National Archives of JAPAN

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Sovereign's letter

In the 4th year of Meiji (1871), Iwakura Tomomi, Kido Takayoshi, Ito Hirobumi, and other leaders of the new Meiji government departed from Yokohama for an inspection tour of certain Western countries that lasted for about a year and 10 months. The main objectives of the trip were to present credentials to the countries with which Japan had concluded treaties, pursue preliminary negotiations for revision of those treaties, and learn about institutional and cultural arrangements at the destinations. In the United States of America, which was the first country it reached, the group (known as the Iwakura Mission) decided to forego the initial policy of preliminary talks and to enter right into negotiations for treaty revision. To formally obtain permission for this change and a commission of full powers, Okubo Toshimichi and Ito temporarily returned to Japan. After receiving the commission to negotiate the treaty revision on 14 May 1872, they came back to the United States.Kobun Fuzoku no Zu (Picutures and charts affiliated with Kobun Roku ) containing this illustration were designated as National Important Cultural Properties of Japan in the 10th year of Heisei(1998) together with "Kobunroku".(Compiled Records of the Grand Council of State)