ペリー

16 Jun

Yesterday I went to the 江戸東京博物館 (Edo-Tokyo Museum) to see the マシュー・ペリー (Matthew C. Perry) exhibit.

Matthew C. Perry was a Commander in the U.S. Navy in the early 1800’s.

At that time, Japan was closed to foreign countries, and Perry was sent here by the American president to negotiate with Japan to signing a trade agreement with the United States.

The fact that Perry had a fleet of black, intimidating war-ships just off the coast of Japan played a big part in convincing Japan to open to the West.

The museum had, among many other interesting things, some 浮世絵 (Woodblock prints) that Japanese artists painted of Perry.

This was the first time any of them had seen foreigners or heard them speak. So the pictures that they painted of Perry had exaggerated features, such as huge noses and wildly curly hair.

And a couple of them had Perry’s name spelled (in Japanese) incorrectly. They wrote: ペルリ (Peruri) and ペロリ (Perori), instead of ペリー (Perry).

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By the way, I’m currently in the process of redesigning My Website ( http://www3.ocn.ne.jp/~tokyo5 )…it’s gonna look nicer, I think.

I’ll let you know when it’s done.

3 Responses to “ペリー”

  1. sfrunner June 16, 2008 at 11:03 am #

    tokyo5, because of my background, my dad shared to our family things about Commodore Perry. However, it’s true that the United States don’t mention it much, even in high school U.S. History classes. Our U.S. History teacher, Mr. Sherman spent a good part of his class one day talking about it. He did it from his notes. The U.S. History books didn’t mention it at the time. Perhaps they do now.

    Like

  2. tokyo5 June 16, 2008 at 10:37 am #

    MB…

    Yes, Japan has a long and complex history.
    It was mostly closed to the outside world until Commodore Perry came.

    I was surprised that you didn’t know about him…but I guess I shouldn’t be. Although everyone in Japan knows the story of ペリー (Perry), I guess he’s not known outside of this country (even in his own country: America).

    Every year there is a festival about Perry and his black ships in Kanagawa. The US Navy participates in the festival. Maybe I’ll attend the next one and post photos.

    About “Why?” Japan was closed off…that’s alot to write!
    But basically, depending on the Shogun who ruled Japan, the country either welcomed trade with limited countries or none at all.

    Japan, by the way, had no writing system until about 2000 years ago. When Japan opened it’s doors to China, it learned of the Chinese writing system and decided it adopt it.

    Chinese only uses the 漢字 (Kanji) “pictograph” characters as it’s sole writing system. This doesn’t work well with the Japanese vocabulary…so Japan invented it’s own かな (kana) scripts to go with the Kanji characters.

    Anyways…

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  3. Mb June 16, 2008 at 2:20 am #

    That’s interesting; I didn’t know that Japan was closed off to the world until the early 1800’s. Do you know why it was?

    Like

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