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Japan, 1860s: Those Weird-Looking Foreigners

In 1854, Commodore Matthew Perry of the United States Navy forced Japan to open diplomatic and trade relations with the United States. This was followed shortly by the arrival of other nations, including the Dutch, the Russians, the French, and the British. Large numbers of foreigners suddenly arrived in Japanese port cities.

Japanese artists illustrated these encounters as well as life in these foreign lands--as best they understood it. Pictured above is print of Washington, D.C. made with a copperplate process in 1861. It's one of many Japanese depictions of Westerners in the 1850s and 60s rounded up by Flashbak.


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