The Iwakura embassy's encounter with Hamilton Fish at the State Department in 1872 is far more than a quaint but insignificant episode in the relations between Japan and the United States and deserves resurrection from the footnotes of history. The two sides, much to the surprise of both, met in a long, drawn-out series of trying and painful interviews, stretching from mid-March to the end of July, to argue and then attempt to revise the terms of Japan's 1858 treaty of friendship and commerce with the United States. This confrontation marks the proper, though halting, beginning of the treaty revision movement in Meiji diplomatic history and also illustrates the Grant administration's policy, or more accurately, cluster of attitudes toward East Asia during the early period of post-Civil War expansionism.

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