Press Release
Press Release · Monday, March 8, 2004

Press Release
March 8, 2004

National Archives Commemorates 150th Anniversary of U.S. - Japan Relations

Washington, DC. . .To commemorate the 150th anniversary of the signing of the Treaty of Kanagawa, the National Archives will host a series of programs and an exhibition of original documents including all four versions of the Treaty. The festivities will be held at the National Archives Building, located on Constitution Avenue, between 7th and 9ths Streets, NW, unless otherwise noted. The exhibition is open daily, from 10 AM to 7 PM through Friday, May 28; 10 AM to 9 PM beginning Saturday, May 29 through Labor Day. All activities are free and open to the public.

March 2004

"The Treaty of Kanagawa: Setting the Stage for Japanese-American Relations"
Special Exhibition Gallery
March 27 through September 6

For the first time, all four original language versions of the Treaty (English, Japanese, Dutch and Chinese) will be on display, as well as handwritten journals and notes of Commodore Matthew Perry, the naval commander who led the mission to Japan.

The Treaty of Kanagawa, signed on March 31, 1854, signaled the end of Japan's more than 200 year-old policy of seclusion. While the Treaty did not immediately establish commerce, it did open Japanese coaling ports to the United States, and it provided safety for American shipwrecked whalers and the establishment of a permanent American consul.

"Black Ships and Samurai"
Special Exhibition Gallery
March 31 through April 27

The traveling exhibition "Black Ships and Samurai" will be on display in the Special Exhibition Gallery. The exhibition juxtaposes Japanese and American images of Commodore Perry, his ships, and the people that Perry encountered to illuminate cross-cultural perspectives on Perry's mission and his encounters with Japan. The exhibition, based on the MIT OpenCourseWare unit developed by Professors John W. Dower and Shigeru Miyagawa, is presented by MIT in partnership with the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs through the U.S. Consulate System.

U.S.-Japan Relations Lecture
Tuesday, March 23

Naoyuki Agawa, Minister for Public Affairs, Embassy of Japan, will discuss "They All Came to Look for America: Early Japanese Visitors to the United States after Perry." During the 150 years of U.S.-Japan relations, many Japanese individuals have visited the United States. Some of them, like de Tocqueville in 1830s, kept detailed records of their experiences in America. What did they find in this country? What fascinated them most? This speech will tell the American journeys of a few early Japanese visitors to America. 7 p.m. Jefferson Room (Room 122). Seating is limited; call 202-501-5000 for reservations.

"Drifting Toward the Southeast: The Story of Five Japanese Castaways"
Lecture and Booksigning
Tuesday, March 30

Junji Kitadai and Joseph Thomas will discuss "Drifting Toward the Southeast: The Story of Five Japanese Castaways." This book represents the first complete English language edition of "Hyoson Kiryaku"-the official, autobiographical account of John Manjiro's historic voyage to the United States as told to the officials of the Shogunate in 1852. Shipwrecked in 1841, Mr. Manjiro was rescued by an American whaler and brought to New England, where he attended school and learned the maritime trades. Longing for Japan, he joined the California Gold Rush and struck gold, earning enough to make his passage home. Mr. Kitadai has more than 40 years' experience in broadcast journalism both in Japan and the United States as a correspondent and news executive. Joseph Thomas is co-editor of the book and publisher of Spinner Publications. 7 p.m. Jefferson Room (Room 122). Seating is limited; call 202-501-5000 for reservations.

April 2004

Wreath Laying Ceremony and Lecture Program
Friday, April 2

U.S. Navy Memorial, Pennsylvania Avenue between 7th and 9th Streets, NW Co-sponsored by the National Archives, the Naval Historical Center, the U.S. Navy Memorial, The Naval Order, and the Naval Historical Foundation. 2:30 p.m.

U.S.-Japan Relations
Lecture and Booksigning
Tuesday, April 13

Journalist and historian Peter Booth Wiley will discuss U.S.-Japan relations, drawing in part on his book Yankees in the Land of the Gods: Commodore Perry and the Opening of Japan. 7 p.m. Jefferson Conference Room (Room 122). Seating is limited; call 202-501-5000 for reservations.

Japanese and American Expansion
Lecture and Booksigning
Tuesday, April 27

Professor Akira Iriye will present a talk based on his book Pacific Estrangement: Japanese and American Expansion, 1897-1911. Professor Iriye is the Charles Warren Professor of American History and Chair of the Department of History, Harvard University. 7 p.m. Jefferson Conference Room (Room 122). Seating is limited; call 202-501-5000 for reservations.

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For PRESS information, contact the National Archives Public Affairs staff at (301) 837-1700.

To verify the date and times of the programs, the public should call the Public Programs Line at: 202-501-5000, or view the Calendar of Events on the web at:


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