Henry Wheaton, Elements of International Law (1836, 1855) was translated into Chinese by William Martin (丁韙良) as Wanguogongfa (萬國公法) in 1864, and similarly printed by Japanese governmental school as Bankokukoho in 1865. This book introduced new Chinese words by the transition of international law, right and sovereignty, but coinage of the word minzhu (民主 minshu in Japanese) has not been explored until recently. This research note examines the usage of minzhu and its 18 appearances in Wanguogongfa. The word minzhu was mostly translated from "a republic" or "a republican form of government," but one was from "democratic character" and another was from "a democratic republic." The chief element of minzhu was that people discuss publicly and elect their leaders, in contrast to the idea of "hereditary governments." Minzhu had been used to mean "people's master" from ancient times, but it newly transformed to mean "people are master." This research note traces the history of the word minshu and of the idea of democracy since 1865, when Bankokuho was printed in Japan. Minshu was not a word that could be used easily, for it was confronted with kunshu (君主 monarchy) much more intensely than in China. Nakae Chomin, however, insited on using the word minshu. After the Social Democratic Party was prohibited in 1901, Yoshino Sakuzo tried to make democracy alive by using the word minpon from 1915 through 1919. He reviewed then publicized the book Bankokukoho in cooperation with Osatake Takeshi in the late 1920s. These are the early pages in the history of ideas of democracy in east Asia.