The First Japanese Samurais arrived in the US on March 29,1860


"Tateishi Onojiro Norijuki, aka Tommy," (1860) by the studio of C.D. Fredricks & Co.

U.S. Commodore Matthew Perry shoved his ship into Edo during 1853. He sought to end the Tokugawa government and started capturing the Japanese community. Also during that era, Adm. Perry and the U.S. consul had destabilized such government resulting to food deprivation and political conflict. The U.S. created formal dealings in order to manage but disparagement of the Shoguns (a commander of a force) had commenced.

Throughout this commotion, a U.S.-Japan Treaty of Amity and Commerce was formed and a designated Japanese representative cruise to America to bring it to President Buchanan. It was March 29, 1860 when they reached San Francisco and such tour lasted for three months ending in New York. That started the new show “Samurai in New York” held at the Museum to honor its 150th anniversary.

Different displays were presented in the well-ventilated site. Among the entire exhibit, a souvenir to the U.S. Navy was in the central display case. A Japanese sword with a uniquely profiled sharp curving blade. It outlined the element for an introduction from the productions of Walt Whitman’s poem “The Errand Bearers.” The meaning was apparent, tensions that were rising en route for the Civil War had outmoded the Japanese visit in New Yorkers’ awareness and that time it made a huge impact.

The Show wasn’t presented remarkably as it seem. It was modest and needed a lot of wary understanding for it to become known. Gigantic enough, well-known photographers like Mathew Brady flew and incite the Japanese delegates. New Yorkers also rushed to buy those captured images of men in their kimonos.
As the principals claim the main stage, other imagery mark members of the assignment whose distinctiveness were lost. Opposing to American outlook, these were not superior affiliates of the shogunate. Most were in 20s and 30s and do not take any inventiveness. Unwilling to leave the Hotel, they visited a rubber factory, schools, hospitals, and naval shipyard.

As an effect, representatives frequently accounted life in the hotel. One picture shows how they use equipment such as sewing machine in which some became curious because it was new to them. Another picture displayed a reminder that Japan was eager to progress more technologically.

There were mainly two sides with different goals and showed different disappointments. For the Japanese, the visit was like a ritual. For the Americans, the celebrations were fixed to business. New York Merchants that were thankful for the opening of Japan and presented to Adm. Perry a silver service that is shown in a duplicate of the treaty. Unsure thoughts from the American side become noticeable as the show progress.

Members of the Japanese Embassy, photographed on their trip to America in 1860. Picture by C.D. Fredricks & Co

A song sheet’s lines displayed racial appellation while with the Japanese work of art showed a solemn appreciation of their ability. Some were uncertain in engaging affiliation with the Japanese; others were focusing onto their philanthropy. But without question when our exchange with Japan is fully open, goods that were bought by the Japanese will be returned to us in the figure of replication with enhancement.

Samurai in New York: The First Japanese Delegation, 1860
Through October 11, 2010

The exhibition documents the visit of the first Japanese ambassadors – 70 samurai – following the missions of Commodore Matthew Perry to Japan, starting beginning in 1852, that opened Japan to trade with the West.  In addition to important international trade documents, 19th-century photographs, ephemera related to the epic visit, newspaper accounts, the exhibition features 19th-century woodblock prints, silver, ceramics, and jewelry.