- スラヴ研究 (ISSN:05626579)
- vol.68, pp.45-70, 2021-09-08
In 1875, soon after the sealing of the St. Petersburg Treaty stipulating the exchange of Sakhalin and the Kurill Islands, Japan and Russia agreed on a land lease of Inasa Village in Nagasaki to the Russian navy. This was a juridical confirmation of the Russian Squadron’s long-standing practice of using this locality as its winter base, which would remain intact until the outbreak of the Russo-Japanese War in 1904. In fact, this agreement brought about stability of the bilateral relationship, serving as a prerequisite for Japan to embark on its subsequent Korean policy. This article attempts to contextualize this particular land lease in the increasingly entangled relationship between Japan and Russia. Nagasaki’s importance as a resort for the Russian navy increased, with its failure to obtain Tsushima as a strategic base under pressure from the British in 1861 and with its pivotal port moving from Nikolaevsk-on-Amur to Vladivostok in 1871. Against this backdrop in 1870 the Russians succeeded in renting a piece of land Hiradogoya for ten years by directly negotiating with the landowners and the Nagasaki administration. Two years later, when Grand Duke Alexei Alexandrovich visited Japan, he found it inconvenient to maintain a naval hospital and dock in Hiradogoya. This led one of his attendants, vice admiral of the navy Constantin Possiet, to propose to the Japanese government the Maruoyama foothills as an alternative for the Russian navy base. The Japanese government in turn rejected this proposal for two reasons. First, the Japanese navy was afraid that the occupation of this strategically important location by the Russian navy would raise security concerns. Second, the increase of places of mixed residence outside the fixed enclaves could threaten Japanese sovereignty. Undaunted, K. V. Struve, the Russian minister in Japan, tried to renegotiate in 1874, arguing that the lease of Maruoyama would have a positive effect on Russo-Japanese relations. However, the Japanese navy was a staunch opponent to this deal; it even purchased the disputed land for an admiralty house in haste so as to forge a fait accompli. Ultimately, the Japanese government was forced to propose an alternative land lease in Inasa in exchange for the old one in the same locality. In 1875, after Struve’s on-the-spot inspection of the proposed site along the coast of Nagasaki Bay, the Russian navy and a local landowner Shiga reached an agreement. The timing was crucial: this was right after the sealing of the St. Petersburg Treaty. While the establishment of a navy base in Inasa in the following year caused anxiety among the Japanese and the British, the Russians began to make efforts to maintain their friendship with Japan in order to keep this base. Together with the Maria Luz case in 1875, where the tsar worked as an arbitrator of the dispute between Japan and Peru, this Inasa controversy was a significant opportunity buttressing an improving bilateral relationship under the St. Petersburg Treaty. While the Russian Squadron’s utilization of Nagasaki as its winter base since the end of the Edo era had been possible thanks to the relatively good relationship between the two countries, the foundation of the Russian squadron’s berth in Inasa immediately following the St. Petersburg Treaty only reinforced the cemented friendship. Renewed in 1886, the land lease in Inasa continued to function until the Russo-Japanese War. Despite some negative reactions particularly from the British, the Meiji government’s recognition of the Russian navy base in Inasa alongside the St. Petersburg Treaty was an important factor in maintaining Russia as Japan’s ally and thereby allowing Japan’s strategic leeway in East Asia.