Treaty of the Month: What historic international treaty has amused me this month?

Choraku-ji temple in Shimoda
This Month: The Treaty of Shimoda

The Treaty of Shimoda of was signed between Russia and Bakumatsu Japan. It marked the start of official diplomatic relations between Russia and Japan.

When and Where:
Representing Russia was Vice-Admiral Euphimy Vasil'evich Putiatin and Toshiakira Kawaji was representing Japan at the signing ceremony in the delightful choraku-ji Buddhist temple in the city of Shimoda –a city noted for its hot, relaxing natural springs (just in case anyones going on holiday to Japan), in Izu Province, Japan, on February 7, 1855.

The treaty was primarily comprised of a trade agreement which opened three Japanese harbours (Hakodate, Nagasaki, and Shimoda) to Russia, one more than had been opened to the Americans. Furthermore, the treaty also partially defined the northern borders of Japan in the Kurile Islands with the Russo-Japanese border drawn between Etorofu and Uruppu. Even though the treaty defined an agreement concerning the Kuriles, it remains a point of contention to the present day.
Why has it amused me:
On December 23, 1854, while the Russian delegation was staying in Japan the major Ansei Tokai Earthquake shook Japan. It had an estimated magnitude of 8.4 on the Richter magnitude scale and it created a huge tsunami. A 7-meter-high wall of water destroyed 900 homes in Shimoda and even more along the Pacific coastline of Japan. Putiatin's ships, carefully hidden and docked in Shimoda, were also destroyed. The Russian delegation now found itself stranded in Japan. In an attempt to study the Russian way of building vessels, the Tokugawa ordered Japanese carpenters to build a new ship with Russian help. And so Putiatin was able to sail back to Russia, on May 8, 1855, on board a Russian-Japanese 25 meter schooner, baptised Heda (someone hand me my screenplay writing trousers). The significance of this event is found in the fact that, for the very first time in Japan's history, a long-term project was established with a Western nation comprising Russians and Japanese under a same cause. This was extraordinary at a time of intense Japanese isolation, the ship being a tremendous potent symbol of this isolation beginning to come to an end.

Japanese depiction of the launching of the Heda 1855