Commodore Matthew Perry and Trade with Japan Essay

Commodore Matthew Perry and Trade with Japan Essay

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Japan was an isolated country for over two hundred years. This led the United States to send Commodore Matthew Perry overseas in hopes to convince Japan to be more accessible. Commodore Matthew Perry knew that his task would be challenging because of Japan’s reluctance to interact with other countries and its belief that it was the greatest country of all. As a result of Perry’s mission, Japan changed politically, socially, and economically.
Commodore Perry and his squadron of ships arrived in Japan’s waters on July 8, 1853. He was eager to deliver a letter from President Millard Fillmore, seeking friendship and a trade agreement. After seeing Perry’s ships, however, the Japanese went into a state of panic. As Blumberg notes, “General alarms were sounded. Temple bells rang, and messengers raced throughout Japan to warn everyone that enemy aliens were approaching by ship.” It was clear that the Japanese were convinced that “barbarians were about to punish them for their sins.”
The Japanese had lived in isolation for over two hundred years. They had prevented any foreigners from entering or any ships to land at Japanese ports. “In 1850 they had no steam engine, no factory, or no modern firearms. And, amazing to relate, the ladies and gentlemen of Japan adopted no new fashions in wearing apparel!”
At first, small boats attempted to convince Perry and his men to leave the area. Then a Japanese aide to the governor, Kayama, offered to deliver the President’s letter. Perry was growing more impatient. Morrison explains, “Perry sent word that he would wait but three or four days before putting his dread alternative of landing an armed force and delivering the letter in person at Edo Castle.”
After days of little ...

... middle of paper ...

...a, people relish the Black Ships in July. They salute the Commodore who brought them peacefully into a new world that eventually would have forced them to change from their world of isolation.

Works Cited

Blumberg, Rhoda. Commodore Perry in the Land of the Shogun. New York, NY: Harper Collins Publishers, 1985.

Feifer, George. Breaking Open Japan. New York, NY: Harper Collins Publishers, Smithsonian Books, 2006.

Gordon, Andrew. A Modern History of Japan: From Tokugawa Times to the Present. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2003.

Morison, Samuel Eliot. “Old Bruin” Commodore Matthew Calbraith Perry.
Boston, MA: Little, Brown & Company, 1967.

Smulyan, Susan. Perry Visits Japan. Updated 2011. Brown University Research.

Sugimoto Etsu Inagaki. A Daughter of the Samurai. New York: Doubleday, 1930.

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