Icarus Affair

During the summer of 1867, two sailors from the British ship Icarus were killed in the pleasure quarters of Nagasaki. Assassins from Tosa han were suspected, however the Bakufu was unable to apprehend the killers.

Sir Harry Parkes, the head of the British Legation in Edo, arrived during the 8th month of the same year. Hearing of the incident, he pressured the Shogun Tokugawa Yoshinobu to find and capture the suspects, and even went so far as to travel to Tosa han himself to further the investigation. Unfortunately, the killers were never found.

This incident was yet another that highlighted the Bakufu's lack of strong control of the country to the British legation.


  • Daniels, Gordon. The British Role in the Meiji Restoration: A Re-Interpretive Note, Modern Asian Studies, II, 4 (1968)