- from Nationalism
It’s July 8, 1853, and you’re busy running errands for your mother in your hometown of Edo, the Japanese capital city.
Suddenly, you hear incredibly loud booming noises coming from the bay. People rush to the water to see what’s happening. Later, you find out the noises came from big guns on a foreign ship – an American ship. But foreign ships are only allowed to enter a different port, far to the west in Nagasaki. Why would the Americans come here?
Threats from outside increased feelings of nationalism in Japan. In the mid-1800s, the country had been mostly closed to outsiders for over 200 years, and trade was tightly controlled by the shogun, or leading general. In July 1853, Commodore Matthew Perry arrived in what is now known as Tokyo Bay with four heavily armed U.S. Navy ships. He demanded the Japanese open their ports to American traders, but the shogun refused.