In the introduction of MC Perry's three-volume book, there was a summary of the history on the US/Japan relationship from the perspective of the American. The first paragraph is quoted below:
"In the year 1831, a Japanese junk was blown off the coast . . . and [the Japanese] went ashore on the western coast of America . . . and finally they were carried to Macao. . . their benevolent friends were ignorant of the Japanese law which prohibited the return of natives to Japan. . . Accordingly the Morrison . . . was fitted out for the voyage to Japan."1
When this ship reached the Bay of Edo, the Japanese officials soon showed their contempt and fired at the ship which had no other alternative but to return to Macao with the Japanese on board. In 1846 an expedition was dispatched to Japan by the US government. This expedition consisted of the Columbus and the Vincennes under the command of Commodore Biddle. In July the vessels reached the Bay of Edo, immediately they were surround by about 400 guard boats, some Japanese even climbed up the Vincennes. This expedition was a failure because their application for permission to trade with Japan was rejected. Japan maintained the policy of only to trade with Holland.2 The next visit to Japan was carried out in 1849 by commander Glynn in February 1849. One purpose of this trip was to seek for the release 16 American sailors held in Japan after shipwreck.When Glynnn arrived at Nagasaki, his vessels were surrounded by a number of boats. Eventually the sailors were released and the squadron headed by Preble returned to join a squadron stationed off the coast of China.3 The next attempt to open trade with Japan was performed by MC Perry, and he had successfully fulfilled the assignment. Before Perry died in March 1858, he strongly recommended Townsend Harris as the first American consul to Japan. Perry's recommendation of Harris reflected the keen judgement of men's ability of the former. Harris had proved to be a skillful diplomat who could develop US/Japan relation despite all kinds of difficulties.4 (to be continued)
1. Perry, Matthew Calbraith ed. by Sidney Wallach. Narrative of the Expedition of an American Squadron to the China Seas and Japan. NY: Coward-McCann, 1952, page xxxi.
2. Ibid., page xxxii
3. Ibid., page xxxiv
4. Ibid., page xxxv