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Book Review Essay

The Perry Expedition and the “Opening of Japan to the West,” 1853-1873: A Short History with Documents

The arrival of US Commodore Matthew Perry’s squadron of four ships into Tokyo Bay on July 8, 1853, is one of those great watershed moments of modern history. This event led to the rapid transformation of Japan from a weak isolated nation into one of the world’s major world powers in less than fifty years. The Japanese response to the West’s forced opening of its doors would soon alter the balance of geographical power around the world and create a model that other, lesser-developed nation...