"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 Satowfs photograph in
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, Japanfs 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.)
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): A[lXgETgEÌ¶U
Pub. Yushodo Shuppan, Tokyo, 2003
With Professor Robert Morton of Chuo University I have been transcribing, annotating and indexing Satowfs 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 Satowfs memory.
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 Satowh(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 Satowfs legacy to professional diplomacy by editing the sixth edition of Satowfs 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 Satowfs 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 Satowfs Correspondence in Japan 1895-1900 has been published in September 2011. Click on the front cover for more details.
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.
My latest Satow book (publication date September 1, 2009) is available in paperback here:
Click on the front cover!
The downloadable preview is here.
of this book: Sir Ernest Satowfs Private Letters to W.G. Aston and F.V. Dickins (published February 2008)
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 Satowfs 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 Satowfs personality including how he came to become a practising Anglican. Despite Satowfs deep interest in and knowledge of
Satowfs 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 Parkesf domineering manners, but in a letter to Dickins in 1893 Satow summed up his assessment of Parkes in the following favourable terms: eSir Harryfs 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
On treaty revision Satow writing from
There is much of value for scholars in these letters even if some is inevitably ephemeral and of limited relevance.h
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
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
Here is the front cover of the translation:
January 2003 my second book in English based on Satowfs
diaries appeared. It is available from Kinokuniya
It is published by Edition Synapse of
Here is the front cover of my first Satow book, published in 1998 by Edwin Mellen Press
first book – pictured above – is called The Diaries and Letters of Sir Ernest
Mason Satow (1843-1929), a Scholar-Diplomat in
Both books taken
together represent a widening and deepening of knowledge about Satowfs life and times over his well-known autobiographical
Diplomat in Japan, which only covers his time in
I gave a
lecture about Satow in
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
"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."
A. Who was Ernest Satow ?
B. Book details
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
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
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
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
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.
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
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.
selected, edited and@annotated by Ian C. Ruxton
The Edwin Mellen
Unit 17 Llambed Industrial Estate,
Lampeter, Ceredigion, Wales SA 48 8LT
Fax (Intl.): +44(
Or you could order from@an
Internet bookshop, such as Amazon or
(of Cambridge, UK) or Blackwells
(of Oxford, UK) by inputting "Satow"@in
the online search facility. (In
There are four copies of my book in the K.I.T. university library on Tobata campus. Search here.@