A Historic Visit

In 1860 the Tokugawa government sent its first embassy to the United States. Its official mission was the exchange of treaty ratifications (of the agreement concluded between Townsend Harris and the Japanese government in 1858). It was a groundbreaking and historic expedition, both because the Japanese were making their first journey to America, and because of the unprecedented reaction Japan's embassy received when it arrived in the United States. Throughout their seven-week tour, the guests from Japan were greeted with great excitement. Everywhere they went they met overflowing crowds and parades in their honor. The historic visit was widely followed in the American press of the day, who relished recounting every detail of the exotic visitors. In fact, these celebrities from across the Pacific captivated much of the nation in the days before the start of the Civil War.

* Details of this account are in part based on the book: Yankees and Samurai, Foster Rhea Dulles, Harper & Row Publishers, New York, 1965.