No. 365.
Mr. Bingham to Mr. Fish.

No. 151.]

Sir: I have the honor to report that, on the 10th instant, I received the inclosed letter, revised “hunting regulations” and protocol, from the minister of foreign affairs. On Saturday last, Sir Harry S. Parkes called upon me and asked my opinion of the same, intimating to me that the government of Japan could not enact laws for the government of British subjects without the approval of the British representative; in other words, the laws passed by Japan were not to be observed, nor regarded as obligatory, by British subjects, save when promulgated and approved by the British representative in the form by him adopted.

Sir Harry read to me the orders in council of Great Britain, which in substance authorize him to legislate over British subjects in Japan, reserving, however, to the home government the power of disapproval. I deemed it proper to reply to Sir Harry in this conversation that I was not authorized to legislate generally over American citizens; that the act of June 22, 1860, only authorizes rules of procedure, orders or decrees, and the like, to carry the act and treaty into effect; and that I saw no objection to the inclosed regulations, except that the penalties and mode of procedure could not apply to American citizens.

The 4th section of the act may be said to contain the most general grant of power to representatives of the United States in the provision that, “if defects still remain to be supplied, and neither common law, including equity and admiralty, nor the statutes of the United States furnish appropriate and suitable remedies, the ministers in the said countries, respectively, shall by decrees and regulations, which shall have the force of law, supply such defects and deficiencies.” This, together with all the other provisions of our laws, but confirm me in the opinion, which accords with your instructions to my predecessor and myself, that the power conferred upon the ministers and consuls of the United States by the act of 1860 is to enforce in Japan the laws of the United States and the laws of Japan not in conflict with the treaties and laws of the United States, by prescribing rules and remedies when “no appropriate remedy” can be found under the statute laws of the United States or at common law, including equity and admiralty.

Yesterday I attended a joint meeting of the foreign representatives, and took occasion then to possess the foreign representatives of my views as herein expressed. They all seemed to agree that there was nothing in the revised regulations and protocol to object to, save what I have hereinbefore stated; that the penalties prescribed and the mode of trial could not apply to citizens or subjects of the treaty powers; but they desired a collective note, to the effect that the Japanese minister for foreign affairs should be so advised, and that he should be further advised that each minister would consult his government in regard to a uniform system, to which I assented, reserving my right to qualify my approval of the note so as to accord with my views as herein expressed. The collective note has not yet reached me, but will be forwarded by me as soon as received.

That my position may be fully understood, allow me to state that it appears clear that, under the existing treaties with the United States, Japan retains the power to legislate by general laws over all citizens of the United States resident in Japan, in common with all other persons, [Page 774] subject to this restriction: that the laws so enacted be reasonable and not in conflict with any privilege guaranteed by treaty to the United States or any citizen thereof, and that they require of our citizens no service in contravention of the laws and treaties of the United States. The 6th article of the treaty of 1858, by necessary implication, declares the right of this government to define and prohibit by law within its domain all crimes and offenses against the state or against person or property 5 but inasmuch as the same articles provides that Americans committing offenses against Japanese shall be tried in American consular courts, and, when guilty, “shall be punished according to American law,” it follows, of necessity, that any penalty for any offense against Japanese law, not in accordance with the penalty prescribed by American law for the same offense, cannot be imposed upon our citizens. That such Japanese laws, however, are operative upon American citizens, and are to be enforced upon American citizens by American tribunals, seems to be implied by the provisions of the 2d section of the act of 1860, (Statutes at Large, vol. 12, p. 72,) which declares that the American tribunals named are fully empowered to arraign and try, as therein provided, “all citizens of the United States charged with offenses against law.”

I am, &c.,

[Inclosure No. 151.—Translation.]

Mr. Terashima to Mr. Bingham.

No. 94.]

Your Excellency: The shooting regulations, as per inclosure A, and the penaregulations for violation thereof by foreigners, inclosure B, having been framed, the undersigned begs to submit them to your excellency, and will feel obliged to have your reply, whether they meet with your approval or not.

With great respect,

H. I. J. M’s. Minister for F. A.

To His Excellency John A. Bingham, &c., &c.

[Subinclosure 1 in No. 151.—Translation.]

Revised hunting regulations.—Part I.

  • Article 1. The hunting of birds and beasts with fire-arms as a means of subsistence, is called shoku riyo, (professional hunting;) when it is done merely as a pastime it is called yu riyo, (pleasure hunting.)
  • Art. 2. Shooting without a license is henceforth forbidden. Permission to use fire-arms will occasionally be granted by the local authorities for the frightening off or killing of noxious birds or beasts, when such permission is deemed expedient.
  • Art. 3. Persons wishing to shoot, either professionally or for amusement, shall address themselves to the local government office, stating their names, nationality, residence and position, and age; and, having obtained a license, shall invariably carry it with them when out shooting.
  • Art. 4. The license is only for personal use, and shall be valid only for the season in which it is taken out. It can be neither sold nor lent to any other person.
  • Art. 5. On receipt of a license a fee of one yen* for “shoku riyo,” (professional hunting,) and of ten yen for “yu riyo,” (pleasure hunting,) shall be paid.
  • Art. 6. No licenses shall be issued to the following classes of persons:
  • To persons under sixteen years of age; to persons unacquainted with the use of a owling-piece; to persons who are idiotic, crazy, or otherwise similarly incapable; to [Page 775] persons who have been previously punished for the unlawful discharge of a bow or a gun; to keepers of forests, fields, streams, &c.; to persons who, having been convicted of a breach of the regulations, shall not have obeyed the sentence imposed for that infraction.
  • Art. 7. Shooting is forbidden, even for a person holding a license: 1. In towns and places where there is a collection of houses. 2. In all places within 50 ken (100 yards) of any dwelling. 3. In places crowded with people or in the direction of persons or buildings, whereby either could be injured. 4. In places where a notice prohibiting shooting is posted up, such notice showing two fowling-pieces crossing each other, and over them four Japanese characters, signifying “shooting forbidden here.” 5. In all places covered with crops. 6. Within inclosures around temples, &c.
  • Art. 8. Only Japanese guns carrying a ball of less than 4 mome 8 fem weight, or foreign-made sporting-guns, are to be used in shooting; the use of military rifles is forbidden. Persons who possess fowling-pieces shall comply with the regulations for fire-arms.
  • Art. 9. The shooting season shall extend from the 15th of September to the 15th of March, inclusive. No shooting is allowed out of season, which, however, may be prolonged or shortened according to circumstances of locality; moreover, there are some places distant from dwellings, such as those situated among mountains, for which the shooting season is undetermined.
  • Art. 10. Shooting is forbidden during the hours intervening between sunset and sunrise.
  • Art. 11. Persons out shooting must exhibit their license on demand.
  • Art. 12. Any land-owner who objects to persons shooting upon his premises may put thereon a notice, notifying persons to refrain therefrom, as provided in article 7 and shall inclose his land with a line, cord, or temporary fence.
[Subinclosure 2 in No. 151.—Translation.]

Penal regulations.—Part II.

  • Article 13. In case complaint is brought against any one, while out shooting, before the government office of the locality wherein the person resides, all expenses pertaining to such complaint shall be met according to the general notification by the party who has been adjudged to be in the wrong.
  • Art. 14. In case of a second offense the fine can be doubled.
  • Art. 15. Should any person, guilty of an infraction of the regulations, make a false statement, or act in a threatening manner, he shall be sentenced, on conviction, to the heaviest penalty the law inflicts in such cases.
  • Art. 16. Any offender who is unable to pay the fine shall be punished with hard labor.
  • Art. 17. Any person causing personal injury to another by infliction [infraction] of any of the regulations shall be compelled to indemnify the sufferer.
  • Art. 18. Any person informing and testifying against an offender of any of the regulations shall be rewarded with half of the amount of the fine levied from the offender.
  • Art. 19. Any person committing any infraction of any of the regulations shall be liable to a fine of not less than 3 yen, ($3,) and not more than 20 yen, ($20.)
[Subinclosure 3 in No. 151.—Translation.]


In order to arrive at an understanding with regard to the uniform application to foreigners of the shooting regulations published by the Japanese government, the undersigned have agreed to the following provisional arrangement:

Foreigners residing at the open ports or places wishing to obtain shooting-licenses, shall apply, through their respective consulates, to the Japanese authorities, who will thereupon issue licenses giving applicants the right to shoot within the so-called treaty-limits around all the open ports or places, from the 15th September to the 15th March.
Foreigners residing or traveling outside of the treaty-limits shall apply to the local Japanese authorities for a license, which shall be issued, subject to such rules and conditions as the local authorities may determine in addition to the regulations hereafter mentioned.
Those passages of Part I of the revised shooting regulations of the Japanese government of the 10th of November, 1874, which refer to professional hunting and the use of fire-arms, for the frightening away of noxious birds, &c., also articles 6 and 8, and all the articles of Part II of the same regulations, shall not apply to foreigners.
Any foreigner being out shooting without having taken a license or without having it with him, or using a license not his own, or refusing to exhibit it, or shooting in places or at hours forbidden, or out of season, shall be liable, on conviction before his consul, to a fine of not less than 3 yen nor more than 20 yen for a first offense, and not exceeding 40 yen for a second offense, the amount of the fine to go to the Japanese government.
Any foreigner inflicting damage on crops or other property, or personal injury to any individual, shall be obliged to indemnify the sufferer. The offender shall be sued before his authorities, and the court may appoint two experts, one of whom shall be a Japanese, to assess the amount of damage done. But the payment of such indemnity shall not protect a foreigner against any criminal prosecutions or other proceedings to which he may have rendered himself liable.

The undersigned foreign representatives will take the necessary measures for enforcing the observance of the above agreement by their respective nationals.

  1. A yen is equal to $1.