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Convention of Kanagawa

Ratification of the Japan-US Treaty of Peace and Amity, or "Convention of Kanagawa", 21 February 1855. Diplomatic Record Office of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (Japan).
Japanese woodblock print of Perry (center) and other high-ranking US seamen
Bust of Matthew Perry in Shimoda
Foreigners in Yokohama in 1854

On March 31, 1854, the Convention of Kanagawa (Japanese: 日米和親条約 Hepburn: Nichibei Washin Jōyaku, "Japan–US Treaty of Peace and Amity") or Kanagawa Treaty (神奈川条約 Kanagawa Jōyaku) was concluded between Commodore Matthew C. Perry of the United States Navy and the Tokugawa shogunate.


  • Treaty of Peace and Amity (1854) 1
  • Later treaties 2
  • Kanagawa Treaty House 3
  • See also 4
  • Notes 5
  • References 6
  • External links 7

Treaty of Peace and Amity (1854)

The treaty opened the Japanese ports of Shimoda and Hakodate to United States trade and guaranteed the safety of shipwrecked US sailors; however, the treaty did not create a basis for establishing a permanent residence in these locations.[1] The treaty did establish a foundation for the Americans to maintain a permanent consul in Shimoda. The arrival of the fleet would trigger the end of Japan's 200 year policy of seclusion (Sakoku).[2]

English text of the Kanagawa Treaty

Perry initially refused to deal with local Japanese officials and demanded to speak only with representatives of the Japanese head of state. At the time, Shogun Tokugawa Ieyoshi was the de facto ruler of Japan; for the Emperor to interact in any way with foreigners was out of the question. Perry concluded the treaty with representatives of the Shogun, led by plenipotentiary Hayashi Akira (林韑) and the text was reluctantly endorsed subsequently by Emperor Komei.[3]

The treaty was ratified on 21 February 1855.[4]

Later treaties

The Kanagawa treaty was followed by the United States-Japan Treaty of Kanagawa, the "Harris Treaty" of 1858, which allowed the establishment of foreign concessions, extraterritoriality for foreigners, and minimal import taxes for foreign goods. The Japanese chafed under the "unequal treaty system" which characterized Asian and western relations during this period.[5]

The Kanagawa treaty became a significant causative factor leading to serious internal conflicts within Japan — an upheaval which was only resolved in 1867 with the end of the Tokugawa shogunate and the beginning of the Meiji Restoration.

Similar treaties were subsequently negotiated by the United Kingdom (Anglo-Japanese Friendship Treaty, October 1854), the Russians (Treaty of Shimoda, 7 February 1855), and the French (Treaty of Amity and Commerce between France and Japan, 9 October 1858).

Kanagawa Treaty House

The Convention was negotiated and then it signed in a purpose-built house in Yokohama, Japan.

See also


  1. ^ "From Washington; The Japanese Treaty-Its Advantages and Disadvantages-The President and Col. Rinney, &c.," New York Times. October 18, 1855.
  2. ^ *Perry, Matthew Calbraith. (1856). Narrative of the expedition of an American Squadron to the China Seas and Japan, 1856.
  3. ^ Cullen, Louis M. (2003). A History of Japan, 1582-1941: Internal and External Worlds, p. 173-185.
  4. ^ Diplomatic Record Office of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (Japan) exhibit.
  5. ^ Bert Edström, Bert. (2000). p. 101.The Japanese and Europe: Images and Perceptions,


  • Arnold, Bruce Makoto (2005). Diplomacy Far Removed: A Reinterpretation of the U.S. Decision to Open Diplomatic Relations with Japan (Thesis). University of Arizona.  [1]
  • Auslin, Michael R. (2004). Negotiating with Imperialism: The Unequal Treaties and the Culture of Japanese Diplomacy. Cambridge: Harvard University Press. 10-ISBN 0-674-01521-5; 13-ISBN 978-0-674-01521-0; OCLC 56493769
  • Bert Edström, Bert. (2000). The Japanese and Europe: Images and Perceptions. London: Routledge. 10-ISBN 1-873410-86-7; 13-ISBN 978-1-873410-86-8
  • Cullen, L.M. (2003). A History of Japan, 1582-1941: Internal and External Worlds. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 10-ISBN 0-521-82155-X (cloth); 10-ISBN 0-521-52918-2 (paper)
  • Perry, Matthew Calbraith. (1856). Narrative of the expedition of an American Squadron to the China Seas and Japan, 1856. New York : D. Appleton and Company. [digitized by University of Hong Kong Libraries, Digital Initiatives, "China Through Western Eyes." ]
  • Taylor, Bayard. (1855). A visit to India, China, and Japan in the year 1853 New York : G.P. Putnam's sons. [digitized by University of Hong Kong Libraries, Digital Initiatives, "China Through Western Eyes".

External links

  • The Convention of Kanagawa, 1854 (full text)
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