As the band struck up "Hail, Columbia!" Commodore Matthew Perry stepped on the shore of Japan. This was in the summer of 1853. For more than 200 years Japan had kept herself sealed from the rest of the world. No foreign ships had been allowed in her waters. No visitors and no traders had set foot on her soil. Yet here was an American naval officer marching proudly onto the shores of Japan, while four black ships carrying "The Stars and Stripes" rode majestically at anchor in her blue waters.
Commodore Perry was there on order of the President of the United States; his mission, to open a door into Japan so that American ships might stop for fuel and water on their route to China. Under different leadership such and undertaking might have resulted in war. Instead, Commodore Perry entertained the Japanese leaders in royal style and presented gifts that told of the outside world.
In Commodore Perry and the Opening of Japan, Ferdinand Kuhn tells the amazing story of the American naval officer who helped shape the course of history without firing a single shot.
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