Perry & Harris

The 150th anniversary of The U.S.-Japan Treaty of Amity and Commerce PERRY & HARRIS -THE DAWN OF U.S.-JAPAN RELATIONS-

4F Boston Gallery 5F Open Gallery
October 18 (Saturday) - December 21 (Sunday), 2008

The year 2008 marks the 150th anniversary of the U.S.-Japan Treaty of Amity and Commerce, which was concluded in 1858.

 

image:Portrait Oil Painting of Matthew Calbraith Perry

Portrait Oil Painting of Matthew Calbraith Perry
by John Beaufain Irving Jr. (U.S. Naval Academy Museum)

image:Portrait of Townsend Harris by James Bogle

Portrait of Townsend Harris by James Bogle
 (The City College of New York)

In the final days of the Tokugawa regime, the shogunate collected information from overseas in order to understand what was happening in Asia - where the First Opium War was raging - and other regions of the world. Consistent with the policy of avoiding becoming entangled in a war, the shogunate conducted pragmatic diplomatic negotiations with Commodore Matthew Calbraith Perry. As a result of these tenacious discussions, the U.S.-Japan Treaty of Peace and Amity was concluded in 1854 between the United States and the Tokugawa shogunate.

 

 

Under the Treaty of Peace and Amity, Townsend Harris was assigned to Shimoda on the Izu Peninsula to be the first U.S. Consul General in Japan in 1856 and began vigorous negotiations for a trade treaty. Shimoda magistrate Inoue Kiyonao and Iwase Tadanari, a reformist maritime defense official, were given the responsibility of conducting the negotiations with Harris. Inoue and Harris built such a close relationship of trust that Harris later described Inoue as a friend.

image:Lithograph Depicting the Scene of Perry's Landing in Yokohama

Lithograph Depicting the Scene of Perry's Landing in Yokohama by William (Wilhelm) Heine
 (Edo-Tokyo Museum)

image:Woodblock Print, Newspaper with Figure of Sumo Wrestlers Carrying Rice Straw Bags, One of the Listed Articles Presented to Ambassador Perry

Woodblock Print, Newspaper with Figure of
Sumo Wrestlers Carrying Rice Straw Bags,
One of the Listed Articles Presented to Ambassador Perry
 (Edo-Tokyo Museum)
Focusing particularly on the lives and experiences of Perry and Harris in Japan, this exhibition consisting of objects from museums in Japan and overseas examines the relationship between the United States and Japan toward the end of the Tokugawa regime.

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