Black Ships Festival

Black Ships Festival

Third weekend in May in Shimoda, Japan; last full weekend in July in Rhode Island
Kurofune is what the Japanese called the black ships that Commodore Matthew C. Perry anchored off Shimoda, Japan, on July 8, 1853. He forcefully negotiated the Treaty of Kanagawa—the first treaty between the United States and Japan—in 1854. The treaty opened trade between the two countries and ended two centuries of self-imposed isolation for Japan.
In 1934, Shimoda began commemorating the arrival of Commodore Perry and his black ships. It is the site of the first American consulate in Japan, placed there by the Japanese to keep the "barbarians" (Americans) away from the capital, then called Edo. The first consul-general, Townsend Harris, arrived in August 1856. Twenty years later, Shimoda became the sister city to Newport, Rhode Island, where Perry was born.
In 1984, Newport began celebrating a reciprocal Black Ships Festival emphasizing Japanese art, culture, and education. Events include Japanese tea ceremonies, ikebana (flower arranging), origami (paper folding), kendo (martial arts), Sumo wrestling, Japanese kite flying, and traditional Japanese performing arts. In 1986 the Black Ships Festival was expanded to form the Japan-America Society of Rhode Island, which now sponsors the festival and works to develop cooperation and understanding between the citizens of Rhode Island and Japan.
CONTACTS:
Marketing & Events Inc.
28 Pelham St.
Newport, RI 02840
401-847-7666; fax: 401-846-5600
www.newportevents.com
Shizuoka Prefecture Tourist Association
Mizunomori Bldg. 2F
14-1 Minami-machi
Chubu, Shizuoka Prefecture 422-8067 Japan
81-5-4202-5595
www.shizuoka-guide.com
SOURCES:
JapanFest-1965, p. 152