The Protestant Missions — June 20, 2011 at 12:43 am

Japanese interior opens up in 1899!

by

Inoue Tetsujiro

Christian work was in various ways affected by the ratification, in 1894 and 1895, of new treaties between Japan and Western nations. As has been previously noted, the Japanese had long desired to be relieved from extra-territoriality and from other restrictions imposed by the older treaties, and the reluctance of some nations to grant any concessions had caused much ill-will towards foreigners. Japan was now received as an equal, and this did much to foster good feeling. Missionaries were directly affected by the provision that, when the treaties should come into full effect in 1899, aliens would be allowed to travel or to reside in the interior. It will be remembered that hitherto only those foreigners that were in the employ of Japanese could live outside of the open ports; and this fed many missionaries to become teachers and to submit to various annoying regulations.
For travel it had been necessary to obtain passports from the central Government. Hence, missionaries could not quickly respond to calls to visit places in the interior. It had been necessary in application for these passports to specify the exact route to be taken, and at times the Government refused to give those that were valid for more than a fortnight. Immediately after the new treaties were ratified, the Government began to grant permissions, good for one year, to travel in any part of the country. The missionaries rejoiced in this new freedom and there was much more touring in country districts than had before been possible.

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