Foreigners' Ship: Steamship


Commodore Matthew C. Perry entered the port of Yokohama in 1853 with an intimidating fleet of steam warships, in order to compel Japan to open up after nearly two centuries of restricted foreign contact. The Japanese people became increasingly exposed to Western culture as new trade agreements prompted cross-cultural interaction. The mixture of anxiety, curiosity, and awe at this influx of unfamiliar technology and customs is reflected in the detailed depictions of foreign subjects by ukiyo-e (pictures of the floating world) artists. With the arrival of Perry, Yokohama-e (pictures of Yokohama) depicting the commercial trading port he had opened, became extremely popular. This 1861 print portrays a man and boy standing near an American steamship docked in a harbor, possibly one of the commodore’s black ships.

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Physical Description

1 print on hōsho paper : woodcut, color ; 37.3 x 25 centimeters (block), 34.5 x 23 centimeters (sheet)


  • Print created by either Hiroshige II or Hiroshige III.

Last updated: September 18, 2015