Following Commodore Perry's "opening" of Japan in March 1854 to American shipping at the ports of Hakodate and Shimoda (Treaty of Kanagawa), Britain was quick to follow in the October of that year with Admiral Sterling obtaining a written agreement for British ships to call at Nagasaki and Hakodate. This was followed by agreements with other major powers, such Russia and Holland, subsequently ratified through various treaties - in Britain's case the Treaty of Yedo concluded by Lord Elgin in August 1858. The following year, Rutherford Alcock was appointed Consul General, although quickly upgraded to "Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary" when it was realized that status mattered in the land of the Tycoon.;With over 30 contributions, the volume is divided into four sections with special introductions by leading scholars in their field - 1859-1900 (Hugh Cortazzi), 1900-1945 (Ian Nish) and 1945-1972 (Peter Lowe), with the final part dedicated to "scholar diplomats and other outstanding diplomatic personalities and Japan" (J.E.Hoare), which includes Ernest Satow, W.G. Aston and George Sansom. In addition, there are various appendixes, including (in full) the Valedictory Despatches of Esler Dening and Oscar Morland, as well as biographical entries for all other senior diplomatic figures throughout the 112-year period.