In the early days of July 1853, the residents of Uraga on the outskirts of the feudal capital of Japan at Edo were privy to a rather unusual sight: Four hulking foreign warships had entered their harbor under the power of coal, and under the command of Commodore Matthew Perry of the United States. So began one of the pivotal cultural interactions between East and West. Commodore Perry came as an emissary of the United States in order to create a formal relationship with the empire of Japan. Developed by Professors John W. Dower and Shigeru Miyagawa from MIT, this site brings together a wealth of rarely seen graphics from both sides of this historic encounter, and original textual commentaries by Professor Dower. The Core Exhibit area contains the bulk of these amazing visual materials, including those renderings of the initial encounters of the two cultures in the years 1853 and 1854 and some revealing portraits of both Japanese officials and Commodore Perry himself. Visitors should not leave the site without viewing at least part of the interactive recreation of the 30-foot-long Japanese Black Ship Scroll, which was painted in 1854. The scroll features a number of scenes documenting these encounters, and also includes explanatory text as well.
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