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Treaty of Kanagawa signed with Japan

Treaty of Kanagawa signed with Japan

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In Tokyo, Commodore Matthew Calbraith Perry, representing the U.S. government, signs the Treaty of Kanagawa with the Japanese government, opening the ports of Shimoda and Hakodate to American trade and permitting the establishment of a U.S. consulate in Japan.

In July 1853, Commodore Perry sailed into Tokyo Bay with a squadron of four U.S. vessels. For a time, Japanese officials refused to speak with Perry, but eventually they accepted letters from U.S. President Millard Fillmore, making the United States the first Western nation to establish relations with Japan since it was declared closed to foreigners in 1683.

After giving Japan time to consider the establishment of external relations, Perry returned to Tokyo in March 1854, and on March 31 signed the Treaty of Kanagawa, which opened Japan to trade with the United States, and thus the West. In April 1860, the first Japanese diplomats to visit a foreign power reached Washington, D.C., and remained in the U.S. capital for several weeks discussing expansion of trade with the United States.

Japan treaty of kanagawa - History bibliographies - in Harvard style

Your Bibliography: Alchin, L., 2016. Treaty of Kanagawa for kids. [online] American-historama.org. Available at: <http://www.american-historama.org/1850-1860-secession-era/treaty-of-kanagawa.htm> [Accessed 5 April 2016].

Treaty of Kanagawa | Japan-United States [1854]

In-text: (Treaty of Kanagawa | Japan-United States [1854], 2016)

Your Bibliography: Encyclopedia Britannica. 2016. Treaty of Kanagawa | Japan-United States [1854]. [online] Available at: <http://www.britannica.com/event/Treaty-of-Kanagawa> [Accessed 5 April 2016].

Goldman, L.

Japanese-American Diplomacy - Treaty of Kanagawa March, 31, 1854

In-text: (Goldman, 2008)

Your Bibliography: Goldman, L., 2008. Japanese-American Diplomacy - Treaty of Kanagawa March, 31, 1854. [online] The Avalon Project. Available at: <http://avalon.law.yale.edu/19th_century/japan002.asp> [Accessed 5 April 2016].

Griffiths, B.

Commodore Perry's Expedition to Japan

In-text: (Griffiths, 2005)

Your Bibliography: Griffiths, B., 2005. Commodore Perry's Expedition to Japan. [online] Grifworld.com. Available at: <http://www.grifworld.com/perryhome.html> [Accessed 5 April 2016].

Treaty of Kanagawa signed with Japan - Mar 31, 1854

In-text: (Treaty of Kanagawa signed with Japan - Mar 31, 1854, 2016)

Your Bibliography: HISTORY.com. 2016. Treaty of Kanagawa signed with Japan - Mar 31, 1854. [online] Available at: <http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/treaty-of-kanagawa-signed-with-japan> [Accessed 5 April 2016].

The United States and the Opening to Japan, 1853 - 1830–1860 - Milestones - Office of the Historian

In-text: (The United States and the Opening to Japan, 1853 - 1830–1860 - Milestones - Office of the Historian, 2016)

Your Bibliography: History.state.gov. 2016. The United States and the Opening to Japan, 1853 - 1830–1860 - Milestones - Office of the Historian. [online] Available at: <https://history.state.gov/milestones/1830-1860/opening-to-japan> [Accessed 5 April 2016].

McNamara, R.

Treaty of Kanagawa

In-text: (McNamara, 2016)

Your Bibliography: McNamara, R., 2016. Treaty of Kanagawa. [online] About.com Education. Available at: <http://history1800s.about.com/od/1800sglossary/g/Treaty-Of-Kanagawa.htm> [Accessed 5 April 2016].

Ran, K.


In-text: (Ran, 2016)

Your Bibliography: Ran, K., 2016. The_Knock_Knock_Who_is_There_Moment_for_Japan_The_Signing_of_the_Treaty_of_Kanagawa_in_1854. 1st ed. [ebook] pp.12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17. Available at: <https://notevenpast.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/07/The_Knock_Knock_Who_is_There_Moment_for_Japan_The_Signing_of_the_Treaty_of_Kanagawa_in_1854.pdf> [Accessed 5 April 2016].


Commodore matthew Perry

In-text: (Study.com, 2016)

Your Bibliography: Study.com, 2016. Commodore matthew Perry. [image] Available at: <http://study.com/cimages/multimages/16/commodore_matthew_perry.jpg> [Accessed 5 April 2016].

Treaty of Kanagawa in Japan: Definition & History

In-text: (Treaty of Kanagawa in Japan: Definition & History, 2016)


Since the beginning of the 17th century, the Tokugawa shogunate pursued a policy of isolating the country from outside influences. Foreign trade was maintained only with the Dutch and the Chinese and was conducted exclusively at Nagasaki under a strict government monopoly. This "Pax Tokugawa" period is largely associated with domestic peace, social stability, commercial development, and expanded literacy. [2] This policy had two main objectives:

  1. To suppress the spread of Christianity. By the early 17th century, Catholicism had spread throughout the world. Tokugawa feared that trade with western powers would cause further instability in the nation. Thus, the isolation policy expelled foreigners and did not allow international travel. [3][4]
  2. The Japanese feared that foreign trade and the wealth developed would lead to the rise of a daimyō powerful enough to overthrow the ruling Tokugawa clan, especially after seeing what happened to China during the Opium Wars. [5][6]

By the early 19th century, this policy of isolation was increasingly under challenge. In 1844, King William II of the Netherlands sent a letter urging Japan to end the isolation policy on its own before change would be forced from the outside. In 1846, an official American expedition led by Commodore James Biddle arrived in Japan asking for ports to be opened for trade but was sent away. [7]

In 1853, United States Navy Commodore Matthew C. Perry was sent with a fleet of warships by U.S. President Millard Fillmore to force the opening of Japanese ports to American trade, [8] through the use of gunboat diplomacy if necessary. [9] The growing commerce between America and China, the presence of American whalers in waters offshore Japan, and the increasing monopolization of potential coaling stations by the British and French in Asia were all contributing factors. The Americans were also driven by concepts of manifest destiny and the desire to impose the benefits of western civilization and the Christian religion on what they perceived as backward Asian nations. [10] From the Japanese perspective, increasing contacts with foreign warships and the increasing disparity between western military technology and the Japanese feudal armies created growing concern. The Japanese had been keeping abreast of world events via information gathered from Dutch traders in Dejima and had been forewarned by the Dutch of Perry's voyage. [11] There was a considerable internal debate in Japan on how best to meet this potential threat to Japan's economic and political sovereignty in light of events occurring in China with the Opium Wars.

Perry arrived with four warships at Uraga, at the mouth of Edo Bay on July 8, 1853. He blatantly refused Japanese demands that he proceed to Nagasaki, which was the designated port for foreign contact. After threatening to continue directly on to Edo, the nation's capital, and to burn it to the ground if necessary, he was allowed to land at nearby Kurihama on July 14 and to deliver his letter. [12] Such refusal was intentional, as Perry wrote in his journal: “To show these princes how little I regarded their order for me to depart, on getting on board I immediately ordered the whole squadron underway, not to leave the bay… but to go higher up… would produce a decided influence upon the pride and conceit of the gov’t, and cause a more favorable consideration of the President’s letter." [13] Perry’s power front did not stop with refusing to land in Uraga, but he continued to push the boundaries of the Japanese. He ordered the squadron to survey Edo bay, which led to a stand-off between Japanese officers with swords and Americans with guns. By firing the guns into the water, Perry demonstrated their military might, which greatly affected Japanese perceptions of Perry and the United States. Namely, a perception of fear and disrespect. [14]

Despite years of debate on the isolation policy, Perry's letter created great controversy within the highest levels of the Tokugawa shogunate. The shōgun himself, Tokugawa Ieyoshi, died days after Perry's departure and was succeeded by his sickly young son, Tokugawa Iesada, leaving effective administration in the hands of the Council of Elders (rōjū) led by Abe Masahiro. Abe felt that it was impossible for Japan to resist the American demands by military force and yet was reluctant to take any action on his own authority for such an unprecedented situation. Attempting to legitimize any decision taken, Abe polled all of the daimyō for their opinions. This was the first time that the Tokugawa shogunate had allowed its decision-making to be a matter of public debate and had the unforeseen consequence of portraying the shogunate as weak and indecisive. [15] The results of the poll also failed to provide Abe with an answer of the 61 known responses, 19 were in favour of accepting the American demands and 19 were equally opposed. Of the remainder, 14 gave vague responses expressing concern of possible war, 7 suggested making temporary concessions and 2 advised that they would simply go along with whatever was decided. [16]

Perry returned again on February 11, 1854, with an even larger force of eight warships and made it clear that he would not be leaving until a treaty was signed. Perry continued his manipulation of the setting, such as keeping himself aloof from lower-ranking officials, implying the use of force, surveying the harbor, and refusing to meet in the designated negotiation sites. Negotiations began on March 8 and proceeded for around one month. Each party shared a performance when Perry arrived. The Americans had a technology demonstration, and the Japanese had a sumo wrestling show. [17] While the new technology awed the Japanese people, Perry was unimpressed by the sumo wrestlers and perceived such performance as foolish and degrading: “This disgusting exhibition did not terminate until the whole twenty-five had, successively, in pairs, displayed their immense powers and savage qualities." [18] The Japanese side gave in to almost all of Perry's demands, with the exception of a commercial agreement modelled after previous American treaties with China, which Perry agreed to defer to a later time. The main controversy centered on the selection of the ports to open, with Perry adamantly rejecting Nagasaki. The treaty, written in English, Dutch, Chinese and Japanese, was signed on March 31, 1854, at what is now Kaikō Hiroba (Port Opening Square) Yokohama, a site adjacent to the current Yokohama Archives of History. [16]

The "Japan-US Treaty of Peace and Amity" has twelve articles:

Article Summary
§ I Mutual peace between the United States and the Empire of Japan
§ II Opening of the ports of Shimoda & Hakodate
§ III Assistance to be provided to shipwrecked American sailors
§ IV Shipwrecked sailors not to be imprisoned or mistreated
§ V Freedom of movement for temporary foreign residents in treaty ports (with limitations) [19]
§ VI Trade transactions to be permitted
§ VII Currency exchange to facilitate any trade transactions to be allowed
§ VIII Provisioning of American ships to be a Japanese government monopoly
§ IX Japan to give the United States any favourable advantages which might be negotiated by Japan with any other foreign government in the future
§ X Forbidding the United States from using any other ports aside from Shimoda and Hakodate
§ XI Opening of an American consulate at Shimoda
§ XII Treaty to be ratified within 18 months of signing

At the time, shōgun Tokugawa Iesada was the de facto ruler of Japan for the Emperor of Japan to interact in any way with foreigners was out of the question. Perry concluded the treaty with representatives of the shogun, led by plenipotentiary Hayashi Akira ( 林韑 ) and the text was endorsed subsequently, albeit reluctantly, by Emperor Kōmei. [20] The treaty was ratified on February 21, 1855. [21]

In the short term, the U.S. was content with the agreement since Perry had achieved his primary objective of breaking Japan's sakoku policy and setting the grounds for protection of American citizens and an eventual commercial agreement. On the other hand, the Japanese were forced into this trade, and many saw it as a sign of weakness. The Tokugawa shogunate could point out that the treaty was not actually signed by the shogun, or indeed any of his rōjū, and that it had at least temporarily averted the possibility of immediate military confrontation. [22]

Externally, the treaty led to the United States-Japan Treaty of Amity and Commerce, the "Harris Treaty" of 1858, which allowed the establishment of foreign concessions, extraterritoriality for foreigners, and minimal import taxes for foreign goods. The Japanese chafed under the "unequal treaty system" which characterized Asian and western relations during this period. [23] The Kanagawa treaty was also followed by similar agreements with the United Kingdom (Anglo-Japanese Friendship Treaty, October 1854), Russia (Treaty of Shimoda, February 7, 1855), and France (Treaty of Amity and Commerce between France and Japan, October 9, 1858).

Internally, the treaty had far-reaching consequences. Decisions to suspend previous restrictions on military activities led to re-armament by many domains and further weakened the position of the shogun. [24] Debate over foreign policy and popular outrage over perceived appeasement to the foreign powers was a catalyst for the sonnō jōi movement and a shift in political power from Edo back to the Imperial Court in Kyoto. The opposition of Emperor Kōmei to the treaties further lent support to the tōbaku (overthrow the shogunate) movement, and eventually to the Meiji Restoration, which affected all realms of Japanese life. Following this period came an increase in foreign trade, the rise of Japanese military might, and the later rise of Japanese economic and technological advancement. Westernization at the time was a defense mechanism, but Japan has since found a balance between Western popular culture and Japanese tradition. [25]

The United States and the Opening to Japan, 1853

On July 8, 1853, American Commodore Matthew Perry led his four ships into the harbor at Tokyo Bay , seeking to re-establish for the first time in over 200 years regular trade and discourse between Japan and the western world.

Although he is often credited with opening Japan to the western world, Perry was not the first westerner to visit the islands. Portuguese, Spanish, and Dutch traders engaged in regular trade with Japan in the 16th and 17th centuries. Persistent attempts by the Europeans to convert the Japanese to Catholicism and their tendency to engage in unfair trading practices led Japan to expel most foreigners in 1639. For the two centuries that followed, Japan limited trade access to Dutch and Chinese ships with special charters.

There were several reasons why the United States became interested in revitalizing contact between Japan and the West in the mid-19th century. First, the combination of the opening of Chinese ports to regular trade and the annexation of California, creating an American port on the Pacific, ensured that there would be a steady stream of maritime traffic between North America and Asia. Then, as American traders in the Pacific replaced sailing ships with steam ships, they needed to secure coaling stations, where they could stop to take on provisions and fuel while making the long trip from the United States to China. The combination of its advantageous geographic position and rumors that Japan held vast deposits of coal increased the appeal of establishing commercial and diplomatic contacts with the Japanese. Additionally, the American whaling industry had pushed into the North Pacific by the mid-18th century, and sought safe harbors, assistance in case of shipwrecks, and reliable supply stations. In the years leading up to the Perry mission, a number of American sailors found themselves shipwrecked and stranded on Japanese shores, and tales of their mistreatment at the hands of the unwelcoming Japanese spread through the merchant community and across the United States.

The same combination of economic considerations and belief in Manifest Destiny that motivated U.S. expansion across the North American continent also drove American merchants and missionaries to journey across the Pacific. At the time, many Americans believed that they had a special responsibility to modernize and civilize the Chinese and Japanese. In the case of Japan, missionaries felt that Protestant Christianity would be accepted where Catholicism had generally been rejected. Other Americans argued that, even if the Japanese were unreceptive to Western ideals, forcing them to interact and trade with the world was a necessity that would ultimately benefit both nations.

Commodore Perry’s mission was not the first American overture to the Japanese. In the 1830s, the Far Eastern squadron of the U.S. Navy sent several missions from its regional base in Guangzhou (Canton), China, but in each case, the Japanese did not permit them to land, and they lacked the authority from the U.S. Government to force the issue. In 1851, President Millard Fillmore authorized a formal naval expedition to Japan to return shipwrecked Japanese sailors and request that Americans stranded in Japan be returned to the United States. He sent Commodore John Aulick to accomplish these tasks, but before Aulick left Guangzhou for Japan, he was relieved of his post and replaced by Commodore Matthew Perry. A lifetime naval officer, Perry had distinguished himself in the Mexican-American War and was instrumental in promoting the United States Navy’s conversion to steam power.

Perry first sailed to the Ryukyus and the Bonin Islands southwest and southeast of the main Japanese islands, claiming territory for the United States, and demanding that the people in both places assist him. He then sailed north to Edo (Tokyo) Bay, carrying a letter from the U.S. President addressed to the Emperor of Japan. By addressing the letter to the Emperor, the United States demonstrated its lack of knowledge about the Japanese government and society. At that time, the Japanese emperor was little more than a figurehead, and the true leadership of Japan was in the hands of the Tokugawa Shogunate.

Perry arrived in Japanese waters with a small squadron of U.S. Navy ships, because he and others believed the only way to convince the Japanese to accept western trade was to display a willingness to use its advanced firepower. At the same time, Perry brought along a variety of gifts for the Japanese Emperor, including a working model of a steam locomotive, a telescope, a telegraph, and a variety of wines and liquors from the West, all intended to impress upon the Japanese the superiority of Western culture. His mission was to complete an agreement with the Japanese Government for the protection of shipwrecked or stranded Americans and to open one or more ports for supplies and refueling. Displaying his audacity and readiness to use force, Perry’s approach into the forbidden waters around Tokyo convinced the Japanese authorities to accept the letter.

The following spring, Perry returned with an even larger squadron to receive Japan’s answer. The Japanese grudgingly agreed to Perry’s demands, and the two sides signed the Treaty of Kanagawa on March 31, 1854. According to the terms of the treaty, Japan would protect stranded seamen and open two ports for refueling and provisioning American ships: Shimoda and Hakodate. Japan also gave the United States the right to appoint consuls to live in these port cities, a privilege not previously granted to foreign nations. This treaty was not a commercial treaty, and it did not guarantee the right to trade with Japan. Still, in addition to providing for distressed American ships in Japanese waters, it contained a most-favored-nation clause, so that all future concessions Japan granted to other foreign powers would also be granted to the United States. As a result, Perry’s treaty provided an opening that would allow future American contact and trade with Japan .

The first U.S. consul assigned to a Japanese port was Townsend Harris. Like many of the early consuls in Asia, Harris was a New York merchant dealing with Chinese imports. He arrived in Shimoda in 1856, but, lacking the navy squadron that strengthened Perry’s bargaining position, it took Harris far longer to convince the Japanese to sign a more extended treaty. Ultimately, Japanese officials learned of how the British used military action to compel the opening to China, and decided that it was better to open its doors willingly than to be forced to do so. The United States and Japan signed their first true commercial treaty, sometimes called the Harris Treaty, in 1858. The European powers soon followed the U.S. example and drew up their own treaties with Japan. Japan sent its first mission to the West in 1860, when Japanese delegates journeyed to the United States to exchange the ratified Harris Treaty.

Although Japan opened its ports to modern trade only reluctantly, once it did, it took advantage of the new access to modern technological developments. Japan ’s opening to the West enabled it to modernize its military, and to rise quickly to the position of the most formidable Asian power in the Pacific. At the same time, the process by which the United States and the Western powers forced Japan into modern commercial intercourse, along with other internal factors, weakened the position of the Tokugawa Shogunate to the point that the shogun fell from power. The Emperor gained formal control of the country in the Meiji Restoration of 1868, with long-term effects for the rule and modernization of Japan .

This Day In History: Commodore Matthew Perry Signed The Treaty Of Kanagawa

This day in history, March 31, 1854, Commodore Matthew Calbraith Perry signed the Treaty of Kanagawa, also known as the Convention of Kanagawa, with the Japanese government, opening the ports of Shimoda and Hakodate to American trade and establishing a position of an American consul in Japan.

In 1852, Perry was sent with a fleet of warships by President Millard Fillmore to force the opening of Japanese ports to American trade and use gunboat diplomacy if necessary.

On July 8, 1853, Perry sailed into Tokyo Bay with a squadron of four U.S. warships. The Japanese demanded he proceed to Nagasaki, the nation’s designated port for foreign contact. He threatened the Japanese that he would continue onto Edo, now known as Tokyo, and burn it to the ground. The Japanese allowed him to land at Kurihama and deliver his letters from President Fillmore. This marked the first time a Western nation established relations with Japan since the nation declared it would close off relations with foreigners in 1683.

After giving Japan time to consider the establishment of external relations, Perry returned to Tokyo and said he would not leave until a treaty was signed. On March 31, the Treaty of Kanagawa was signed and Japan opened up trade to the United States.

Treaty of Kanagawa signed with Japan - HISTORY

Young fisherman Nakahama Manjiro (later known as John Manjiro) is shipwrecked and rescued by an American whaling vessel and taken to the U.S.

Ranald McDonald becomes the first American to come to Japan after he pretends to be shipwrecked.

Commodore Matthew Perry and the "Black Ships" arrive at Uraga, Kanagawa.

Commodore Matthew Perry returns to Japan and the Treaty of Peace and Amity between the U.S. and Japan (Treaty of Kanagawa) is signed.

The first U.S. consul, Townsend Harris, arrives at Shimoda.

U.S.-Japan Treaty of Amity and Commerce is signed, and Townsend Harris becomes the first U.S. Consul to Japan.

The Shogunate sends the first overseas mission to the U.S. to ratify the U.S.-Japan Treaty of Amity and Commerce. The mission is accompanied by the Kanrin maru, a Japanese ship.

Iwakura Mission visits the U.S. and Europe.

Former President Grant visits Japan and meets the Emperor Meiji.

Russo-Japanese War starts. The Treaty of Portsmouth, which ended the war in 1905, is mediated by President Roosevelt.

1908 Japan-U.S. Gentlemen's Agreement limits the number of Japanese immigrants to the U.S.

The first U.S. Major League baseball team visits Japan.

The Japanese attack Pearl Harbor and the Pacific War begins.

Internment of Japanese Americans begins.

Atomic bombs are dropped on Nagasaki and Hiroshima.
Japan accepts the Potsdam Declaration.
Douglas MacArthur, Supreme Commander for the Allied Powers, arrives in Japan and the U.S.-led occupation starts.

The San Francisco Peace Treaty and the Japan-U.S. Security Treaty are signed.

Japan is granted membership in the United Nations.

The Second Japan-U.S. Security Treaty is signed.
Crown Prince Akihito and Crown Princess Michiko (now the Emperor and Empress) visit the U.S.

Okinawa is returned to Japan by the U.S.

President Ford becomes the first U.S. president to visit Japan.

The first summit meeting of industrial democracies takes place in France.

On March 31, 1854, the first treaty between Japan and the United States was signed. He succeeded in getting two coaling ports for the Navy’s new steamships and in protecting America’s oil workers (the whalers). He did not, however, open Japan to trade.

The Treaty of Kanagawa was an 1854 agreement between the United States of America and the government of Japan. In what became known as “the opening of Japan,” the two countries agreed to engage in limited trade and to agree to the safe return of American sailors who had become shipwrecked in Japanese waters.

Timeline of Events in Japan

United States Commodore Matthew Perry’s “black ships’ arrive in Edo Bay.

Perry returns and negotiates Treaty of Kanagawa. First treaty signed between Japan and the United States. Treaty is instrumental in dismantling the two-century-old policy of isolation.

The shogunate signs Harris Treaty between U.S. and Japan opening up eight Japanese ports to American merchants and giving the U.S. “most favored nation” trade status.

First Japanese mission is sent to the United States.

Keiki, the last Tokugawa shogun, resigns, ending the Tokugawa shogunate.

Meiji period begins and the Charter Oath is written. Shōgunate replaced with central power, old samurai class eliminated, primary education and universal military service for men becomes compulsory. Edo is renamed Tokyo. Capital moved from Kyoto to Tokyo the following year.

Iwakura Mission departs for the West. Aim is to observe and learn about western models and methods of civil governance.

Meiji Constitution is promulgated

First Diet convened. The Imperial Rescript on Education is issued.

Sino-Japanese War. Japan is victorious and asserts its first gains as an imperial power. Korea is “turned over” (colonized) to Japan and China cedes Taiwan to Japan

Russo-Japanese War. Japan is victorious against Czarist Russia.

The United States and Japan reach a Gentleman’s Agreement stating that the United States would neither impose nor enforce restrictions on Japanese immigration and Japan would not allow further emigration to the United States

Emperor Meiji dies. His eldest son, Yoshihito, ascends to throne. Taisho period begins

World War I. Japan is allied with the U.S. and Great Britain.

Japan fails to get Racial Equality clause inserted into the covenant of the League of Nations.

Great Kantō Earthquake - deadliest in Japan’s history. Cities such as Tokyo re-designed after being leveled.

Johnson-Reed Immigration Act signed barring all Japanese entrance to the United States.

Universal male suffrage instituted. The electorate increases fivefold.

Extreme nationalism takes hold in Japan. Emphasizes preservation of traditional Japanese values and rejection of “Western” influence.

London Naval Treaty signed.

Manchuria is invaded and occupied.

Japan renames Manchuria Manchukuo and installs a puppet regimes lead by Emperor Puyi (The Last Emperor.)

Japanese prime minister is assassinated by ultra-nationalists. Military holds increasing influence in country.

Japan withdraws from League of Nations after condemnation by the international community regarding their occupation of Manchuria and est. of Manchukuo.

November 25th: Japan sign the Anti-Comintern Pact with Nazi Germany. It concludes a similar agreement with Italy in 1937.

July 7th: Marco Polo Bridge Incident in China initiates invasion of mainland China. Battle of Shanghai occurs from mid August-November followed by the occupation of Beijing and the then capital city, Nanjing.

December 13, 1937 Nanjing occupied. Height of mass violence lasts until February 1938. Nanjing remains an occupied city throughout World War II in China.

Outbreak of World War II in Europe. With the fall of France to Nazi Germany in 1940, Japan moves to occupy French Indo-China

Axis alliance among Rome, Berlin and Tokyo is formed.

Japan attack on the U.S. Pacific fleet at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. The US and its main allies declare war on Japan the following day.

Japan occupy the Philippines, Dutch East Indies, Burma and Malaya. In June, U.S. aircraft carriers defeat the Japanese at the Battle of Midway. The U.S. begins a strategy of "'island-hopping", cutting the Japanese support lines as its forces advance.

U.S. forces are near enough to Japan to start large scale bombing raids on Japanese cities.

U.S. planes drop two atomic bombs, one on Hiroshima (6 August), the second on Nagasaki (9 August). Emperor Hirohito surrenders and relinquishes his divine status. Japan is placed under U.S. military government on August 15, 1945. All Japanese military and naval forces are disbanded.

A new constitution with parliamentary system and all adults eligible to vote. Japan renounces war, pledges not to maintain land, sea or air forces for that purpose. The emperor is granted ceremonial status.

Black Ships of 'shock and awe'

Whatever Washington would have the world think, many people will only ever believe that the recent U.S. invasion of Iraq was for oil. However, U.S. power diplomacy of the Bush administration’s “neoconservative” type is neither a new phenomenon, nor one confined to the Muslim Middle East.

On the third day of June 150 years ago (in July on the current calendar), Americans came to Japan for oil and to expand their sphere of influence around the Pacific. Commodore Matthew Calbraith Perry’s “Black Ships” that appeared belching smoke from their funnels off Uraga at the mouth of Edo Bay presented such “shock and awe” to Japanese that the country was forced to end its closed-door policy that had lasted more than two centuries. Within little more than a decade, fundamental “regime change” was to follow.

To the Unites States in those days, oil meant whales. After good whaling grounds were discovered off Japan’s coasts in the early 1800s, American whalers flocked to the western Pacific and started to monopolize the waters. By the mid-1840s, hundreds were sailing to the Far East annually, primarily hunting huge, oil-rich sperm whales.

As a result, one of Perry’s missions from U.S. President Millard Fillmore was to acquire the right from the isolationist Tokugawa Shogunate — by force or negotiation — to establish coaling stations in ports along the Japanese coast. In addition, the United States hoped to emulate its rival, Britain, by expanding its trade with China and opening Japanese ports as stepping stones for its merchant ships and liners.

With these aims uppermost, Perry’s squadron set sail from Norfolk, Va., on Nov. 24, 1852. Crossing the North and South Atlantic, it rounded the Cape of Good Hope and crossed the Indian Ocean, stopping at Singapore, Hong Kong and Shanghai.

From there, before heading to Japan, Perry had one other item of business to take care of. So, on May 26, 1853, his fleet entered the port of Naha in the Ryukyus, where he threatened to land 200 troops and occupy Shuri Castle if the Okinawan government denied his demand to open ports to U.S. vessels for coaling and trade.

Perry had thoroughly studied Japan and its relations with China, the Netherlands and the Ryukyu Kingdom. In his view, because the Ryukyu Kingdom was effectively an oppressed protectorate of the Satsuma domain (in Kyushu’s present-day Kagoshima Prefecture) “liberating the islanders from this regime and occupying the region would be the most appropriate and morally correct course of action. As far as I’m concerned, it would greatly improve the lives of the islanders. Without doubt, the Ryukyuans would welcome America.”

He wasn’t wrong. Without Perry even having to demonstrate any military might, and without any Satsuma resistance, the Ryukyu government surrendered unconditionally.

However, he was not assuming things would go as smoothly at his final destination. So, for the following two weeks in Okinawa, his men were drilled relentlessly in preparation for a military option if Japanese forces attacked. Then, after leaving Okinawa on June 9, Perry’s fleet headed for the Ogasawara Islands to secure possible sites for port construction on Chichijima Island in case his proposal to the shogunate was rebuffed.

Finally, in the late afternoon of June 3 in the sixth year of Kaei (July 8, 1853 on today’s calendar), the four Black Ships — the steamers Susquehanna and Mississippi, and the sloops Saratoga and Plymouth — anchored off the town of Uraga (now part of Yokosuka, Kanagawa Prefecture) as thousands of Japanese on shore gazed at the “smoldering” vessels in amazement.

To the eyes of both the townspeople and shogunal officials, Perry’s ships appeared awesomely massive, as the isolationist shogunate banned the construction of any vessel over 1,000 goku (about 100 tons) or with more than one mast. Here, they were confronted with one of the world’s largest vessels in the menacing shape of the 2,450-ton Susquehanna, while even the smallest of the fleet, the Saratoga, had a displacement of 882 tons.

Fishermen in Shimoda in the southern Izu Peninsula who had seen the fleet heading north had reported to authorities earlier that they were perplexed as to how the ships were able to sail into a northerly wind after furling their sails. Sure enough, Japan’s awe was not just at the ships’ size, but at their power, as steamers were unknown.

Off Uraga, some 1,500 U.S. troops aboard the ships were ordered to battle stations, ready for action with cannon loaded and weapons to hand. The domains responsible for the defense of Edo Bay — Hikone (Shiga Prefecture), Aizu (Fukushima Prefecture), Oshi and Kawagoe (both Saitama Prefecture) — immediately rushed contingents of samurai to the scene. Shogunate officials at Uraga, however, reacted relatively calmly at first. Dozens of small boats, carrying among others Nakajima Saburosuke, deputy chief of the Uraga Magistrate, and Hori Tatsunosuke, a Dutch translator, approached the Black Ships to ask their nationality and the purpose of their arrival — in Dutch.

Perry’s side demanded that top shogunate authorities receive a letter from the U.S. president — a demand the officials refused, instead telling the foreigners to go to Nagasaki. The Americans then threatened the Japanese officials they would force their way into Edo with their military might and deliver the letter to the shogun themselves if their request to land was refused.

After a short consultation, a compromise was reached, with the Americans saying they would wait just three days for the shogunate’s decision.

In fact there was a good reason why the Ugara authorities didn’t panic as the townspeople did. A year before, the shogunate had been told that Americans were coming by Dutch sources in Nagasaki’s Dejima, a man-made island where Dutch merchants were the only Westerners allowed to trade with Japan. The information was treated as top secret and was disclosed only to powerful daimyo like Shimazu Nariakira of Satsuma — although the shogunate did not map out any countermeasures.

On hearing the news of the Americans’ arrival, Chief Senior Councilor Abe Masahiro — based at Edo Castle 50 km away — was pressured by other shogunal officials who were split over whether or not to receive the U.S. letter. Since the Tokugawa Shogunate completely closed the country to the world in 1641, it had never accepted such diplomatic papers, except from Korea and the Ryukyus.

The post of chief senior councilor (roju shuza) was like that of today’s prime minister, assisted by several other senior councilors (roju), while the post of shogun was little more than symbolic by that time in the Edo Period (1603-1867). Abe had been promoted to his top position in 1845, at the unprecedentedly young age of 25. Now still only 33, Abe had to make the grave decision of whether to abandon the centuries-old sakoku (closed country) principle of the House of Tokugawa and make official contact with the West.

Abe decided to consult with Tokugawa Nariaki, the retired daimyo of Mito (Ibaraki Prefecture) — one of the three branches of the House of Tokugawa besides Kishu (Wakayama Prefecture) and Owari (Aichi Prefecture) — who was viewed as the leading antiforeigner hardliner. With the permission of the 12th shogun, Tokugawa Ieyoshi, Abe visited the Mito domain’s Edo residence in Komagome. Although he had already resolved to receive the letter, Abe thought it wise to talk with the high-ranking xenophobe before making his decision public. Unexpectedly, he found Nariaki to be cool and realistic, claiming that it was too late to act tough as Japan’s coastal defenses were far from sufficient.

Afterward, upon receiving Abe’s decision, the Uraga Magistrate notified the American delegation that a landing had been approved on Kurihama Beach, just south of Uraga, on July 14.

That day, Perry went ashore at 9 a.m., accompanied by some 300 heavily armed officers, sailors and marines, and a military band. More than 5,000 samurai had been mobilized to guard the area. At the makeshift pavilion for the ceremony, Perry handed Fillmore’s letter and his own letters to Uraga’s two magistrates, Toda Izunokami and Ido Tsushimanokami. Ido returned a letter of receipt to Perry. The event was conducted without a word.

One of Perry’s letters said he would return to Edo Bay the following spring to receive the shogunate’s answer to Fillmore’s letter, dated Nov. 13, 1852, which urged Japan to sign a bilateral trade pact, to help its shipwrecked sailors, and to provide coaling stations and open ports for U.S. vessels.

His first task completed, Perry and his fleet departed Japan three days later.

Though not as crucial as this American incursion, the shogunate had faced unwanted port calls from foreigners before, especially since the early 19th century. Tsarist Russia sent a delegation led by Nikolai Petrovich Rezanov in 1803 on the pretext of returning four Japanese castaways. The delegation arrived in Nagasaki the following year to propose a trade pact, but was perfunctorily spurned by the shogunate.

In 1808, during the Napoleonic Wars, the British battleship Phaeton had entered Nagasaki port to seize Dutch vessels anchored at Dejima and take over Dutch offices there as the Netherlands had fallen under French control. Indeed, as Britain had by then seized the Dutch East Indies, the 13 sq. km of Dejima was the only place in the world over which the Dutch flag then flew. The Phaeton’s assault failed, due to staunch resistance from both the Dutch and Nagasaki Magistrate officials. Britain, however, did not back off so easily, and kept sending missions to Nagasaki, the Ryukyus, Uraga and Hitachi (Ibaraki Prefecture) between 1813 and 1824.

In light of these incidents, in 1825 the Tokugawa Shogunate ordered every domain in the country to fire on any foreign vessels that were spotted. That order replaced a previous one providing for coaling and provisioning facilities to be given to alien ships — before they were ordered away.

However, the shogunate’s hardline stance gave it serious pause for thought when Ching-Dynasty China was half-colonized by Britain in the First Opium War, which broke out in 1840 as a result of Peking’s ban on British exports of the Indian-grown narcotic. In 1842, the same year the war ended, the shogunate scrapped the tough order and reinstated the former rule.

At the same time, it started strengthening security around Edo by building batteries along the bay and mobilizing security personnel from several domains. Still, by 1846 there were only 28 cannons deployed along the bay, mainly around Shinagawa, along with about 5,900 guards. Such defenses, both Abe and some other senior officials realized, were totally insufficient to deter Western warships. Just then, the Black Ships arrived.

Immediately after Perry left, Abe summoned an unprecedented special-inquiry commission to hear a wide range of opinions on how Japan should respond to the U.S. demand. In view of what had happened in China, few doubted that anything less than the country’s fate was at stake. More than 700 opinions were submitted from almost all strata of society, including from daimyo, magistrates, academics — and even a Yoshiwara brothel owner. These opinions were categorized into three types: The shogunal tradition should be maintained Japan should accept U.S. demands at a minimum level and the country should build up its defense capability, funded through opening up to foreign trade.

Meanwhile, Edo Castle was in a state of confusion following the death of Shogun Ieyoshi and a report from Nagasaki that a squadron of four Russian battleships had entered the port, making demands similar to Perry’s. By September 1853, Abe had resolved to lift the ban on building, owning or operating large, ocean-going vessels to pave the way for Japan to open its doors to the world.

Earlier than scheduled, Perry returned to Japan via Okinawa after wintering along the China coast. His fleet had grown to seven, with the 2,415-ton Powhattan now his flagship. The squadron appeared off the Izu Peninsula on Feb. 8, 1854, and proceeded up Edo Bay, passing right by Uraga to finally drop anchor off Haneda. Surprised by the move, the shogunate provided the village of Yokohama near the post-town of Kanagawa as the venue for negotiations — by which time two more warships had joined the fleet.

Unlike the first U.S. visit, this time the shogunate was better prepared — reluctant but ready to accept Perry’s demands at the minimum level, with Emperor Komei’s approval. After several rounds of talks, the 12-provision Treaty of Kanagawa was signed March 31. It became the first international treaty in the history of Japan.

The treaty included provisions that Japan would rescue castaways, provide coal and necessary provisions to American ships that docked in Nagasaki, allow a consulate to be established in Shimoda and, in five years, open ports at Shimoda (Shizuoka Prefecture) and Hakodate (Hokkaido). Japan, however, refused to sign an agreement on opening itself for trade, which would have to wait until the 1858 Ansei Commercial Treaty.

Later the same year, though, the shogunate had to sign similar treaties with Russia and Britain — so accelerating its modernization and the imminent collapse of the Tokugawa regime.

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What nations signed the Treaty of Kanagawa?

Treaty of Kanagawa, also called Perry Convention, (March 31, 1854), Japan's first treaty with a Western nation. Concluded by representatives of the United States and Japan at Kanagawa (now part of Yokohama), it marked the end of Japan's period of seclusion (1639&ndash1854).

One may also ask, what happened with the Treaty of Kanagawa? Treaty of Kanagawa signed with Japan. In Tokyo, Commodore Matthew Calbraith Perry, representing the U.S. government, signs the Treaty of Kanagawa with the Japanese government, opening the ports of Shimoda and Hakodate to American trade and permitting the establishment of a U.S. consulate in Japan.

Correspondingly, what benefits did the Treaty of Kanagawa grant the US?

Granted US trading rights, opened ports, granted foreigners extraterritoriality and Japan lost all rights to place tariffs on goods.

Why was the Treaty of Kanagawa important?

The Treaty of Kanagawa was an 1854 agreement between the United States of America and the government of Japan. American political leaders believed their mission in the world was to expand American markets into Asia. The treaty was the first modern treaty Japan negotiated with a western nation.

Watch the video: Chimes WHAP Final: Treaty of Kanagawa (May 2022).