Sunday, July 18, 2010

Consulate General of Japan in New York Celebrates 150 Years of Relations

When my students at Hawaii Tokai International College and I began learning about the 1860 Japanese Embassy to the United States of America we found this web site. Sponsored by the Consulate General of Japan in New York, it celebrates 150 years of US-Japanese relations:

150 years ago, two nations separated by a wide ocean had an unprecedented and historic encounter. The arrival of an American naval expedition under the command of Commodore Matthew Perry in 1853 marked the start of relations between Japan and the United States. In 1854, the two countries signed a Treaty of Peace and Amity.

Our two nations have traveled a long road together during the last century and a half. We share the values of democracy and rich cultural and economic ties. Please join us in celebration of "the most important bilateral relationship in the world, bar none.

What to me is among the most fascinating omissions is the stopover of the Japanese Embassy in Honolulu during March 1860. True, Hawaii was an independent kingdom, a monarchy presided over by Kamehameha IV and Queen Emma. But the American presence –including the Congregational missionaries and their families- was the largest of the foreign communities in the Hawaiian Islands. But nothing is mentioned at all about the Hawaii visit.

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