- from Nationalism
It’s July 8, 1853, and you’re running errands for your mother in your hometown of Edo, the Japanese capital city.
Suddenly, you hear loud booming noises from the bay. People rush to the water to see what’s going on. Later, you find out the noises came from big guns on a foreign ship – an American ship. But foreign ships are only allowed to use a different port. It is far to the west in Nagasaki. Why would the Americans come here?
Outside threats raised nationalistic feelings in Japan. In the mid-1800s, the country had been mostly closed to outsiders for over 200 years. Trade was controlled by the shogun, or lead general. In July 1853, Commodore Matthew Perry showed up in what is now known as Tokyo Bay. He had four heavily armed U.S. Navy ships. Perry told the Japanese to open their ports to American traders, but the shogun said no.