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A number of Japanese students came to King's in the late nineteenth century following the opening up of the country to the outside world in the 1850s.

This was a period when the Japanese were anxious to assimilate the latest advances in science and engineering and catch up with Europe and America.

One such student was to become the first Ambassador to Great Britain and one of the leading diplomats of his generation, Viscount Tadasu Hayashi.

This intellectual exchange was two-way: King's took a keen interest in oriental languages including Japanese and Chinese and was anxious to exploit the commercial opportunities such study afforded.

Its department eventually formed part of the School of Oriental Studies established in 1916.

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