The Black Ship Scroll: An Account of the Perry Expedition at Shimoda in 1854 and the Lively Beginnings of People-To-People Relations between Japan & America

The Black Ship Scroll: An Account of the Perry Expedition at Shimoda in 1854 and the Lively Beginnings of People-To-People Relations between Japan & America

The Black Ship Scroll: An Account of the Perry Expedition at Shimoda in 1854 and the Lively Beginnings of People-To-People Relations between Japan & America

The Black Ship Scroll: An Account of the Perry Expedition at Shimoda in 1854 and the Lively Beginnings of People-To-People Relations between Japan & America

Excerpt

People of Shimoda, a small port which lies 110 miles from Tokyo, like to think it was their fishermen who first sighted the Black Ships of Commodore Matthew C. Perry's squadron as they approached Japan in 185. This may well be true, for the fleet's first glimpse of Japan, through thick summer haze at dawn on Friday, July 8th, was of the bold headlands of the Izu Peninsula, very near Shimoda harbor. As the ships sailed up the coast past Shimoda, the Americans observed two or three fishing boats turning back towards shore. These were probably manned by Shimoda fishermen, racing home with news of another unwelcome intrusion into Japanese waters.

For more than two hundred years Japan had successfully asserted her right to seclusion. The only foreigners tolerated during this long isolation had been a few Chinese and Dutchmen; the latter had been permitted, under humiliating conditions, to bring in one ship a year and to operate a trading post on an islet at Nagasaki, Japan's westernmost port, a safe distance from the seat of government. But over the past sixty years other Western powers had demonstrated their increasing reluctance to let Japan keep to herself. British, Russian, and American ships had prowled her coasts, while the Japanese had watched the conquest of India and the humbling of China and had worried about the threat to their own country.

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