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As We Saw Them: The First Japanese Embassy to the United States 1st Paul Dry Books Ed Edition

4.0 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-1589880238
ISBN-10: 1589880234
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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Miyoshi presents the Japanese experience of American culture based on the records and travelogues of Japanese envoys sent to the U.S. in 1860. Photos.

Copyright 1994 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

"Miyoshi's masterful account is, by turns, alarming and hilarious as two cultures meet at the court of President James Buchanan." —Gore Vidal


"As We Saw Them is a pioneering work in the relationship between cultures....an invaluable work of insight and interpretation." —Edward Said


"Miyoshi has given a marvelous and revealing account of a dramatic case of confrontation of cultures and civilizations." —Noam Chomsky
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 232 pages
  • Publisher: Paul Dry Books, Inc.; 1st Paul Dry Books Ed edition (June 1, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1589880234
  • ISBN-13: 978-1589880238
  • Product Dimensions: 5.4 x 0.6 x 8.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,303,904 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Format: Paperback
Invaluable detailed research went into this historical footnote that would set the stage for the next 150 of Japanese-American relations. This book provides that sense of first contact for both the Samurai here in the US as well as those 19th Century Americans who first encountered them on American Soil. Anyone looking to research this period would be remiss not to read this book.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
In 1953 Commodore Perry's black ships forced Japanese ports open to foreigners and imposed upon the Shogun the Convention of Kanagawa establishing formal diplomatic relations between Japan and the United States. This was followed in 1858 by the US-Japan Treaty of Amity and Commerce, the first in a series of unequal treaties which allowed the establishment of foreign concessions, extra-territoriality for foreigners, and minimal import taxes for foreign goods.

In 1860, Japan sent a large mission to Washington D.C. in order to bring the Shogun's greeting and various gifts along with the treaty document to the President of the United States, James Buchanan. Although the exchange of ratifications at the White House was a quick and formal affair, leaving the Japanese Ambassadors with a sense of frustration at the lack of ritual and ceremony unbefitting such a powerful nation, the envoys from the Far East were welcomed with a spectacular display of enthusiasm and curiosity. Hundreds of thousands filled the streets of Manhattan at the time of the pageant held in honor of the embassy. Walt Whitman, standing on a Broadway corner, celebrated the event in his pompous style:

Over sea, hither from Niphon,
Courteous, the Princes of Asia, swart-cheek'd princes,
First-comers, guests, two-sworded princes,
Lesson-giving princes, leaning back in their open barouches, bare-headed, impassive,
This day they ride through Manhattan.

The way the American public perceived the Japanese mission, with a mixture of genuine curiosity, open-hearted hospitality, but also traces of racial bias and prejudice, is in itself a fascinating story.
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