Iwakura Ambassadors' Mission
(1871-1873)

thing and diplomatic mission

Died aged c. 2

The Iwakura Mission or Iwakura Embassy (岩倉使節団, Iwakura Shisetsudan) was a Japanese diplomatic voyage to the United States and Europe conducted between 1871 and 1873 by leading statesmen and scholars of the Meiji period. Although it was not the only such mission, it is the most well-known and possibly most significant in terms of its impact on the modernization of Japan after a long period of isolation from the West. The mission was first proposed by the influential Dutch missionary and engineer Guido Verbeck, based to some degree on the model of the Grand Embassy of Peter I. The aim of the mission was threefold; to gain recognition for the newly reinstated imperial dynasty under the Emperor Meiji; to begin preliminary renegotiation of the unequal treaties with the dominant world powers; and to make a comprehensive study of modern industrial, political, military and educational systems and structures in the United States and Europe. The Iwakura mission followed several such missions previously sent by the Shogunate, such as the Japanese Embassy to the United States in 1860, the First Japanese Embassy to Europe in 1862, and the Second Japanese Embassy to Europe in 1863.

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Commemorated on 1 plaque

Brian Cooper on Flickr

This plaque commemorates the visit of the Iwakura Ambassadors' Mission from Japan, which was received by the Lord Mayor in the original Manchester Town Hall which stood on this site. The 40-member Japanese delegation came to Manchester and the North West to learn from its civic, industrial and commercial success. On leaving Manchester in October 1872 Ambassador Extraordinary & Plenipotentiary Iwakura stated: "We have found friendship at every turn and hope that you may one day visit Japan so that we may return your kindness and hospitality."

Lloyds Bank, Cheapside, Manchester, United Kingdom where it visited