- from Nationalism
It’s July 8, 1853, and you’re running errands for your mother in your hometown of Edo. That is the Japanese capital city.
All of a sudden, you hear very 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 an American ship. But foreign ships can only enter a different port. It is far to the west in Nagasaki. Why would Americans come here?
Outside threats raised nationalistic feelings in Japan. In the mid-1800s, the country had been mostly closed to foreigners for over 200 years. The shogun, or lead general, controlled all trade. In July 1853, Commodore Matthew Perry showed up in Edo. He steamed into what is now called Tokyo Bay. He had four heavily armed U.S. Navy ships. Perry told the Japanese to open their ports to American traders. The shogun said no.