Harris Treaty

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The Treaty of Amity and Commerce Between the United States and the Empire of Japan, 1858

Signed at Yedo, July 29th, 1858. (19th day of 6th month, 5th year of Ansei). Ratifications exchanged at Washington, May 22nd, 1860. (3rd day of 4th month, 1st year of Manyen.)

The President of the United States of America and His Majesty the Tycoon of Japan, desiring to establish on firm and lasting foundations, the relations of peace and relationship now happily existing between the two countries, and to secure the best interest of the respective citizens and subjects, by encouraging, facilitating and regulation their industry and trade, have resolved to conclde a treaty of amity and commerce, for this purpose, and have therefore named as Their Plenipotentiaries, that is to say:

The President of the United States, His Excellency Townsend Harris, Consul-General; of the United States of America for the Empire of Japan, and His Majesty the Tycoon of Japan, Their Excellencies Ino-oo-ye, Prince of Sinano, and Iwasay, Prince of Higo, who, after, having communicated to each other, their respective full powers, and found them to be in good and due form, have agreed upon, and concluded the following articles:


There shall henceforth be perpetual peace and friendship between the United States of America and His Majesty the Tycoon of Japan and his successors...


In addition to the ports of Shimoda and Hakodate, the following ports and towns shall be opened on the dates respectively appended to them, that is to say: Kanagawa, on the 4th of July, 1859, Nagasaki, on the 4th of July, 1859; Niigata, on the 1st of January, 1860; Hyogo, on the 1st of January, 1863.

... Six months after the opening of Kanagawa, the port of Shimoda shall be closed as a place of residence and trade for American citizens. In all the foregoing ports and towns American citizens may permanently reside; they shall have the right to lease ground, and purchase the buildings thereon, and may erect dwellings and warehouses....

No wall, fence, or gate shall be erected by the Japanese around the place of residence of the Americans, or anything done which may prevent a free egress and ingress to the same.

From the 1st of January, 1862, Americans shall be allowed to reside in the City of Edo; and from the 1st of January, 1863, in the City of Osaka, for the purposes of trade only. In each of these two cities a suitable place within which they may hire houses, and the distance they may go, shall be arranged by the American Diplomatic Agent and the Government of Japan....

The Japanese Government will cause this clause to be made public in every part of the Empire as soon as the ratifications of this Treaty shall be exchanged. Munitions of war shall only be sold to the Japanese Government and foreigners....


Duties shall be paid to the Government of Japan on all goods landed in the country, and on all articles of Japanese production that are exported as cargo, according to the tariff hereunto appended. . . .

The importation of opium is prohibited; and, any American vessel coming to Japan for the purposes of trade having more than four pounds weight of opium on board, such surplus quantity shall be seized and destroyed by the Japanese authorities. All goods imported into Japan and which have paid the duty fixed by this Treaty, may be transported by the Japanese into any part of the empire without the payment of any tax, excise, or transit duty whatever.

No higher duties shall be paid by Americans on goods imported into Japan than are fixed by this Treaty, nor shall any higher duties be paid by Americans than are levied on the same description of goods if imported in Japanese vessels, or the vessels of any other nation.


Americans committing offenses against Japanese shall be tried in American Consular courts, and, when guilty, shall be punished according to American law. Japanese committing offenses against Americans shall be tried by the Japanese authorities and punished according to Japanese law. The Consular courts shall be open to Japanese creditors, to enable them to recover their just claims against American citizens; and the Japanese courts shall in like manner be open to American citizens for the recovery of their just claims against Japanese....


Americans in Japan shall be allowed the free exercise of their religion, and for this purpose shall have the right to erect suitable places of worship. No injury shall be done to such buildings, nor any insult be offered to the religious worship of the Americans. American citizens shall not injure any Japanese temple or shrine, or offer any insult or injury to Japanese religious ceremonies, or to the objects of their worship.

The Americans and Japanese shall not do anything that may be calculated to excite religious animosity. The Government of Japan has already abolished the practice of trampling on religious emblems.


The Japanese Government may purchase or construct in the United States ships- of-war, steamers, merchant ships, whale ships, cannon, munitions of war, and arms of all kinds, and any other things it may require. It shall have the right to engage in the United States scientific, naval and military men, artisans of all kind, and mariners to enter into its service. . . .


After the 4th of July, 1872, upon the desire of either the American or Japanese Governments, and on one year's notice given by either party, this Treaty, and such portions of the Treaty of Kanagawa as remain unrevoked by this Treaty, together with the regulations of trade hereunto annexed, or those that may be hereafter introduced, shall be subject to revision by Commissioner s appointed on both sides for this purpose, who will be empowered to decide and insert therein, such amendments as experience shall prove to be desirable.


This Treaty shall go into effect on the 4th of July, 1859 . . . This Treaty is executed in quadruplicate, each copy being written in English, Japanese, and Dutch languages, all the versions having the same meaning and intention, but the Dutch version shall be considered as being the original....