John Harington Gubbins (1852-1929) was a British linguist, consular official and diplomat.
He attended Harrow School, and would have gone on to Cambridge University if family finances had allowed. He was appointed a student interpreter in the Japan consular service in 1871, and English Secretary to the Conference at Tokyo for the Revision of the Treaties after Ernest Satow left Japan in 1883, and on June 1, 1889 became Japanese Secretary at Tokyo. Employed in London at the Foreign Office from February to July 1894 in the Aoki -Kimberley negotiations which resulted in the Anglo-Japanese Treaty of Commerce and Navigation of July 16, 1894. A close friend of Satow, especially in retirement.
Despite having no degree, Gubbins was awarded an honorary Master's degree from Balliol College and made a Lecturer in Japanese at Oxford University (1909-12). The lack of pupils meant that his position was terminated.
He was the father of Colin Gubbins.
See ‘John Harrington Gubbins, 1852-1929’ by Ian Nish, Ch. 8, Britain and Japan: Biographical Portraits, Vol. 2, ed. I. Nish. (Japan Library, 1997).
See also the private correspondence from J.H. Gubbins to Sir Ernest Satow, 1908-27, PRO 30/33 11/8, 11/9 and 11/10.(Public Record Office,UK)