Societies of the World 43: Japan's Samurai Revolution





D. Howell/I. Miller

On July 8, 1853, Commodore Mathew C. Perry steamed into Japan's Edo Bay with four heavily armed U.S. Navy warships. Two were the so-called "black ships," ominously painted coal-burning steamships of the latest design. There, within view of a stunned populace, Perry issued an ultimatum: open the country to trade or face unstoppable bombardment. Thus began Japan's modern engagement with the outsdie world, a new chapter in the broader encounter between "East" and "West." Through primary resources, discussion, and lecture, this course examines Japan's rapid development from samurai-led feudalism into the world's first non-Western imperial power.