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History Japan

Opening a Window to the West

The Foreign Concession at Kobe, Japan, 1868-1899

by (author) Peter Ennals

University of Toronto Press, Scholarly Publishing Division
Initial publish date
Jan 2014
Japan, General, Geography
  • Hardback

    Publish Date
    Jan 2014
    List Price
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Dec 2013
    List Price
  • eBook

    Publish Date
    Dec 2013
    List Price

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After more than two centuries of self-seclusion, Japan finally opened itself to Western traders and influences in the 1850s. However, Westerners were restricted to a handful of Foreign Concessions set adjacent to selected Japanese cities, where they could fashion a working urban space suited to their own cultural patterns, and which provided the Japanese with a microscopic lens on Western ways of behaviour and commerce. Kobe was one of these treaty ports, and its Foreign Concession, along with that at Yokohama, became the most vibrant and successful of these settlements.

The first book-length study of Kobe’s Foreign Concession, Opening a Window to the West situates Kobe within the larger pattern of globalization occurring throughout East Asia in the nineteenth century. Detailing the form and evolution of the settlement, its social and economic composition, and its specific mercantile trading features, this vivid micro-study illuminates the making of Kobe during these critical decades of growth and development.

About the author

Peter Ennals is a professor emeritus of Geography and Environment at Mount Allison University. He is co-author of Homeplace: The Making of the Canadian Dwelling Over Three Centuries, and has contributed to the Historical Atlas of Canada and the Dictionary of Canadian Biography.

Peter Ennals' profile page

Editorial Reviews

‘Ennals has written a wonderful history of the Foreign Settlement at Kobe, which appears especially strong in its analysis of spatial developments and patterns of architecture.’

Pacific Affairs; June 2015