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The New York Times, October 31, 1853, p.4:

Highly Interesting from the Japan Expedition.

    We have received, by the Arctic, in private letters and in foreign papers, highly interesting accounts of the progress and proceedings of the Japan Expedition, which will be found in another part of this morning's Times.

    From these accounts, and from our letters, we learn that on the 7th of April, Commodore Perry arrived at Macao, in the Mississippi, whence he ordered the Plymouth and Supply to proceed to Shanghai, and the Saratoga to the Loo-Choo Islands.

    He went himself to Shanghai, transferred his flag to the Susquehanna, and leaving the Plymouth to follow in ten days, sailed, accompanied by the other two vessels, for the Loo-Choos;--the Mississippi having the Supply in tow. Here they were joined by the Saratoga, and, after remaining at anchor but a few days, during which time the natives were compelled to open a trade for supplies, the Susquehanna, taking, as a companion, the Saratoga, (which she towed,) paid a visit to the Bonin Islands, which lie considerably to the eastward. After examining their conveniences for a coal depot for steamers plying between California and China, the Commodore, with his tow, returned to Loo-Choo.
    He found the Plymouth at that place, and on the 2nd of July sailed for Japan, leaving only the Supply behind. The Saratoga was towed up by the Susquehanna, and the Plymouth by the Mississippi. On the 8th, the squadron reached Jeddo Bay, and all anchored off a town called Uraga, about thirty miles from the city of Jeddo.

    After a few days' negotiation, Com. Perry landed a force of three or four hundred men, and presented the letter of the President, and his own credentials, to a member of the Emperor's Privy Council appointed to receive them.
    The above force was met on shore by about five thousand Japanese troops, drawn up near the water's edge. Both parties were ready for an encounter at a moment's warning,--for the Japanese had apprehensions of treachery, as well as the Americans, and had guarded against it. However, everything passed off peaceably, and it was arranged that the squadron should return in the Spring for an answer.

    Intimations were received, unofficially, that it was quite probable the Emperor will return a favorable response to the letter of the President. On the succeeding day some Japanese officers went on board the flag-ship, and gave and received a number of presents.
    Thus we are a step in advance of every other nation in our relations with this exclusive Government.

    After the ceremony of presentation, the ships moved farther up the bay, and made a general survey of a portion of it. The city of Jeddo was not seen, but only the junk-anchorage, a few miles below it. The people did not appear to mind the sailing vessels, but the were evidently dreadfully afraid that the steamers would discover too much, and could not understand their moving about against wind and tide.
    Jeddo Bay is represented as being the most beautiful and extensive in the world; with scenery in the vicinity unsurpassed for magnificence.

    Of course, there was not much opportunity for close observation, but, as to the Japanese, their manners, their customs, their dress,--all appear to remain precisely the same as described two hundred years ago.
    Most of the troops met with were armed with spears, javelins, and bows and arrows. There were thirty flint-lock muskets, and two or three hundred old fashioned fire-locks amongst them.
    On the day of the landing, a few women were seen accidentally, but none of the upper class. No beauty was discovered, although they appeared delicate and modest as becomes their sex.

    On the 17th, the squadron left Jeddo Bay, the Susquehanna, Mississippi, and Plymouth returning to Loo-Choo, and the Saratoga proceeding to Shanghai.
    At the Loo-Choos, Commodore Perry established a coal depot for his squadron, at the harbor called Napa, or Napa-Kiang (Kiang meaning river,) which cannot but be regarded as another very important step. These islands pay tribute to Japan, and it has ever been their policy, as it has that of the latter country, to allow no intercourse with foreigners, except to a very limited extent.

    The commerce of Loo-Choo has hitherto been confined entirely to Japan and China. They have, however, now thrown open their trade to the American squadron, and it is certain it will forever remain open to all nations, if it be insisted on.
    Supplies have been bought and paid for, and a lot rented for the use of the United States at $150 per annum. The Loo-Chooans are a mild and tractable people, whose prejudices, it is thought, may soon be overcome. The progress of the expedition thus far must be considered as highly satisfactory.

    It is suggested, however, in the London Times that the object of Japanese authorities, in postponing an answer to the President's request until Spring, is simply delay;--and that on his return, Com. Perry will find everything prepared for a hostile reception. Our own accounts, however, represent the delay as having been at the suggestion of Com. Perry himself.

USS Mississippi - USS Plymouth - USS Supply - USS Saratoga III
    in the Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships

The New York Times, October 26, 1884, p. 13:

RAILWAYS IN JAPAN.

From the London Times.
    The total length of railways now open in Japan is 240 miles, the first line opened being that between Tokio and Yokohama, which is 20 miles in length, and was opened in 1872. This line, which has five intermediate stations, cost nearly £600,000, and was constructed by English engineers.
    The line between Hiogo and Osaka was opened in 1874, but it has since been lengthened at both ends, and now runs from Kobe to Otsu, having a total length of over 60 miles, and cost 7,000,000 yen. This line, which has 16 intermediate stations, traverses the wealthiest Provinces of the centre of Japan, and among the numerous articles which it conveys to Kobe and Osaka are silk, tea, cotton, rice, wheat, wadding, and cotton goods. It also carries inland the articles imported from abroad and the native goods sent by sea to Kobe.
    This line, which stops short at Otsu, begins again at Nagahama, a town upon the opposite shore of Lake Biwa, and runs to the port of Tsuruga, upon the Sea of Japan. The distance between the two places is 27 miles. This line was opened for traffic in 1882, so that the whole of this part of Japan can be traversed by railway except for the break at Lake Biwa, a service of steamers plying between the two termini.

    A third line has been constructed between Nagahama and Sekigahora and Ohogaki, its total length being 57 miles. The terminus of Ohogaki, to which the line was extended on the 25th of May, is the centre of the Province of Mino, which is one of the busiest and most productive in Japan.
    The fourth line open is that which connects Tokio and Takasaki. The line was not commenced until June, 1882, but by July of the following year the trains were already running as far as Kumagai, which is 38 miles from the capital, and the line was completed to Takasaki this Spring, when the Emperor opened it in person. The length of this line is about 62 miles, and it brings to Tokio large quantities of silk, tea, and tobacco from the different Provinces.

    Two other lines are in course of construction, the first running from Shinagawa, upon the line from Tokio to Yokohama, to Kawaguchi, and the other from Takasaki to Mayebashi, one of the principal centres of the silk trade. The latter, only seven miles long, will be opened this autumn.
    Five other lines are about to be commenced: First, from Urawa, upon the Tokio and Takasaki line, to Aomori, a town at the northernmost point of the island of Niphon, (length 450 miles;) second, from Takasaki to Ohogaki and Yokkaitchi, (length 200 miles;) third, from Onyeda, in the Province of Shinano, to Niigata, (length 150 miles;) fourth, from Osaka to Sakai, (seven miles;) and fifth, from Shizonoka to Shimidzu, in the Province of Tsuruga, (seven miles.)
    A tramway from Tokio to Kofu will also be made without delay.

The New York Times, December 25, 1897, p. 10:

WIRE NAIL PLANT FOR TOKIO.

Skilled Labor at 35 Cents a Day to be in Competition with Americans..

    SAN FRANCISCO, Dec. 24.--Charles W. Richards, a mechanical expert of Cleveland, Ohio, has arrived in Japan, where he has been superintending the construction of a wire nail plant, costing $250,000, at Tokio.
    The capacity of the works is 2,500 kegs of nails and 1,000 wooden kegs daily. As skilled labor in Japan is paid but 35 cents a day, as against $1.50 in this country, the output of the factory will cause a corresponding reduction in the demand for the American product.

The New York Times, May 10, 1914, p. 15:

USE OF ELECTRICITY SPREADING IN JAPAN

Fine Street Railway Systems in Big Cities
and Excellent Interurban Roads.

CURRENT SOLD CHEAPLY

Plenty of Water Power to Run Plants--
Even the Poor Can Have Incandescent Lighting.


    Japan is rapidly undergoing electrification, according to Niso Ito of the Tokio Electric Company, who has arrived at the Imperial. Not only are there fine street railway systems in the bigger cities and excellent interurban roads in certain parts of the country, but the possiblities of the electric light sign have become known, and and blinking invitations to smoke this or drink that gladden the eyes of the panting rickshawmen as they drag their "fares" at night between the Shimbashi station and the Imperial Hotel.

    Mr. Ito has come over to remain four months in the United States, during which time he will study the latest methods of manufacturing electrical equipment. He is particularly interested in the manufacture of incandescent lamps.
    "The Tokio Electric Company manufactures lamps," said Mr. Ito yesterday. "It has a big factory at Kawasaki, on the railroad between Yokohama and Tokio, and we employ about 2,500 workmen. The General Electric Company is a big stockholder in the Tokio company, and the Vice President is an American, and we have several American Directors and advisers. Prof. Fujicka, a distinguished scientist, is the President of our company. Our output is about 40,000 lamps per day. While we still make a few carbon lamps our output is mainly the mazda variety, which is regarded as far more economical in Japan.

    "The electric light has spread all over Japan. Every town of any size now has a power station. This is possible because we have water power scattered over most of the country, whereby the running of a plant is a simple and an ecomomical matter. For that reason current can be sold very cheaply in Japan, and that has resulted in a wide displacement of kerosene and of the old methods of lighting with seed oil. Of course, so many houses being of frail and inflammable construction, anything that tends to lessen the danger from fire is appreciated over there, so that there are numerous cases of the houses tenanted by the poorest workmen where light is now furnished by electricity.

    "We make at Kawasaki or at our branches practically all the incandescent lamps used in Japan. Electric signs are coming to be in great use, especially in Tokio.
    "General business is picking up very much in Japan. Labor conditions are now satisfactory. We have good workmen in our factory, and they are contented. Of course, it is necessary for somebody from our works to keep coming to the United States to familiarize himself with the very newest methods of electrical manufacture, and that is why I am here.
    "There wasn't much talk over the Mexican situation when I left Japan, as that was long before the present crisis came up. But it was the opinion of business men over there that Mexico was very foolish to risk getting into trouble with the United States, and that the people of that country lack appreciation of what this country has been doing for them for many years. In Japan I think it is understood that the attitude of the United States toward Mexico is one of genuinely unselfish interest in seeking to better local conditions in a country for which it feels, itself, in a sense, morally responsible."
 
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Japan map, from the CIA World Factbook Japan flag, from the CIA World Factbook
    Japan consists of a chain of islands approximately 1500 miles long off the east coast of Asia. The capital is Tokyo. The area of Japan is 145,883 square miles (377,835 square kilometers). The estimated population of Japan in July, 2007 was 127,433,494.

    In 1603, a Tokugawa shogunate (military dictatorship) ushered in a long period of isolation from foreign influence in order to secure its power. For 250 years this policy enabled Japan to enjoy stablity and a flowering of its indigenous culture.

    Following the Treaty of Kanagawa with the United States in 1854, Japan opened its ports and began to intensively modernize and industrialize. During the late 19th and early 20th centuries, Japan became a regional power that was able to defeat the forces of both China and Russia. It occupied Korea, Formosa (Taiwan), and southern Sakhalin Island.

    In 1933 Manchuria was occupied and in 1937 a full-scale invasion of China was launched. Japan attacked US forces in 1941 - triggering America's entry into World War II - and soon occupied much of East and Southeast Asia.

    After its defeat in World War II, Japan recovered to become an economic power and a staunch ally of the US. While the emperor retains his throne as a symbol of national unity, actual power rests in networks of powerful politicians, bureaucrats, and business executives.

    The economy experienced a major slowdown starting in the 1990s following three decades of unprecedented growth, but Japan still remains a major economic power, both in Asia and globally.
    CIA World Factbook: Japan

  Free Books on Japan (.pdfs)

The Making of Modern Japan Gubbins 1922
Military Industries of Japan Masuda 1922
The Awakening of Japan Okakura 1921
Japan at First Hand Clarke 1918
A Short History of Japan Clement 1915
A History of the Japanese People Brinkley 1915
Japanese Life in Town and Country Knox 1908
The History of Japan Kaempfer 1906
A Handbook of Modern Japan Clement 1905
Japan as it Was and Is Hildreth 1905
Japan: A Record in Color Menpes 1905
Japan: Described & Illustrated by Japanese 1904
Handbook for Travellers in Japan Murray 1901
Japan Dickson 1901
Japan in Our Day Taylor 1892
Japan in Art & Industry Régamey 1892
The Industries of Japan Rein 1889
Japanese Homes & Their Surroundings Morse 1886
Tales of Old Japan Mitford 1883
Young Japan: Yokohama & Yedo Black 1881
Unbeaten Tracks in Japan Bird 1881
Sketches in the Suburbs of Yedo Purcell 1874
The Capital of the Tycoon Alcock 1863
Manners & Customs of the Japanese von Siebold 1852

  Japan Reference Articles and Links

Wikipedia: Japan - History of Japan
The Economist: Japan Country Briefing
LOC: Japan Country Study
BBC Country Profile: Japan
US State Department: Japan Profile

Shugiin (Representatives)
Sangiin (Councilors)
Kantei (Prime Minister)
Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Governments on the WWW links
Tokyo Wi-Fi Hotspot lists: 1 - 2
  Maps of Japan

Embassy of Japan, Wash., DC
United States Embassy, Tokyo
British Embassy, Tokyo

WikiTravel: Japan
US State Dept Japan Travel
National Tourist Organization
JNTO: Getting Around Japan
Japan File
Guide to Japan

  Japan News Websites

Mainichi Daily News
Asahi Shimbun
Japan Times
Daily Yomiuri
Kyodo News

Fuji News Network current TV news
NHK World TV

  Japan News Websites in Japanese

Asahi Shimbun
Sankei Shimbun
Hokkaido: Hokkaido Shimbun
Okinawa: Yaeyama Mainichi
Daily Sports in Japanese

Fuji News Network current TV news

ABYZ: Japan News Links

  Japan Internet Directories

Google Japan directory
Yahoo!: Japan directory

Google Japan search & news, in Japanese
Yahoo! Japan search & news, in Japanese

  Reservations: Hotels, Airlines, Car Rental

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