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The Signing of the Treaty of Kanagawa in 1854

Updated August 11, 2022

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The Signing of the Treaty of Kanagawa in 1854 essay

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In 1852 the United States appointed Commodore Mathew Perry to lead an expedition to Japan in efforts to open diplomatic and trade relations. Japan had been closed off from the rest of the world for over two hundred years. Only the Dutch and Chinese had limited contact with Japan. Perry and his soldiers sailed into the Japan’s Edo Bay in 1853. Commodore Perry presented the Shagun officials with a letter stating the Americans demands.

The Japanese were very intimidated by the arrival of the American troops, but were unprepared to immediately agree the terms. One year later, Commodore Perry and his troops returned. This time Perry brought of one quarter of the entire United States navy, which consisted of three steamboats and five sailing boats. The naval vessels were referred to as the Black Ships because of their black hulls and the large amounts of exhaust given off by the coal fed engines.

Perry used this great force to intimidate, threaten and final to persuade Japan into cooperating with the U.S. Perry was successful in negotiation a treaty between the U.S. and Japan, called the Kanagawa  Treaty. This was the first treaty Japan had ever signed with a Western nation.

The treaty required the Japanese to: open the ports of Shimoda and Hakodate to American ships provide supplies to these ships and treat American sailors with respect. After the details of the treaty were ironed out, a large celebration broke out in Japan.

Commodore Perry showered the Japanese with gifts. Much of these presents were a demonstration of Western technology. One of the greatest gifts presented by Perry was a miniature locomotive complete with railroad tracks. In turn, the Japanese contributed entertainment as well a presents to the Americans.

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The Signing of the Treaty of Kanagawa in 1854. (2019, Dec 13). Retrieved from