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The caption title of an Edo period (c. 1853) newsprint; (Amerika Jokisen no Zu. Kairku o Kata o Yakunin fu), A view of Perry's Steamship. Woodblock printed during the Edo period, Kawaraban were illicitly illustrated news sheets ment for the streets. Produced when anything unordinary, or gossip worthy happened, the arrival of the American squadron commanded by Perry in 1853 and 54 became the most talked about, sensationalized, newsworthy event that the Japanese had ever seen. For many Japanese, it was the first time anyone had ever laid eyes on the enormous black hulled steamships, crewed in part by African-American sailors, all sailing under Perry's flag. The African sailors, adorned with the same black ink used for the hull of Perry's kurofune, or "Black ships", are portrayed in exaggerated forms, climbing the rigging, or standing lookout atop the giant masts. This was a common theme in many other similiar illustrations, as the African sailors created quite the headline at the time. The other sailers, all standing on deck, appear to be wearing Chinese or possibly Korean sampan hats.


The arrival of these massive foreign vessels was seen as a major blow to the credibility of the Shogun's rule, particulary the strict isolationist policies that had kept the island of Japan isolated from all foreigners. The technological supremecy of Perry's steamships, whom to the Japanese, commanded complete dominance of the sea's, was a major blow to the psyche of a nation that gave utter obediance to the once indomidable rule of the Shogun.

Date: c. 1953

Format: Kawaraban (illustrated news sheets folded into sections); Woodblock printed on cheap paper.


16'' x 12 1/4''


Very good condition, light fold marks.

Amerika Jokisen no Zu - A Japanese view of Perry's flagship, The Susquehanna


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