British Consulate, Kanagawa (1860)
British Consulate, Kanagawa
Located in the "Tosenjee Temple, Sinagawa"

~~ Niphon and Pe-Che-Li;
or, Two Years in Japan and Northern China
by Edward Barrington de Fonblanque

Fonblanque, Edward Barrington de:
Niphon and Pe-Che-Li; or, Two Years in Japan and Northern China, London, Saunders, Otley and Co., printed by Woodfall and Kinder, 1863, 2nd Edition, 8vo (5 3/4 x 8 1/2 in - 14.6 x 21.7 cm), blue blindstamped cloth, gilt emblem on front board, gilt decoration and lettering on spine, edges gilt, 12 plates (8 color, 1 tinted map, 3 black and white), 6 text illustrations, 287 pp. Fonblanque was a member of a British diplomatic mission to Japan and China in 1860-1861. The book is evenly divided between both countries. However, all the illustrations relate to Japan.

Fonblanque spent over 10 months in Japan and in his words "...the nature of my duties brought me in contact with men of all ranks and conditions from Cabinet Ministers and governors of provinces to horse-dealers." The account is presented chronologically and often with extracts from his journal. Fonblanque's residence in Japan was during a very turbulent period as factions within the country were rising up in violent opposition to the presence of Westerners and the Western powers were responding through military and diplomatic actions. The book provides an informative and lively view of life in Japan from the perspective of a visiting Westerner. It is an important supplement to the numerous Western historical discussions of Japan at this time which, while informative, tend to be rather bland.

Fonblanque provides first hand accounts of the British Legation under Sir Rutherford Alcock, the murder of Alcock's steward (Dan), a meeting with the Foreign Minister in the palace at Yedo, the murder of two Dutch ship captains in Yokohama, a meeting with George Smith, the Bishop of Victoria, who was then touring Japan, the murder of the Prince Regent and an assent of Mount Fuji (Fusi-jama) with Alcock. In addition to these major events, Fonblanque provides insight into many facets of Japanese life and commerce from the perspective of a Western visitor. This includes a visit to a "Gankeroo" (a brothel), horse trading activities, visits to temples and buying curios and artifacts.

While there is no table of contents, each page has a heading that captures the essence of the discussion on that page. Many of the headings are listed below.

12 Plates in This Book (8 chromolithographs (color) - including the frontispiece, 3 black and white lithographs (2 fold out) and 1 tinted lithograph fold out map).

Listing of Plates (in order presented in the book:

  1. Island of Pappenberg (frontispiece, chromolithograph)
  2. Outline of a Map of Japan (tinted lithograph, 2 folds out).
  3. Mountain of Fusi-Jama (b&w lithograph, 2 folds out)
  4. British Consulate, Kanagawa (chromolithograph),
  5. facsimile of Japanese woodblocks, no title, lady top right, man bottom left (chromolithograph)
  6. Temple of Quanon from a Japanese Engraving in Copper (b&w lithograph)
  7. Gods of Fusi-Jama (b&w lithograph, 2 folds out)
  8. Outside Sowonada (chromolithograph)
  9. Inside Sowonada (chromolithograph)
  10. Sowonada Sea (chromolithograph)
  11. Street in Yedo by Night (chromolithograph)
  12. facsimile of Japanese woodblock, no title, lady in kimono serving a meal (chromolithograph)

Variations in Reported Plates. The book does not contain a listing of illustrations. I have noted a significant variance in descriptions of this book (2nd edition) in dealer listings. I have seen the "Street in Yedo by Night" plate described as the frontispiece. That book was described as having "original blindstamped red cloth." In this book the frontispiece is "Island of Pappenberg" and this book has original blindstamped blue cloth. I have also seen the book described as having a black and white foldout plate titled "Japanese Play Bill." Such a plate is not found in this book. Generally the book is described as having between 5~7 color plates (including the frontispiece & tinted map) and 4~9 black and white plates. Perhaps there were different imprints of the 2nd edition which contained different plates. It appears the first edition contained 10 color plates (including the tinted map). Perhaps those were exhausted during the printing of the 2nd edition and black and white plates were submitted.

Title Page

Illustrations (12)

  1. Island of Pappenberg (chromolithograph)

  2. Outline of a Map of Japan (tinted lithograph, 2 folds out, facing page 1)

  3. Mountain of Fusi-Jama (b&w lithograph, 2 folds out facing page 11)

  4. British Consulate, Kanagawa (chromolithograph, facing page 17)

  5. (Facsimile of Japanese Woodblocks- chromolithograph, no title,
    lady top right, man bottom left, faces page 81)

  6. Temple of Quanon from a Japanese Engraving in Copper
    (b&w lithograph, facing page 116)

  7. Gods of Fusi-Jama (b&w lithograph, 2 folds out, facing page 145)

  8. Outside Sowonada (chromolithograph, facing page 166)

  9. Inside Sowonada (chromolithograph, facing page 167)

  10. Sowonada Sea (chromolithograph, facing page 172)

  11. Street in Yedo by Night (Facsimile of Japanese woodblock)
    (chromolithograph, facing page 209)

  12. (Facsimile of Japanese woodblock, lady in kimono
    serving a meal) (chromolithograph, facing page 256)

Text Illustrations (6)

  1. Pack-Horses
    (b&w woodcut engraving, on page 62)

  2. Visit to Fusi-Jama
    (b&w woodcut engraving, on page 149)

  3. Headquarter Staff Encamped at Fusi-Jama
    (b&w woodcut engraving, on page 151)

  4. The Storming of Fusi-Jama
    (b&w woodcut engraving, on page 152)

  5. Descent of Fusi-Jama
    (b&w woodcut engraving, on page 156)

  6. Our Pilot
    (b&w woodcut engraving, on page 170)

Page Headings (not all - representative listing)

    Niphon (Japan, Jan 1860 through Oct 1860, 10 months, pages 1-179)
  • Miseries of the Overland Route
  • Hong Kong
  • No Authentic Accout of Japan
  • Gallant Conduct of Commodore Tatnall
  • (10 Jan 1860, arrived in Japan - Kanagawa Bay)
  • Grotesque Official Costume
  • Kavasaki
  • Sinagawa
  • The British Minister's Residence
  • Yedo
  • Miseries of Royalty in Japan
  • The Tycoon
  • Interview with the Foreign Minister (Alcock present)
  • The Interpreter (Muri-Yama - served regarding Perry & Elgin missions)
  • Japanese Ware
  • Japanese Money
  • Temple of Dycee (Kavasaki)
  • Yokuhama
  • The 'Gankeroo' (visit to a brothel)
  • English and Japanese Officials compared
  • Administration of Justice
  • Unpopularity of Foreigners
  • Custom at Graves
  • Amusements
  • Murder of Mr. Alcock's Steward (Jan 30, 1860)
  • Accident or Murder (murder of two Dutch ship captains in Yokohama, late Feb 1860)
  • Mr. Euskin (Secretary to Townsend Harris, assassinated a few months later)
  • Unenviable Life at the Legation
  • Funeral of the Dutchmen (Feb 29, 1860)
  • Mr. Harris's Estimate of Japan
  • The Tycoon's Hunting Lodge (Ojee)
  • Murder of the Prince Regent
  • The 'Hari Kari'
  • Osakusa (Apr 20, 1860)
  • Temple of Quanon
  • (Meeting with Biship George Smith, Bishop of Victoria, May 31, 1860)
  • Henpecked Husbands
  • Chastity of Wives (not required according to author)
  • Manufacture of Mermaids
  • Pilgrimages (to Mt Fuji, Sep 3, 1860, Harris, Eusden, S. Gower)
  • Difficulties of the Ascent
  • Departure from Japan (via Nagasaki and the great inland sea, Oct 22, 1860)
  • The Sowonada Seas (Oct 24, 1860)
  • Higo
  • Hirado
  • Nagasaki (departed for China, Oct 28, 1860
  • Pe-Che-Li (China, Nov 1860 through Dec 1861, pages 180-282)

  • Solidity of English Soldiers
  • Suffering of Bengalese
  • Force for North of China
  • Tientsin
  • Sacking of the Summer Palace
  • Dr. Lamprey's Hospital
  • French Funeral Ceremonies (Jan 18, 1861)
  • French Fraternization with the Chinese
  • Military Detachment to Pekin
  • Ho-si-wo
  • Pekin
  • Russian Cemetery
  • The Tien-tsin Garrison
  • Commodore Sundewall (commader of the Prussian Squadron)
  • The Miau-tow Islands
  • Ning Hai
  • 'Temple of Horrors'
  • Hall of Confucius
  • Native Account of the Peiho Disaster
  • Captain Harcourt's Journey to Cheefoo
  • Death of Hien Fung (Aug 22, 1861)
  • Imperial Manifesto on the 'Sacred One'
  • Escape of European Wives
  • The Emperor's Flight from Pekin
  • Coup d'etat at Pekin
  • Execution of Su-shun
  • Strange Equestrian Experiences
  • Homeward-bound
  • Appendix I. Vegetation in districts enroute to Fuji, John Veitch (pages 283-6)
  • Appendix II. The route to Fuji (from Yedo, 123 English miles, page 287)

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