Shimoda, Treaty of
(1855)
   An agreement marking the opening of official diplomatic relations between the Russian Empire and Japan. The treaty was sought by Russia for two principal reasons: the Russian Empire was territorially overextended, stretching into Central Asia, Siberia, Alaska, and Northern California; and Russia was simultaneously troubled by competition from the United States for entry into Japan, symbolized in the visit of Commodore Matthew Perry and the Treaty of Kanagawa in1854. Russia sought an Asian partner in trade for the development of its far-flung territories, as well as a wedge against American and British influence over Japan. The Shimoda treaty opened the ports of Hakodate, Nagasaki, and Shimoda to Russian commerce. It also defined the border between the two countries, rather inconclusively, through the Kuril Islands and determined joint influence over the island of Sakhalin, which the two divided in 1858.
   See also <>; <>; <>; <>.
   FURTHER READING:
    Kim, Key-Hiuk. The Last Phase of the East Asian World Order: Korea, Japan and the Chinese Empire, 1860–1882. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1980;
    Stephan, John J. The Russian Far East: A History. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 1994.
   CARL CAVANAGH HODGE

Encyclopedia of the Age of Imperialism, 1800–1914. 2014.

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