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Japanese Travelers at the Golden Gate: How Japan’s First Foreign Mission Changed the Course of History

February 28, 2020 @ 1:30 pm


160 years ago the ship Kanrin Maru carrying Japan’s very first formal foreign diplomatic mission landed in San Francisco. Following the establishment of the US legation in Yokohama just months earlier, and the setting up of Japan’s Consulate General in San Francisco just a decade later, the Kanrin Maru mission kicked off an intense and complex relationship that remains to this day one of the world closest and most important partnerships. You will not want to miss this unique opportunity to hear from top academics and experts the story of those early days of US-Japan diplomacy, the historical role that San Francisco played in it, and the rapid expansion of Japanese immigration in the Bay Area that ran in parallel to it, followed by a very special talk on the current state of the relationship today by acting US Ambassador to Japan.
So please come to the University of San Francisco and help us celebrate the 160th anniversary of the Kanrin Maru mission and the 150th anniversary of the establishment of the Consulate General, while learning about the little-known role that San Francisco played in the origins of the US-Japan relationship.


Friday, February 28, 2020

1:30 – 2:00: Registration
2:00 – 2:05: Welcome to USF by Prof. M. Antoni J. Ucerler & Mr. Akiyama introduces Consul General Maeda
2:05 – 2:10: Remarks by Consul General Maeda
2:10: Mr. Akiyama introduces Prof. M. Antoni J. Ucerler.
2:10 – 2:25: Prof. M. Antoni J. Ucerler: “Setting the Scene” & Introduces Panelists
2:25 – 2:50: Prof. Ito Shinya, Matsuyama University
2:50 – 3:10: Prof. Bettina Gramlich-Oka, Sophia University
3:10 – 3:30: Ken Reiman, U.S. Department of State
3:30 – 3:50: Coffee Break
3:50 – 4:10: Q&A with Speakers moderated by Prof. Ucerler
4:10: Mr. Larry Greenwood introduces Mr. Joseph Young, Chargé d’Affaires, U.S. Embassy, Tokyo
4:10 – 4:45: Fireside chat with Mr. Joseph Young, Chargé d’Affaires, U.S. Embassy, Tokyo
4:50 – 5:30: Reception in the Del Santo Reading Room (including an “open house” at the Ricci Institute — inside the Del Santo Reading Room

University of San Francisco
The Ricci Institute
2800 Turk Blvd
Handley Room, Lone Mountain 100
San Francisco, CA

Public transportation: USF is centrally located in San Francisco with various public transportation options. The subway system, Bay Area Rapid Transit (or BART for short) covers most of the Bay Area, providing quick access to the East Bay, the Peninsula, the airport, and other important destinations. The closest BART stop to USF is Civic Center. The MUNI routes closest to USF include the #5 Fulton, #38 Geary, #31 Balboa, and #43 Masonic. Specific directions around San Francisco and the Bay Area using public transit are easy to find, using tools like Google Maps and 511 SF Bay. For more information about public transportation, visit the USF website.

1:30-2:00 pm – Registration
2:00-5:30 pm – Program



Joseph Young
Chargé d’Affaires | U.S. Embassy, Tokyo

Joseph M. Young became Chargé d’Affaires ad interim, U.S. Embassy Tokyo, on July 20, 2019. Mr. Young, a career member of the U.S. Senior Foreign Service, previously served as Deputy Chief of Mission at Embassy Tokyo from 2017 to 2019. From 2014 to 2017, he served as the Director for Japanese Affairs at the Department of State. From 2012 to 2014, Mr. Young was Deputy Foreign Policy Advisor for the U.S. Pacific Command. He also served as Political-Military Unit Chief at U.S. Embassy Tokyo from 2009 to 2012.

Mr. Young’s other assignments include: Political-Economic Section Chief, U.S. Embassy Dublin (2004-2007); Aviation Negotiations Officer in the State Department’s Economics Bureau (2002-2004); Economics Affairs Officer, U.S. Embassy Beijing (1999-2002); Economics Researcher at the Foreign Service Institute (1996-1997); Political Affairs Officer, U.S. Embassy Nairobi (1994-1996); and Consular Affairs Officer, U.S. Embassy Singapore (1991-1993).

Mr. Young holds a master’s degree in Foreign Service from Georgetown University and a bachelor’s degree in Classics from Borromeo College. He speaks Japanese and Chinese. Mr. Young is married and has three daughters.



Shinya Ito
Associate Professor | Faculty of Law, Matsuyama University

Shinya Ito is Associate Professor of Japanese Political History in the Faculty of Law at Matsuyama University. He holds a bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree in Political Studies from Waseda University. He had been a part-time researcher on International law in the Research and Legislative Reference Bureau of National Diet Library from 1995 to 1999. His recent research focuses on foreign recognition of Japanese Intellectuals in the first half of the 20th Century. Among the foreign historical individuals he has recognized are Ariga Nagao (1860-1921), Katsuji Inahara (1880-1946), Gyokujo Hanzawa (1887-1953), Minoru Maita (1878-1948). In this symposium, he will give us a brief overview of Minoru Maita, who resided in San Francisco for 11 years (1896-1907) and earned his bachelor of law degree at the University of Oregon (1901).



Bettina Gramlich-Oka
Professor | Faculty of Liberal Arts Sophia University

Bettina Gramlich-Oka is Professor of Japanese History at the Faculty of Liberal Arts, Sophia University. She earned her Ph.D. in Japanese history from Tübingen University (Germany). Her research concerns the history of the Tokugawa period with focus on gender and economic thought. Some of her publications include Thinking Like a Man: Tadano Makuzu (Brill, 2006) and the coedited volume Economic Thought in Early Modern Japan (Brill, 2010). In the past years, her research centers on the exploration of networks of the Rai family from Hiroshima during the Tokugawa period. The development of the online Japan Biographical Database is part of this endeavor, as well as the forthcoming coedited volume Women and Networks in Nineteenth Century Japan (University of Michigan Press, 2021). Since 2014 Gramlich-Oka serves as an editor of Monumenta Nipponica.



Headshot of Ken Reiman next to an American flag

Ken Reiman
Foreign Service Officer | U.S. State Department

Ken Reiman is a United States diplomat who has served overseas in Taiwan, Nigeria, Mainland China, Guyana, and Burkina Faso. In Washington he has served as a Senior Advisor to the Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Asia and the Pacific, an instructor at the Foreign Service Institute where he prepared diplomats for assignments in Japan and South Korea, an Assessor in the Board of Examiners where he selected the future of the Foreign Service, and held various other leadership roles within the Department of State. Mr. Reiman has also worked in Tokyo, Japan as a Business Development Manager. His love of innovation and diversity stems from his Japanese American roots and multicultural background.

Mr. Reiman holds a master’s degree in East Asian Studies from Stanford University and a bachelor’s degree in Foreign Service from Georgetown University. He speaks Japanese, Mandarin, and French. When he is not guiding organizations and individuals to succeed in foreign operating environments, he is an author who enjoys chronicling/composing, as well as raising two energetic boys.



M. Antoni J. Ucerler, S.J.
Director and Associate Professor | Ricci Institute for Chinese-Western Cultural History, University of San Francisco

M. Antoni J. Ucerler, S.J. is the Director and Associate Professor at the Ricci Institute for Chinese-Western Cultural History. He is also Fellow of East Asian Studies at Campion Hall, at the University of Oxford. He teaches courses in both early modern Japanese and global history, including topics in East Asian and European thought. His main research and teaching interests include topics in Japanese samurai history, the era of European maritime empires and expansion into Asia (15th-18th centuries), and the history of Christianity in Japan and China.



Many thanks for the generous support!

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