Commodore Matthew Perry: American Black Ships in the Land of the Samurai

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Commodore Matthew Perry: American Black Ships in the Land of the Samurai

One hundred and fifty years ago, an American commodore was assigned by the American President to go to “the barbarian land.” The commodore’s name was Matthew Perry and the land was Japan (Walworth 18). He was curious enough to become interested in the mission, even though it was said that “the Japanese were the least interesting people in the world” at that time (Graff 63).

Japan had been closed to the outside world for 250 years. When foreign people entered Japanese waters, even if they were shipwrecked by accident, they were interned in jails and some of them were killed (Lubor 33). The reasons for the Japanese isolationistic policies were the military
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He successfully used convincing presentation skills, held an industrial exposition with the latest in technology and implied the use of his military power, which the Japanese did not have. According to Friedrich, Perry offered a letter from the White House that stated the U.S. wanted “1) a fueling station for its merchant ships, 2) a commercial treaty permitting free trade, and 3) friendship.” If the Japanese did not accept these offers, Perry would oblige them to do so by the military power of the United States (1). In 1854, finally, the Japanese government accepted Perry’s demands and made a treaty with the United States (Walworth 158). Perry achieved great change in the Japanese government by opening the country after a long isolation.

After the Japanese government decided to close its country in 1639, many countries tried to open up Japan to the outside world. At that time, such countries as England, France, Holland, Spain and Portugal successfully dominated many Asian countries from the seventeenth to eighteenth centuries. However, Western countries had a difficult time approaching Japan, because the Japanese government established a law that, if a foreign ship came close to Japan, it had to force out the intruder by military power. However, surprisingly, only the United States succeeded in overcoming this difficulty even though it had been only about 100 years since it was established and was the newest country in the area, with

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