Department of History

If you wish to get in touch with our administrative staff, please see the admin staff contact page.

Andrew Cobbing

Associate Professor, Faculty of Arts

Contact

Expertise Summary

I can supervise research students in the areas of East Asian cultural and international history, particularly in the context of East-West relations and modern Japan. I am interested in supervising work that explores themes in these areas such as travel, diplomacy, communications, society and cultural exchange.

Teaching Summary

The modules I teach cover my broad interest in early modern and modern Japan, and East Asia's interaction with the West. My second year option 'The Tokugawa World, 1600-1868' provides an introduction… read more

Research Summary

My research is on cultural relations between Japan and the West, initially with a focus on the experience of samurai travellers and the diaries they kept during their explorations abroad. My PhD on… read more

Recent Publications

The modules I teach cover my broad interest in early modern and modern Japan, and East Asia's interaction with the West. My second year option 'The Tokugawa World, 1600-1868' provides an introduction to Japanese culture and society during the era of self-imposed seclusion before the opening of the country in the nineteenth century. My special subject in the third year is on 'Samurai Revolution: reinventing Japan,1853-78', which provides an opportunity to explore, from various angles, some of the key episodes in the tumultuous last years of the Tokugawa regime and the emergence of the Meiji State. I have also taught a third year option on 'Guns, Trade and Justice: the treaty port system in China, Japan and Korea, 1842-1947', which investigates the encounter with the West and the power relations involved in commercial centres such as Hong Kong, Shanghai and Yokohama.

Current Research

My research is on cultural relations between Japan and the West, initially with a focus on the experience of samurai travellers and the diaries they kept during their explorations abroad. My PhD on this topic resulted in a monograph, The Japanese Discovery of Victorian Britain (1998), and I was subsequently involved in a major project to translate the official account of the Iwakura EmThe Japanese Discovery of Victorian Britainbassy's travels in the West. Published in English for the first time in 2002 this chronicle offers a wealth of insight into the Meiji State's perspectives on Western models at a formative stage in the development of modern Japan. I have subsequently written several studies on Meiji diplomats involved in negotiating the revision of Japan's 'Unequal Treaties', and by extension ended up writing on some Meiji statesmen and British foreign secretaries as well. I have also collaborated on a comparative cultural study of Meiji Japan and Victorian Britain (2006) through a biographical work on a samurai called Kawada Ryokichi, based on the letters he received during the years he spent as an overseas student in the Glasgow shipyards.

Kyushu: Gateway to Japan Besides this focus on the nineteenth century, I have developed a broader interest in regional history across the ages during the years I spent on the island of Kyushu in southwest Japan. This led to the publication of Kyushu - Gateway to Japan: a cultural history (2009), the first comprehensive history of this region in English from early times to the present day. Subsequently, I edited an interdisciplinary collection on Hakata: the cultural world of northern Kyushu (2013), a collaborative project exploring the key role this port has played in Japan's relations with continental Asia and its enduring legacy now as the modern-day city of Fukuoka.

In recent years, meanwhile, my ongoing interest in Meiji diplomats has led me to wander more into the fields of international history and international law. Resulting articles include: 'A Victorian Embarrassment: consular jurisdiction and the evils of extraterritoriality' (2017); and 'Opening Legations: Japan's first resident minister and the diplomatic corps in Europe' (2017). Some book chapters in edited volumes have also followed, such as: 'Shaping a New Profession: Japanese encounters with international law, c. 1600-1900' (2021); and 'Meiji Diplomacy and the Pursuit of Sovereignty' (forthcoming).

Supervision

I am interested in supervising research students in the areas of East Asian cultural and international history, particularly in the context of East-West relations and modern Japan. I would particularly welcome enquiries on exploring themes in these areas such as travel, diplomacy, cultural exchange and international law.

  • 2021. Shaping a New Profession: Japanese Encounters with International Law, c. 1600-1900. In: MARCUS M. PAYK, ed., Crafting the International Order: Practitioners and Practices of International Law since c.1800 Oxford University Press. 21-47
  • 2017. A Victorian Embarrassment: Consular Jurisdiction and the Evils of Extraterritoriality The International History Review. Online Version available only, 1-19
  • ANDREW COBBING and ROBERT MORTON, 2016. Lord Derby. In: HUGH CORTAZZI, ed., Britain & Japan: Biographical Portraits X. Japan Society. 195-207
  • 2016. Remembering the Satsuma Students: A Journey in Anglo-Japanese Relations The Japan Society Proceedings. 152, 59-75
  • ANDREW COBBING, 2015. Lord Granville (1815-1891): A Pragmatist at the Foreign Office. In: HUGH CORTAZZI, ed., Britain & Japan: Biographical Portraits IX. Renaissance Books. 571-583
  • ANDREW COBBING, 2015. Modern Japan in History. In: JAMES BABB, ed., The Sage Handbook of Modern Japanese Studies Sage. 3-21
  • COBBING, A., 2013. Iwakura Tomomi (1825-83). In: CORTAZZI, H., ed., Britain & Japan: biographical portraits. Volume 8 Brill (Global Oriental). 1-12
  • COBBING, A., ed., 2013. Hakata: the cultural worlds of northern Kyushu 1. Brill.
  • COBBING, A., 2013. The Hakata merchant's world: cultural networks in a centre of maritime trade. In: COBBING, A., ed., Hakata: the cultural Worlds of Northern Kyushu Brill. 63-82
  • COBBING, A., 2010. Inoue Kaoru (1836-1915): a controversial Meiji statesman. In: CORTAZZI, H., ed., Britain & Japan: biographical portraits. Volume 7 Global Oriental. 1-18
  • COBBING, A., 2010. Yamao Yozo (1837-1917): a pioneer of Meiji education. In: CORTAZZI, H., ed., Britain & Japan: biographical portraits. Volume VII Global Oriental. 19-32
  • COBBING, A., 2009. Kyushu, gateway to Japan: a cultural history Global Oriental.
  • COBBING, A, 2008. A New World in Chapter and Verse: China in the eyes of the Iwakura Embassy The 7th International Symposium of Japanese Studies and Japanese Language Education. 7, (In Press.)
  • COBBING, A., 2008. Opium, War and Memory: revisiting the Battle of Zhoushan. In: GLADSTON, P., ed., Anthology of Cultural Studies Nottingham: Critical, Cultural and Communications Press.
  • COBBING, A, 2007. Ueno Kagenori (1845-1888): A most influential diplomat. In: IAN NISH, ed., Japanese Envoys to Britain 1862-1964: A century of diplomatic exchange Global Oriental. 35-44
  • COBBING A., 2007. Terashima Munenori, 1832-92: Master of early Meiji diplomacy. In: IAN NISH, ed., Japanese envoys to Britain University of Hawaii Press.
  • COBBING, A., 2007. Unveiling the Modern World: Japan’s first wave of overseas travel. In: NICHOLAS HEWITT, DICK GEARY, ed., Diaspora(s): Movements and Cultures 3. Nottingham: Critical, Cultural and Communications Press. 17-27
  • COBBING, A. and ITAMI, M., 2006. Kawada Ryōkichi, Jeanie Eadie's samurai: the life and times of a Meiji entrepreneur and agricultural pioneer Folkestone: Global Oriental.
  • COBBING, A. and ITAMI, M., 2005. Samurai ni Koi shita Eikoku Musume [the British girl who fell in love with a Samurai]: Danshaku Imo, Kawada Ryokichi e no Renbun [letters to Kawada Ryokichi of 'Baron Potato' fame'] Tokyo: Fujiwara Shoten.
  • SAITO S. and COBBING, A. (TRANS.), 2005. The Foreign Books Trade in Japan: The view from a publisher's agency in Tokyo Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  • COBBING, A., 2005. Terashima Munenori, 1832-93: master of early Meiji diplomacy. In: CORTAZZI, H., ed., Britain & Japan: biographical portraits 5. Folkestone: Global Oriental. 49-61
  • COBBING, A., 2003. The Western Technological Impact on Arita Porcelain in the Early Meiji Period Kyushu University International Student Centre Research Bulletin. 13, 113-23
  • COBBING, A., 2002. Early Japanese visitors to Victorian Britain. In: DANIELS, G. and TSUZUKI, C., eds., The History of Anglo-Japanese relations, 1600-2000, 5: Social and cultural perspectives Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan Ltd. 43-59
  • COBBING, A., 2002. Mori Arinori, 1847-89: from diplomat to statesman. In: CORTAZZI, H., ed., Britain and Japan - Biographical Portraits 4. Folkestone: Japan Library. 3-13
  • COBBING, A., 2002. The JTW Programme: Eight years of curriculum development Kyushu University International Student Centre Research Bulletin. 12, 65-73
  • COBBING, A., 2002. Meiji Shonen no Kaigai Taiken [Early Meiji Travel Encounters]. In: , ed., Obei kara Mita Iwakura Shisetsu-Dan [The Iwakura Mission: A New Assessment] Kyoto: Minerva Press. 51-74
  • HEALEY, G., TSUZUKI, C. and COBBING, A., eds., 2002. Translation, annotation and historical introduction (under the general editorship of G. Healey and C. Tsuzuki) of a volume of Kunitake Kume's compilation of documents relating to the Japanese ambassador's journey through Europe in 1871-1873. Kunitake Kume (compiler), The Iwakura Embassy, 1871-73 : a true account of the Ambassador extraordinary & plenipotentiary's journey of observation through the United States of America and Europe. Vol. 3, Continental Europe, 1 1st ed. Matsudo: Japan Documents.
  • COBBING, A., 2001. Oranda-bumi: In search of Horiya Fumi's letter home from Holland Kyushu University International Student Centre Research Bulletin. 11, 43-54
  • COBBING, A., 2001. Victoria-Cho Eikoku e no Nihonjin Tokosha-tachi [Early Japanese travellers to Victorian Britain]. In: GORDON DANIELS, G. AND TSUZUKI, C., ed., Nichi-Ei Koryu-Shi 1600-2000 [The History of Anglo-Japanese Relations, 1600-2000: Shakai, Bunka [Social and Cultural Perspectives] 5. Tokyo: University of Tokyo Press. 48-71
  • COBBING, A. and INUZUKA, T., 2000. The Satsuma students in Britain : Japan's early search for the 'Essence of the west' / Andrew Cobbing London: Routledge.
  • COBBING, A., 1999. Ito Hirobumi in Britain. In: , ed., Britain and Japan - Biographical Portraits 3. 13-24
  • COBBING, A., 1999. The First Japanese Woman in Europe?: An early nineteenth-century letter home from Holland Proceedings of The Japan Society. 132, 34-42
  • COBBING, A., 1999. Foreign Intelligence Reports in the Nagasaki Information War of 1863 Kyushu University International Student Centre Research Bulletin. 10, 57-76
  • COBBING, A., 1998. Irei no O-Yatoi Gaikokujin [An Exceptional O-Yatoi]: Kozan gishi Morisu no sokuseki o tadoru [Tracing the footsteps of mining engineer Samuel John Morris] Culture of Western Japan (Nishi Nihon Bunka). 338, 24-7
  • COBBING, A., 1998. Life in Victorian London through the Eyes of Kume Kunitake, Chronicler of the Iwakura Mission STICERD International Studies. IS/98/349, 1-15
  • COBBING, A., 1998. Early Meiji Travel Encounters: the Iwakura Mission in Britain. In: IAN NISH, ed., The Iwakura Mission to America and Europe: a new assessment Folkestone: Japan Library. 51-74
  • COBBING, A., 1998. The Japanese discovery of Victorian Britain : early travel encounters in the far West / Andrew Cobbing London: Routledge.
  • COBBING, A., 1997. Saga-han Eigaku Denshu to Ishimaru Toragoro: Bunkyu 3-nen Nagasaki ni okeru eibun denshu ni yoru joho donyu [Ishimaru Toragoro and English Studies in the Saga Domain: intelligence from English newspapers in Nagasaki in 1863]. In: NAKAMURA TADASHI, ed., Kaikoku to Kindaika [The Opening and Modernisation of Japan] Tokyo: Yoshikawa Kobunkan. 236-58
  • COBBING, A., 1994. Bakumatsu Ishin-ki ni Umi o Watatta Saga-jin-tachi [Overseas Travellers from Saga in the 1860s and 1870s] Culture of Western Japan (Nishi Nihon Bunka). 300, 47-50
  • COBBING, A., 1994. Bakumatsu-ki Saga-han no Taigai Kankei no Kenkyu [Research on the External Relations of the Saga Domain in the Last Years of Tokugawa Rule]: Kaigai taiken ni yoru joho donyu o chushin ni [with particular emphasis on information transfer through overseas travel Saga: Nabeshima Hoko Kai.

Department of History

University of Nottingham
University Park
Nottingham, NG7 2RD

Contact details
Twitter