A Japanese print depicting some scenes where Western, Japanese and Chinese people interacting at a trading house for foreigners in foreign settlement quarters in Yokohama; some foreigners in another room at the back seem to eat together at a table and converse.

Join Dr Bill Mihalopoulos as he presents his 2021 National Library Fellowship research into how Japan responded to the Maria Luz Incident of 1872.

In 1872, the fledgling Japanese government found itself embroiled in an international incident when asked to arbitrate whether 230 Chinese indentured 'coolies' on board the Peruvian bark Maria Luz, harboured in the foreign settlement port of Yokohama for repairs, were free laborers or slaves. Matters became even more challenging for the Japanese government when it was accused of tolerating domestic slavery in the institution of licensed prostitution.

In this presentation Dr Bill Mihalopoulos investigates how Japan responded to these challenges that crystallised around the so-called Maria Luz Incident, and uses the incident to investigate the rare moment when consent in contract – a fundamental concept that defines the modern world – was introduced and modelled in Japan.  

Entry is free to this event but bookings are essential. 

For those unable to make it to Canberra for the talk, it will be available to view online via the Library's Facebook page. You do not need to book a ticket to watch the event online.

Dr Bill Mihalopoulos is a 2021 National Library of Australia Fellow supported by the Harold S. Williams Trust for Japan Studies.  

Image: Utagawa Sadahide (1807-1873), Yokohama ijin shōkan no zu, 1861, nla.obj-151495391

About Dr Bill Mihalopoulos

Dr Bill Mihalopoulos received a PhD in history from New York University. He is currently a lecturer in Asian Pacific Studies at the University of Central Lancashire.

Type Fellowship presentation