U.S. Consulate, Yokohama, 1933
“When Yokohama Port opened to foreign trade in 1859, the Tokugawa shogunate still ruled the country. But, there was disagreement among the samurai whether to simply expel the ‘barbarians’ or to open the country to them, acquire the latest Western technology and maintain national sovereignty. The Tokugawa were in favor of the latter course of action while several of the regional feudal clans (the Satsuma clan, in Kyushu, and the Choshu clan in western Honshu) did not support any foreign presence in Japan and, as a result, there were a number of incidents where foreigners fell victim to these rebels, including the Namamugi Incident (aka the Richardson Affair) outside Yokohama in 1862.
“Britain and France sent marines to Yokohama to protect their citizens, stationing them from 1863 to 1875 on the Yamate hill where they had command of the foreign settlement and the port. After the restoration of imperial rule, in 1869, and the signing of extraterritorial treaties, the marines withdrew in 1875. The French Consulate was built on the same site, now known as ‘French Hill’, in 1894. The original consulate was destroyed in the 1923 Great Kanto earthquake.
“Yokohama City obtained the French Hill area from France in 1971 and made it part of Harbor View Park in 1972. At a corner near the northern gate to the park there still remains a block of red old bricks used for the foundation of the original consulate building.”