Breaking Open Japan: Commodore Perry, Lord Abe, and American Imperialism in 1853

Breaking Open Japan Commodore Perry Lord Abe and American Imperialism in On July the four warships of America s East Asia Squadron made for Kurihama miles south of the Japanese capital then called Edo It had come to pry open Japan after her two and a half ce

  • Title: Breaking Open Japan: Commodore Perry, Lord Abe, and American Imperialism in 1853
  • Author: George Feifer
  • ISBN: 9780060884321
  • Page: 453
  • Format: Hardcover
  • On July 14, 1853, the four warships of America s East Asia Squadron made for Kurihama, 30 miles south of the Japanese capital, then called Edo It had come to pry open Japan after her two and a half centuries of isolation and nearly a decade of intense planning by Matthew Perry, the squadron commander The spoils of the recent Mexican Spanish American War had whetted a powOn July 14, 1853, the four warships of America s East Asia Squadron made for Kurihama, 30 miles south of the Japanese capital, then called Edo It had come to pry open Japan after her two and a half centuries of isolation and nearly a decade of intense planning by Matthew Perry, the squadron commander The spoils of the recent Mexican Spanish American War had whetted a powerful American appetite for using her soaring wealth and power for commercial and political advantage.Perry s cloaking of imperial impulse in humanitarian purpose was fully matched by Japanese self deception High among the country s articles of faith was certainty of its protection by heavenly power A distinguished Japanese scholar argued in 1811 that Japanese differ completely from and are superior to the peoples ofl other countries of the world So began one of history s greatest political and cultural clashes.In Breaking Open Japan, George Feifer makes this drama new and relevant for today At its heart were two formidable men Perry and Lord Masahiro Abe, the political mastermind and real authority behind the Emperor and the Shogun Feifer gives us a fascinating account of sealed off Japan and shows that Perry s aggressive handling of his mission had far reaching consequences for Japan and the United States well into the twentieth if not twenty first century.

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    1. George Feifer

      George Feifer Is a well-known author, some of his books are a fascination for readers like in the Breaking Open Japan: Commodore Perry, Lord Abe, and American Imperialism in 1853 book, this is one of the most wanted George Feifer author readers around the world.

    442 thoughts on “Breaking Open Japan: Commodore Perry, Lord Abe, and American Imperialism in 1853”


    1. Pretty good. I had a much more nuanced review in my head but forgot to write it down in anything like a timely manner afyer I read it.


    2. This is a fascinating story and the author presents substantive research. There is some good prose in parts, such as the character development of Commodore Perry and descriptions of Okinawa, but on the whole it is not a smooth read. The 4 stars I'm giving it are for its importance as a contribution to our understanding of this period, the author's discussion on the impact of the attitude with which Perry's mission was accomplished, and the research that has been brought together.Had there not be [...]


    3. I found this book in a small hotel at the foot of Mt. Fuji. I was in the right mind-set for it, but unfortunately, it was extremely boring and dull. The first and last chapters were captivating and fascinating for putting history in perspective, but the vast majority of the middle was so slow that it took me ages to read it. I didn't want to give up on it because I was interested in a time of history that I had zero knowledge about, but chapters would go by with absolutely nothing pushing them f [...]


    4. In 1853, Japan was a country that had isolated itself from most of the outside world for several centuries. They had some trade with China. They even allowed a little bit of trade with the Dutch, at one port. That was all about to change. In 1853, the United States sent four warships to Japan. Under Commodore Perry's leadership, the Japanese were told to begin trading with the United States or face a possible invasion. Japan had heard about the recent Opium War, where a few British ships had dev [...]


    5. Poignant account of this (in)famous encounter and event, which highlights the central role of the under-appreciated hero, Lord Abe, a moderate, who averted complete disaster for Japan. This book has so many insights. It is a fascinating exploration of cultural misunderstandings and misreadings, the arrogance of Perry, and the tragedy he put into motion which in many ways culminated in the militarization of Japan which led further to World War II. It recounts the power vacuum that led to intrigue [...]


    6. I was unable to finish this book. I did not like it very much. The author, although purporting to look at both sides of the issue, came across as decidedly anti-American. I would agree that colonization is bad, but I would also posit that foreign trade is good. The American dealings in Japan may have been heavy handed, but they certainly weren't the excesses of empire. Feifer himself admits that there were many in the Japanese government and other intellectual circles who resented the ban on for [...]


    7. This could have been a much stronger book. I started reading it about a year and a half ago, but grew frustrated with sequencing issues -- and stopped reading about 1/3 through. However, I pushed through this week, and I'm glad I finished. The chapters about the surrounding environment in Okinawa, China, and issues at stake in greater U.S. society intrigued me. Moreover, the evaluation of Japan's history post-Perry was fascinating as well.At times, Feifer meanders, at a broader level in terms of [...]


    8. Great story and one that us Americans skip over in history class completely. That said it was worth the time and effort for me because I was not familiar with this chapter in American history. My big complaint about this book was that there were far too many citations from other works and in the end it seemed like a school project (one that deserves an A+). The author lost a lot of authority thereby and the whole seemed less polished. I prefer books where the author convinces me (hopefully not o [...]


    9. The overall subject matter was well-known to me. Commodore Perry goes to Japan and the Japanese are forever grateful for being brought into the modern world - full stop! Turns out the Japanese people were quite happy without being forcibly "opened" to the modern world with one Japanese author even equating the opening with rape. To say the least, the book was very informative but it just never found a good pace and always seemed to be choppy. I am very happy to have the Japanese perspective on C [...]


    10. This book is very well researched and shines light on the events surrounding the Perry Expeditions and how they fundamentally shaped Japan for decades to come, while being only a footnote in American history. A friend of mine who has extensively studied Japan has read this book several times, and thoroughly enjoys it. For someone with less knowledge of Japanese history (such as myself) it is more difficult to develop a full appreciation for all of the details Feifer provides. It is a very inform [...]


    11. An excellent book which recounts Commodore Perry's landing in Japan and opening of the country to Western trade in 1853. Explores the events from both the American and Japanese perspective, and gives great insight into how this event still affects the Japanese people even today.


    12. A rather dry history text that nonetheless gives a good accounting of both sides of the confrontation between the U.S. and Japan. It also gave good context for Japan's sakoku (seclusion policy) and the slaughter of Christians in Japan previous to Perry's arrival. Who knew?


    13. Not the easiest read, but a story with fascinating parallels in more recent history, and providing valuable insight into both countries.



    14. Good look at historically how the opening of Japan's borders in 1853 went down and all the different factors and players in this huge historical moment for Japan.


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