Illustration of Foreign Ships from North America (Ikokusen no Zu Kita-amerika)
Tokyo Shiryō Collection 697-1

In June 1853 (6th year of Kaei), the American East Indies fleet commanded by Admiral Perry which included four ships two of which were steamships, arrived in Uraga and hastened the Bakufu Administration to open up the country. This work depicts the black ships at that time.


There remain many single sheet paintings and booklets depicting the arrival of the black ships. The shock of such an event must have been truly great to many of the people.
his work depicts Perry's fleet's route and their landing at Kurihama (Yokosuka city, Kanagawa prefecture). Explanations are added to detailed images of the ships painted from the front, behind and the side, including sailboats as well as steamships.
he steamships painted here are known as the "black ships". In Japan at that time only sailboats were used so this was the first time Japanese laid eyes upon steamships. It was for this very reason that people reacted with both a sense of horror and curiosity. After this, the clans of Japan purchased steamboats or otherwise found the means to construct their own as the Satsuma domain did. The arrival of the black ships also brought a large influence on Japan's military preparation.

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