Ruxton has produced on the basis of the writings, mostly in long-hand, of Sir Ernest Satow which are kept in the National Archives.

These letters to Aston and Dickins, two other scholars of Japanese culture, cover a wide range of scholarly topics but also many aspects of contemporary Japanese life and politics. They contain some fascinating sidelights on personalities, including some of Satowfs colleagues in the Japan Consular Service, and on other scholars such as Basil Hall Chamberlain and the art collector William Anderson. The letters also give an insight to Satowfs personality including how he came to become a practising Anglican. Despite Satowfs deep interest in and knowledge of Japan, its language, history and culture his roots were in the west and he believed western culture to be superior to that of Japan. He thought, as he explained to Dickins in a letter in 1907 that Lafcadio Hearnfs style eperfect but his [subject] matter is unconvincingf, He was a realist rather than a sentimentalist in his relations with Japan. As a diplomat he had suffered too many frustrations in his dealings with Japanese officials.

Satowfs life as a subordinate to Sir Harry Parkes, the British Minister in Tokyo from 1865-83 was often difficult and he was often critical in his letters of Sir Harry, especially Parkesf domineering manners, but in a letter to Dickins in 1893 Satow summed up his assessment of Parkes in the following favourable terms: eSir Harryfs life was entirely occupied by his duties as British representative. There was hardly any other side to it. He lived in and for his work, and contributed more than any other foreigner to making the history of Japan during that period. Even when the Japanese were not apparently asking his advice, they were greatly influenced by his criticisms on their proceedings. His is the most commanding figure of that period. But to present him you must describe the events amid which he moved.f Parkes aroused the ire of Sir Edward Reed M.P. and of the American journalist Edward House who was paid from Japanese funds. Satow did not agree with many of their criticisms.

On treaty revision Satow writing from Montevideo (he had been appointed Minister to Uruguay) in 1889 thought that Britainfs ebest policy is to be consistent, and to continue to say gShow us first your codeshf [legal codes]. He was critical of the line taken by Brinkley [Captain Frank], and Palmer [Major General H.S. Palmer, the special correspondent of the Times at that time] who criticised British dilatoriness over Treaty revision. He described Brinkley as eInouye Kaoru in an English dressf. Satow thought that, the Germans having been willing to make concessions before the other powers, eBismarck had played us falsef.

There is much of value for scholars in these letters even if some is inevitably ephemeral and of limited relevance.h

 


 

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Published on April 1, 2007: The Semi-Official Letters of British Envoy Sir Ernest Satow from Japan and China (1895-1906)

 

Book Preview

 

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Published on April 1, 2006: The Diaries of Sir Ernest Satow,

British Envoy in Peking (1900-06) in two volumes (Volume One; Volume Two@812 pages total)@

[Previews: Volume One; Volume Two ]

 

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The Correspondence of Sir Ernest Satow, British Minister in Japan (1895-1900), Volume One

[ Preview ]

This book contains some of the voluminous work-related correspondence sent to Sir Ernest Satow while he was Her Britannic Majesty's Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary in Japan (1895-1900) from the Satow Papers held at The National Archives, Kew, London, published in full from handwritten originals for the use of scholars and researchers, with notes. Some of the letters are from superiors at the Foreign Office, but most are from subordinates: Tokyo legation staff and consuls and staff at Nagasaki, Kobe and Hakodate.  

NACSIS database entry@(English)

NACSIS database entry (Japanese)

This book has also been on sale in the physical (non-virtual) bookshop of the National Archives of the UK.

 


Go to my other book page. It is a translation which I have done about Japanese students at Cambridge in the Meiji era, 1868-1912.@It is available from amazon.com @


A Wikipedia entry has been made for Satow here. The Japanese entry is here.

The entertaining Kuaiwa Hen TWENTY-FIVE EXERCISES IN THE YEDO COLLOQUIAL, FOR THE USE OF STUDENTS, WITH NOTES. (a Japanese conversation text book written by Satow and published at Yokohama in 1873) is provided online here by Professor Hiroshi Kaneko of Soka University.


In August 2003 a Japanese translation of my first book (published in English by Edwin Mellen Press in 1998 – see the orange-coloured book cover below) about Sir Ernest Satow appeared. The translation was published by Yushodo Shuppan in Tokyo and is available from amazon.co.jp here. The poster prepared for the translation by Yushodo is here. Mr. Sadao Oba's review in Japanese appears by his kind permission as follows: page 1; page 2; page 3; page 4; page 5.

 

Here is the front cover of the translation:

 

 

In January 2003 my second book in English based on Satowfs diaries appeared. It is available from Kinokuniya online here. It is published by Edition Synapse of Tokyo. It is also available on amazon.co.jp. ISBN 4-901481-06-1.   Here is the poster:

Here is the front cover of my first Satow book, published in 1998 by Edwin Mellen Press

My first book – pictured above – is called The Diaries and Letters of Sir Ernest Mason Satow (1843-1929), a Scholar-Diplomat in East Asia. i511 pagesj. It is available from amazon.com here, and sometimes from amazon.co.jp here. This book is an attempt to introduce the whole life of Satow, whereas my second book above merely focuses on his five years as the top British diplomat in Tokyo at the end of the 19th century.

Both books taken together represent a widening and deepening of knowledge about Satowfs life and times over his well-known autobiographical A Diplomat in Japan, which only covers his time in Japan from 1862 to 1869.  Here is the front cover for the current paperback edition of A Diplomat in Japan:

 


 

I gave a lecture about Satow in Tokyo 1895-1900 to the Asiatic Society of Japan on March 18, 2002 which is reported on the ASJ website here. It was also a great privilege to lecture to the Society in the same year as Dr. Donald Keene.


The Japan Society was founded in 1891. In the Proceedings of the Society (No. 133, Summer 1999) a book review of my book, together with Toi Gake (Distant Cliffs) by N. Hagihara, is to be found on pp.75-76. The review was by Professor Ian Nish of the London School of Economics. He writes:

"Mr Ruxton's book might be described as a useful compendium or sourcebook or companion to Satow studies. He quotes Satow, the great letter-writer and diarist, at length for most of his life and includes assessments of his career by various experts. From these various sources he gives us a comprehensive picture of a man of many talents."

Of both books taken together Professor Nish concludes: "The works here reviewed contribute materially to earlier publications on Satow and add a human dimension to our understanding of him."

 


PAGE INDEX

A. Who was Ernest Satow ?

B. Book details


A. Who was Ernest Satow ?

Ernest Satow ("Satow" is pronounced to rhyme with the British pronunciation of "tomato") was a distinguished British scholar-diplomat, a fine linguist and a noted Japanologist in Meiji Japan. He was@President of the Asiatic Society of Japan from 1895 to 1900. At the same time@he was Britain's chief diplomat (known then as Minister) in@Japan. He is also well remembered as a  book collector. By the way, you can find a lot of Satows on the web ! And Lars Satow has put pictures of the village@called Satow in eastern Germany on the web here.

Here is Hugh Satow's page. Hugh is related to E.M. Satow, and has put part of the Family Chronicle of the English Satows and the family tree on the web. He has pointed out the mention of his great great uncle as H.M. Envoy to Morocco (1894-5) in this list. He also told me about this article@in which EMS is mentioned.

Ernest Satow was an undergraduate at University College London from1859 to 1861. The Ernest Satow Chair of Japanese Law was established there in 1989. UCL was also the institution where the Choshu Five (Ito Hirobumi, Inoue Kaoru, Yamao Yozo, Inoue Masaru and Endo Kinsuke) studied in 1863-4. They were to become national leaders in the new Japan, and later Satow knew them personally.

The Parkes Papers and many early Japanese books originally collected by Satow and his colleague W.G. Aston are at Cambridge University Library. Sir Harry Parkes was Satow's boss in Japan for almost twenty years.

In 1992 Antelope Films, the BBCand TV Asahi collaborated to make two programmes based on Ernest Satow's memoirs. The first was called "A Clash of Cultures" and@included the Namamugi Incident (Richardson Affair). The second was called "Witness to a Revolution". I sometimes teach classes with this video.

The Law School@in the University of Kent at Canterbury has a course in the law of diplomacy which uses a book originally written by Satow (subsequently revised).

A very brief mention in Fowler's The King's English, 1908. "The man who cleaned the slate in@the manner which Sir E. Satow has done both in Morocco and Japan might surely rank as a reflective diplomatist."-- Spectator.

Here are the results of an online telnet search of the Library of Congress for books written by Satow.

Satow's original diaries are in the Public Record Office (UK) and a copy is in the Yokohama Archives of History (Japan). Another version is kept on microfilm in the Diet Library in Tokyo.

Here is an (unfinished) outline of Satow's life.

From July 29 to October 25, 1998 an exhibition entitled "A-nesuto Satou sono jidai to shougai" (The Life and Times of Ernest Satow) was held at the Yokohama Archives of@History. The exhibition poster is here.


B. Book details

My book (ISBN 0-7734-8248-2) is now availableF

The Diaries and Letters of@Sir Ernest Mason Satow

(1843-1929)

A Scholar-Diplomat in East@Asia

selected, edited and@annotated by Ian C. Ruxton

published by

The@Edwin@Mellen@Press

of 415 Ridge Street, Lewiston, New York, USA@and Lampeter, Wales.

For further details (eg. outline of@contents, price, order form etc.) please look here and here,or contact:

The Edwin Mellen PressLtd.,
Unit 17 Llambed Industrial Estate,
Lampeter, Ceredigion, Wales SA 48 8LT
United Kingdom

Tel (Intl.):@+44(UK)-1570-423356
Fax (Intl.): +44(UK)-1570-423775
(Within the UK, dial 0 first instead of@the country code 44.)

Order by e-mail: emp@mellen.demon.co.uk (UK); cs@wzrd.com (USA)

Or you could order from@an Internet bookshop, such as Amazon or Heffers (of Cambridge, UK) or Blackwells (of Oxford, UK) by inputting "Satow"@in the online search facility. (In Japan it is available from Kinokuniya. Input "Satow" or the ISBN here.)

There are four copies of my book in the K.I.T. university library on Tobata campus. Search here.@


Note: these pages are always@under construction.
Kindly inform me of any additions or subtractions I should make,@and errors or omissions I have already made :-)