International marriages, 1873-1899

Statistics based on Koyama Noboru's 1995 study

By William Wetherall

First posted 24 December 2006
Last updated 1 January 2008


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Becoming Japanese in the Meiji period: Adopted sons, incoming husbands, and naturalization


Koyama's study of Meiji mixed marriages

The most comprehensive study of marriages between Japanese and foreigners, recognized by under Great Council of State Proclamation No. 103 of 1873, is by Noboru Koyama, Koyama, the librarian for the Japanese Collection in the Cambridge University Library.

Koyama Noboru
Kokusai kekkon daiichigo: Meiji hitotachi no zakkon kotohajime
[The first international marriage: The beginnings of mixed marriages of Meiji people]
Tokyo: Kodansha, 1995
282 pages, paperback

See Koyama 1995 for a review of this publication and related information.

At the end of his book, Koyama lists, in chronological order, 260 marriages between Japanese and foreigners that are known to have been recognized by Japan between 1872 and 1897. The list begins with the Minami-Pittman and Kitagawa-Freame unions, and ends with two unions between Japanese women and Chinese men. (Koyama 1995:263-271)

Koyama reduced his data to statistics, but he lumps together nationalities with few cases as "Other". While he tabulates spouses of Japanese nationality by their provincial origins, he does conflates British subjects from India, Penang, and Singapore with other British nationals. There is a pie chart with an incomplete breakdown of foreign husbands by nationality, but no chart showing a breakdown of foreign wives by nationality. (Koyama 1995:104-116)

In order to confirm Koyama's tabulations, and to clarify details that are lost in his analysis, I tabulated his data in a way that better illuminates the trends I wish to discuss.

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Marriages between Japanese and foreigners, recognized by Japan, 1873-1897
By year, sex of Japanese spouse, and nationality of foreign spouse
Tabulated, computed, and designed by William Wetherall (December 2006)
Based on cases collected and listed by Koyama Noboru (1995)
Japanese men marrying foreign women Japanese women marrying foreign men @ @ @ @ @ @ @ @ @ @ @
@ Wife's nationality at time of marriage @ Husband's nationality at time of marriage @ @ @ @ @ @ @ @ Became Japanese
Totals Totals GB Bel Fra Ger Spa USA Totals GB Ind Pen Sing AH Bel Chi Den Fra Ger Hol Port Rus Swi USA Yoshi Nyufu
@ @ [ Included in totals ]
1873 4 1 1 1873 3 1 1 1
1874 2 1 1 1874 1 1 1875
1875 6 1 1 1875 5 1 4 1876
1876 10 1 1 1876 9 5 1 2 1 1877
1877 7 3 3 1877 4 2 1 1 1878
1878 3 0 1878 3 1 1 1 1879
1879 6 2 1 1 1879 4 2 1 1 1880
1880 16 2 1 1 1880 14 6 1 5 1 1 1 1881
1881 11 1 1 1881 10 5 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1882
1882 11 0 1882 11 4 3 1 2 1 1 1883
1883 3 0 1883 3 2 1 1884
1884 3 2 1 1 1884 1 1 1885
1885 3 1 1 1885 2 1 1 1 1886
1886 8 3 2 1 1886 5 3 2 1887
1887 6 2 1 1 1887 4 2 1 1 1888
1888 9 3 1 1 1 1888 6 2 1 1 2 1889
1889 6 6 1 2 2 1 1889 0 1890
1890 6 3 1 2 1890 3 2 1 1 1891
1891 5 3 1 1 1 1891 2 1 1 1 1892
1892 4 1 1 1892 3 1 1 1 1893
1893 21 4 1 1 1 1 1893 17 5 1 7 1 1 2 3 1894
1894 21 0 1894 21 4 12 1 1 2 1 1895
1895 20 0 1895 20 7 1 3 3 3 1 1 1 2 1896
1896 22 6 4 1 1 1896 16 3 7 1 1 2 1 1 1 1897
1897 17 4 2 1 1 1897 13 2 8 2 1
@ @
Total 230 50 12 1 5 18 2 12 Totals 180 61 2 1 1 1 1 57 3 10 14 5 3 5 3 13 3 10
Percents 100.0 24.0 2.0 10.0 36.0 4.0 24.0 Percents 100.0 33.9 1.1 0.6 0.6 0.6 0.6 31.7 1.7 5.6 7.8 2.8 1.7 2.8 1.7 7.2 1.7 5.6
GB Bel Fra Ger Spa USA GB Ind Pen Sing AH Bel Chi Den Fra Ger Hol Port Rus Swi USA Yoshi Nyufu
[ Included in totals ]
Totals and percents by nationality and sex
Nationality of foreign spouse Marriages by sex of Japanese spouse
Couples Percents of total
M F Tot M F Tot
GB Great Britain (Brit) 12 61 73 5.2 26.5 31.7 GB
Ind India (Brit) 2 2 0.9 0.9 Ind
Pen Penang (Brit) 1 1 0.4 0.4 Pen
Sing Singapore (Brit) 1 1 0.4 0.4 Sing
AH Austria Hungary 1 1 0.4 0.4 AH
Bel Belgium 1 1 2 0.4 0.4 0.9 Bel
Chi China 57 57 24.8 24.8 Chi
Den Denmark 3 3 1.3 1.3 Den
Fra France 5 10 15 2.2 4.3 6.5 Fra
Ger Germany 18 14 32 7.8 6.1 13.9 Ger
Hol Holland 5 5 2.2 2.2 Hol
Port Portugal 3 3 1.3 1.3 Port
Spa Spain 2 2 0.9 0.9 Spa
Swi Switzerland 5 5 2.2 2.2 Swi
Rus Russia 3 3 1.3 1.3 Rus
USA United States 12 13 25 5.2 5.7 10.9 USA
Totals 50 180 230 21.7 78.3 100.0
M F Tot M F Tot
Source Koyama Noboru
Kokusai kekkon daiichigo: Meiji hitotachi no zakkon kotohajime
[The first international marriage: The beginnings of mixed marriages of Meiji people]
Tokyo: Kodansha, 1995
Pages 263-271
Nationalities GB -- Nationals of Great Britian (Eikoku) other than those Koyama identifies as being from India, Penang, or Singapore.
India, Penang, and Singapore -- Nationals of Great Britain (Eikoku) who Koyama specifically identifies as being from these British colonies.He does not identify other British nationals as being from Australia or other such territories, and his own statistics conflate British subjects of India, Penang, and Singapore with other British nationals.
China -- Nationals of Qing [Ching] (Shinkoku), i.e., the Qing Dyansty.

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