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.