Saturday, April 30, 2016

Perry Expedition and the Opening of Japan (Part 10): Visit to Shimoda and Hakodadi

Perry Meeting with Officials of Hakodadi (Hakodate)
Right after the Treaty of Kanagawa was signed, Perry then journeyed to visit the ports given access to them. Explore what Commodore Perry and his squadron experienced from these two ports.


After the signing of the landmark Treaty of Kanagawa, Perry decided to stay for few days in Yokohama before visiting the ports given access to Americans. On April 4, the Saratoga and Captain Adams left for the United States to deliver a copy of the Treaty to the President and Congress. Meanwhile, Perry, out of curiosity or even tactic to give the Japanese one last fright, he had the squadron sail further up the bay on April 9. He advanced to the anxiety and protest of the Japanese. But then, Perry did not want to give Japanese officials bad impression of unfaithfulness, and ordered to stop in Shinagawa before returning to American Anchorage by April 14.

On April 18, 1854, Perry sailed for Shimoda and arrived there by the afternoon. There he met with the local mayor and was given a feast in his honor. During the feast the Commodore tasted Japan’s saki and his officails looked at what seemed to be geishas presented to them. Also, the crew of his Squadron had the chance to interact with the locals. The squadron stayed for few weeks, resupplying, surveying, and meeting ordinary Japanese. Among the most shocking culture of the locals or even of the Japanese that horrified them was public bathhouses where men and women bathed together. For them, it was unthinkable in the United States and the west.

But besides knowing the local officials and the populace, Perry discussed with local officials the necessities needed for the Americans that would be coming to Shimoda. Lodgings were negotiated along with the limits up to where Americans could go. Much of it was accomplished before Perry decided to sail to the next port.

Hakodadi (Hakodate)

After staying in Shimoda for few days, Perry sailed to Hakodate to inspect its harbor. There, he negotiated the same conditions as in Shimoda. His stay there lasted for more than half a month because they waited for representatives from Edo tasked to formally inform the local Daimyo of the situation.

On May 6, 1854, the squadron sailed for Hakodadi in the island of Yesso, modern day Hokkaido. On that day, the Macedonian, Vandalia, and Southampton sailed for the northern port. Perry aboard the Powhatan and along with the Mississippi followed to Hakodate on May 13. On the 17th, American officials visited the local governor, Yendo Matzaimon, and discussed the objectives of the American squadron in Hakodadi. The Americans informed the governor that they intend to enforce the articles of the Kanagawa Treaty signed on March 31. They subtly threatened the governor that any opposition or deviation by the local officials would result to violence. Like what they asked in Shimoda, they negotiated the limits as to where Americans could roam freely, demanded freedom of movement of Americans within port limit, and asked for three building for the use of the Americans as lodgings. The local governor who showed reluctance, however, was not able to agree because he needed to receive first his instructions from Edo.

On May 19, 1854, high officials once again boarded the Mississippi, the flagship of the squadron at that moment. Matsmai Kageyo, a relative of the Daimyo of Matsumai, visited the squadron and informed them of his status as representative of the Daimyo who was unavailable. He accepted most of the American demands except issue of border limits. Only thing they needed to cement the agreement for Hakodadi was the arrival of the representatives from Edo.

Perry and the Squadron waited for more than ten days. During that time, they visited local villages and towns and met with locals. They even learned about the native Ainus of Yesso Island (Hokkaido). Finally, after more than a week of waiting, the representatives from Edo, Amma Zhiumnoshin and Hiryama Kenzhiro, arrived on June 1, 1854. They were supposed to meet the Commodore aboard the flagship Powhatan at 1 pm, but the representatives disappointingly arrived late. So late that Perry ordered a company of marine with two cannons to go ashore and show that they should act honorably and punctually. When the representatives finally boarded in the afternoon, they reasoned that they were preparing their gifts for the Commodore and apologized. Perry accepted their apology and the Americans informed the Japanese representatives of the recent events. The meeting only happened as a form of formality while many issues were already concluded except the issue of border limit that would be negotiated in Shimoda.

Return to Shimoda

After talks with the local official of Hakodadi, Perry returned to Shimoda to discuss issues not covered in the Kanagawa Treaty. His negotiations with the Japanese commissioners lasted about two weeks before it took a final conclusion. This last negotiations in Shimoda and the additional agreements concluded were the last activities of Perry before leaving Japan and finishing his expedition.

On June 7, 1854, Perry returned to Shimoda to negotiate with the Japanese commissioners concerning regulations needed along with the Kanagawa Treaty. Remaining issues included the border limit of Hakodadi, as well as jurisdiction on criminal offenses by Americans or by Japanese to Americans, the cementing of recent demands of buildings dedicated as lodgings for American travelers among others. The five original commissioners whom Perry had talk to back in March grew to seven with the addition of Lord Tsudzuki of Suraga and Takenochi Sheitaro.

During the talks, the Japanese informed the Americans that Shimoda was elevated to the position of imperial city with Lord Izawa of Mimasaki and Tzudzuki of Suraga as governor or bunyo while Kurokawa Kahiyeyo and Isesin Toheiro worked as lieutenant-governors. Because of its new status as imperial city and also to show the limits where Americans could move around, the commissioners informed Perry the government’s plan to erect wall across the port. Perry agreed.

Most of the issue were concluded quickly but one remained – the issue of border limit in Hakodadi. The commissioners always delayed the negotiation on the issue. Perry proposed 5 Japanese mile or ri but the Japanese rejected it. Few days later, the Japanese proposed 3 and a half ri but Perry refused. To the dismay of Perry and his officers, on June 13, 1854 the Japanese proposed 5 ri from the center of Hakodadi as limit border.

With the border limit issue resolved, the two parties then signed an agreement on additional regulations.

Agreement on Additional Regulations for the Treaty of Kanagawa

On June 17, 1854, Commodore Perry and the seven commissioners of the Japanese Empire signed an agreement binding both parties to additional regulations relating to the Treaty of Kanagawa. It settled many issues and cemented the new relation between the United States and Japan. And ultimately, it marked the end of Commodore Perry’s expedition.

The additional regulations included 12 articles. The agreement and regulations allowed Japanese to erect watch towers within Shimoda. It placed Americans committing crimes under the jurisdiction and authority of their respective ships. It called for the construction of three ports to cater different vessels coming to Shimoda. It prohibited Americans from entering to any military establishments or private houses, but it granted them free access to shops and temples. It allotted the Rioshen and Yokusen (Gyokusen) temples as temporary lodgings for Americans. Also part of the article allocated pieces of land from the respective temples as cemetery for deceased Americans. Because of information that Hakodadi (Hakodate) lacked coal, the Americans agreed to exempt it from becoming a coaling station. The agreement made Dutch as a medium of communication but in case of absence of an interpreter of the said language, Chinese was to be used. It assigned a harbor master and 3 pilots to maintain the ports and watch over the ships arriving in Shimoda. It reiterated that any goods that the American ships would purchase, especially supplies, must be from the local government office or goyoshi. Then it banned hunting of animals; and, finally established the border limit of Hakodadi to 5 ri

The agreement expounded the Treaty of Kanagawa. It gave refuge and defined the areas where American would have freedom to roam and conduct business. For the Japanese, they remained weary over the deal. Nevertheless, they tried to contain the Americans in one area as a way to keep them from influencing the rest of the country and disturbing local politics. But perhaps it was also a chance for them to substantially open their country and to see the advantages and disadvantages of trade.

Perry’s Departure

By June 24, 1854, the copies of the regulation was given to Perry. During their last days, Americans conversed with Japanese officials  and talked about issues like the HMS Phaeton back in 1808. The Americans asked what happened to the governor that faced the British ship. The answer that they got horrified them as they learned of the governor’s forced suicide or hara kiri while others faced crucifixion in the most atrocious way. Then the Americans informed them that the arrogant captain of the ship became an admiral and warned the Japanese of his possible return to secure a treaty like they did.

On June 28, 1854, Perry and the whole squadron bid farewell to Japan as they leave the East Asian Islands. As they leave, they left a country undergoing a conflict of defining its future.

Explore also:
Beasley, W.G. The Modern History of Japan. New York, New York: Frederick A. Praeger, Publisher, 1963.

___________. The Meiji Restoration. Stanford, California: Stanford University Press, 1972.

Bolitho, Harold. “Abe Masahiro and the New Japan.” In The Bakufu in Japanese History, edited by Jeffrey Mass and William Hauser. Stanford, California: Stanford University Press, 1985.

Craig, Fairbank, and Edwin Reischauer. East Asia: The Modern Transformation. Boston, Massachusetts: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1965.

Davis, Geo. Lynn-Lachlan. A Paper Upon the Origin of the Japan Expedition. Baltimore, Maryland: John Murphy & Co., 1860.

Franz, Edgar. Philipp Franz von Siebold and Russian Policy and Action on Opening Japan to the West in the Middle of the Nineteenth Century. Munich: IUDICIUM Verlag, 2005.

Fukuzawa Yukichi. The Autobiography of Yukichi Fukuzawa. Translated by Eiichi Kiyooka. New York, New York: Columbia University Press, 2007.

Gordon, Andrew. A Modern History of Japan: From Tokugawa Times to the Present. New York, New York: Oxford University Press, 2003.

Hawks, Francis. Narrative of the Expedition of An American Squadron to The China Seas and Japan, Performed in the Years 1852, 1853, and 1854, under the Command of Commodore M.C. Perry, United States Navy by Order of the Government of the United States, Volume I. Washington D.C.: A.O.P. Nicholson, Printer, 1856. 

Henshall, Kenneth. A History of Japan: From Stone Age to Superpower. New York, New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2004.

Jansen, Marius. The Cambridge History of Japan, Volume 5: The Nineteenth Century. New York, New York: Cambridge University Press, 1989.

Murray, David. Japan. New York: G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 1896.

Nitobe Inazo. The Intercourse Between the United States and Japan: An Historical Sketch. Baltimore, Maryland: The John Hopkins Press, 1891.

Williams, S. Well. A Journal of the Perry Expedition to Japan (1853 – 1854) , Edited by F.W. Williams. n.p.: n.p., 1910.

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