150 Years of Shared History

1841
Young fisherman Nakahama Manjiro (later known as John Manjiro) is shipwrecked and rescued by an American whaling vessel and taken to the U.S.

The story of John Manjiro

1848
Ranald McDonald becomes the first American to come to Japan after he pretends to be shipwrecked.

Ranald McDonald teaches English in Japan

1853
Commodore Matthew Perry and the "Black Ships" arrive at Uraga, Kanagawa.

1854
Commodore Matthew Perry returns to Japan and the Treaty of Peace and Amity between the U.S. and Japan (Treaty of Kanagawa) is signed.


 

1856
The first U.S. consul, Townsend Harris, arrives at Shimoda.

The story of Townsend Harris

1858
U.S.-Japan Treaty of Amity and Commerce is signed, and Townsend Harris becomes the first U.S. Consul to Japan.

1860
The Shogunate sends the first overseas mission to the U.S. to ratify the U.S.-Japan Treaty of Amity and Commerce. The mission is accompanied by the Kanrin maru, a Japanese ship.

The first mission to the U.S.

The Kanrin maru crosses the Pacific


The first Japanese mission to the U.S.
(Photo Credit: JCII Camera Museum)

1871-73
Iwakura Mission visits the U.S. and Europe.


Iwakura Mission

Foreigners teach science and technology to the Japanese
 

1872
Former President Grant visits Japan and meets the Emperor Meiji.


President Grant

1904
Russo-Japanese War starts. The Treaty of Portsmouth, which ended the war in 1905, is mediated by President Roosevelt.

President Roosevelet and the Treaty of portsmouth
The Treaty of Portsmouth is signed.

1908
1908 Japan-U.S. Gentlemen's Agreement limits the number of Japanese immigrants to the U.S.

Exchange of dolls between Japan and the U.S.

1931
The first U.S. Major League baseball team visits Japan.

1941
The Japanese attack Pearl Harbor and the Pacific War begins.

Internment of Japanese Americans begins.

The story of Mariko

Japanese American and the War 1: Internment camps

Japanese American and the War 2: Soldiers fight in Europe

1945
Atomic bombs are dropped on Nagasaki and Hiroshima.
Japan accepts the Potsdam Declaration.
Douglas MacArthur, Supreme Commander for the Allied Powers, arrives in Japan and the U.S.-led occupation starts.

Crown Prince Akihito, now the Emperor, is tutored by Elizabeth G. Vining

1951
The San Francisco Peace Treaty and the Japan-U.S. Security Treaty are signed.

1952

Fulbright Program starts.

1956
Japan is granted membership in the United Nations.

 

1960
The Second Japan-U.S. Security Treaty is signed.
Crown Prince Akihito and Crown Princess Michiko (now the Emperor and Empress) visit the U.S.

1971
Okinawa is returned to Japan by the U.S.

 

1974
President Ford becomes the first U.S. president to visit Japan.

 

1975
The first summit meeting of industrial democracies takes place in France.

Emperor Hirohito and Empress Nagako visit the U.S.

1985
After the Plaza Accord, the value of the yen increases and auto trade friction between Japan and the U.S. becomes intense.

1987
JET (Japan Exchange and Teaching) Program starts.

1989
Japan-U.S. Structural Impediments Initiative

 

1991
The Persian Gulf War starts.

 

1993
Japan-U.S. Common Agenda

 

1996
Japan-U.S. Joint Declaration on Security

1997
Fulbright Memorial Program starts.

 

2001
Terrorists attack the World Trade Center in New York City on September 11.
Japan dispatches destroyers to the Indian Ocean to support the U.S. forces in the fight against terrorism.

2003
Japan supports the U.S. war against Iraq.

2003-2004
150th Anniversary of the U.S.-Japan Relationship