No. 291.
Mr. Stevens to Mr. Evarts.

No. 68.]

Sir: On the 2d instant, Shoken, the young prince of Loo Choo, accompanied by his suite, arrived at Yokohama in the steamer dispatched by the Japanese Government to bring his father, the ex-king, to this country. The latter alleged illness as a reason for not coming to Japan at the present time, and it was accordingly decided to bring his son in his stead.

On the 8th instant his excellency Sanjo Saneyoshi His Imperial Japanese Majesty’s prime minister, addressed an order to Prince Shoken in the following words: “For public reasons you are hereby ordered to remain in Tokei.”

It would seem from this that the Japanese Government is resolved to leave nothing undone toward completing the changes recently begun in the local government of the Loo Choo Islands. The inclosed extract from the Nichi Nichi Shimbun (translated for the Japan Daily Herald of the 5th instant) gives some account of the manner in which those changes have been effected. The islands have now been made, in due form, a ken of the empire; Japanese are installed in the chief offices; the King has only the rank of a Japanese noble (Kwazoku), while the principal gentry of the kingdom have become pensioned, samurai (shiz-oku). The subordinate local officials have been retained, and it is reported that there are no signs of discontent either among them or among the common people. The King and his advisers, who are more nearly affected by the new order of things, are, of course, dissatisfied with the change, but is is hardly probable that their discontent will assume any practical shape. Nor is it probable that China will actively interfere in behalf of the people whom she has hitherto, tacitly at least, recognized as dependents. His excellency H-ü-Chang, Chinese minister at this court, seems to have contented himself with remonstrating against the action taken by Japan, and still remains here, notwithstanding the determination he expressed some time ago to return to China if the Japanese Government persisted in the course it had adopted toward Loo Choo.

I have, &c.,

[Inclosure in No. 68.]

[Translated from the Nichi Nichi Shimbun.]

A person who returned to Yokohama by the same steamer as brought the Prince of Loo Choo, has furnished us with the following particulars:

When Mr. Matsuda came the second time to Loo Choo he found the King ill, and the [Page 638] order by which the han was abolished and replaced by a ken, was communicated to Prince Shohitsu, who also received the Imperial message brought by the chamberlain, Mr. Tomikoji. But the Sansikwan, the Oyakata, and the Haiunjo (Loo Chooan mandarins) were all very much perplexed. The records of the Hancho were examined by the newly appointed officers, who sealed them up, and guards of police were stationed at the castle gates; the Loo Chooan officers were summoned to the Tenkaiji, where they were officially informed of the change that had taken place, and warned not to be led astray by idle rumors. But the whole han was in a state of excitement, and on the following day, the 20th March, a deputation of more than forty persons, representing the Prince, the Anzu, the Sansikw an, the Oyakata, the Haiunjo, and the Chikushi, proceeded to the Kencho, where they handed in a written memorial. This was however rejected, and returned to them with a kind reproof. Under these circumstances it was thought advisable to remove the ex-King from the castle, and this was consequently done on the 29th March at midnight; on the 31st March the Imperial troops occupied the castle, and then the people saw that there was no help for it, but that they must submit. It being thought proper that the ex-King himself should advise the people of the abolition of the han, the people were summoned on the 2d April, and the ex-King made a speech to them. The gentry are now to be ranked among our shizoku and will receive pension bonds. In the mean time Mr. Kinashi issued the following notification:

“To the officers of Shuri, Toinari, Kume, Naffa and other districts:

“As the Loocho han has now been abolished, and replaced by the Okinawa ken, the han officers have all been dismissed, but you, the local officers of Shuri, Tomari, Kume, Naff a and other districts, and all the village and street officers, are hereby ordered to continue your duties as before.”