Perry Monument, Kurihama, Japan
- For views of the monument on dedication day (July 14, 1901), Rear Admiral Frederick Rodgers, and the Admiral's Calling Card Book, click here (#1901081139).
- For views of the monument on or about dedication day (July 14, 1901) and the U.S.S. New York, click here (#1902060413).
- For other views of the monument on dedication day (July 14, 1901), click here (#1901081127).
- For views of the monument over the years, click here.
- For views of the monument and the monument park as of December, 2008, click here.
~~ Four Photographs ~~
USS New York in Japan, 1901
Dedication of the M.C. Perry Memorial
Photograph #1 of 4
Inscription on Reverse
Additional Comments on the Back
Condition. The photograph is in poor condition. There is heavy foxing front and back. There is a large 4 inch scratch across the top of the monument and a tear with actual loss of image on the monument. Within the image area there are several spots where the surface is broken/torn.
General Comment. Despite the poor condition, the photograph is of much historical significance. It shows the M.C. Perry memorial as it was on dedication day. Further it includes the four generations of Hirai men. The elder Hirai was instrumental in fixing the proper location for the monument and is noted in the US Government report regarding the memorial (see below).
~~ Item No. 1902060413 ~~
This is one of a lot of four photographs.
~~ Sold ~~
- The Matthew Perry Memorial at Kurihama with four
Japanese men standing before it.
- The USS New York entering a flooded dry dock.
- The USS New York in a dry dock with the water removed.
- A photograph of a building with an American flag
in front and US naval officers on a balcony and
Japanese in suits on the ground level.
General Information. The Perry Monument (photograph #1) was dedicated at Kurihama (near Yokohama) on July 14, 1901. The American Navy was represented in the harbor by the flagship USS New York, which was painted white for the occasion, the USS New Orleans and the USS Yorktown. Rear Admiral Frederick Rodgers (Commander-in-Chief, U.S. Naval Force on Asiatic Station) who was a grandson of Commodore Matthew C. Perry actually unveiled the monument. Officers and enlisted from the American war ships were present at the ceremony. Many high ranking Japanese Government officials were present at the dedication ceremony including the newly installed Prime Minister Viscount Katsura Tarō and Baron Kaneko, president of the Bei-yu Kyo-kai (Japanese-American Friendship Society). To see a letter (January 1901) by Baron Kaneko and supplemental discussion of the monument to be constructed, click here.
A detailed account of the ceremony is provided in a letter from the Secretary of the Navy titled "Unveiling Monument to Commodore Perry in Japan," dated February 10, 1902 and published in Senate Document 174, 57th Congress, 1st Session. This report notes:
Most interesting of all were what may be called living relics of the expedition in the persons of four generations of Japanese, the first, a bald headed patriarch of 90, who first sighted Perry's ships from a neighboring hilltop forty-eight years ago, and who identified the spot where the Commodore landed and where the memorial now stands, at the request of Admiral Beardslee and Mr. Skidmore; his son, a gay spark of 70; his grandson of 48, and his great-grandson of 18. (Senate Document 174 at page 16)
The report indicates the USS New York (ACR-2) arrived at Kobe, Japan on June 29 and stayed there until July 6. She then went to Yokohama and was stationed off Kurihama during the dedication ceremony. After the ceremony she returned to Yokohama where the French cruiser Friant was in the harbor. The report indicates that an S. Sakurai was a member of the official Japanese reception committee at the ceremony. This appears to be the individual signing the gift inscriptions on the back of these photographs. The report also mentions that numerous dinners and luncheons were held in Tokyo for the commander in chief and officers during the period from July 15-July 23, including a "dinner and Geisha dance." The New York stayed at Yokohama until at least August 2 and perhaps as late as October. As a part of the Asiatic Fleet, the USS New York took part in actions in the Philippine Islands in October of 1901. She spent the balance of the time between October 1901 and November 1903 in Asiatic waters calling in Hong Kong, various Chinese ports, Vladivostok Korea and Japan. As established by this photograph, she was in dry dock in Japan (Uraga) in May of 1902.
The dedication ceremony was also reported in Papers Relating to the Foreign Relations of the United States, with the Annual Message of the President Transmitted to Congress December 3, 1901, United States Department of State, Washington, DC, Government Printing Office, 1902, 8vo, 574 pp. To see the text of that report, click here. The following individuals or position are specifically identified in this report:
High Ranking Japanese Officials:
- Prime Minister Viscount Katsura (address at the dedication ceremony)
- Baron Kaneko, president of the Bei-yu Kyo-kai (address at the dedication ceremony)
- Marquis Ito Hakubumi (wrote the 17 character Japanese inscription the monument)
High Ranking US Officials:
- Colonel A.E. Buck - US Minister to Japan (not present due to illness)
- Rear Admiral Frederick A. Rodgers (address at the dedication ceremony)
- Rear Admiral Lester Anthony Beardslee (a member of Commodore Perry's Japan Squadron and advocate of establishing the monument)
- Mr. J.M. Ferguson, Second Secretary of the United States Legation (delivered an address for Colonel Buck).
Noted as Extending Courtesies to the Visiting Americans:
- Emperor and Empress of Japan (audience with Rear Admiral Rodgers and Colonel Buck)
- Governor of Kanagawa-Ken
- Mayor of Yokohama
- Governor and the Mayor of Tokyo
- Minister of Marine
- Several admirals of the Japanese Navy.
While not mentioned in these reports, Komura Jutaro (Jyutaro) the Minister of Foreign Affairs and a graduate of the Harvard Law School has been identified in photographs relating to the dedication activities.
On July 15, 1901 the New York Times reported the monument unveiling ceremony. The newspaper article noted that Rear Admiral Frederick Rodgers performed the unveiling of the monument and Viscount Katsura delivered the memorial address. It noted that speeches were made by Americans and Japanese and three American warships and five Japanese warships presented a naval salute. The article stated that the Bei-yu Kyo-kai (American Association of Japan) erected the monument with funds largely contributed by Japanese.
- Print Size: The photographs are tipped to plate. The photographs measure 10 3/4 x 8 3/4 in - 27.5 x 20.5 cm.
- Mats: The mats are thick blue-green cardboard with blindstamped white decorative borders. The mats measure 13 3/4 x 16 1/2 in - 34.5 x 42.5 cm.
Below are examples of the photographs/mats.
- Studio/Photographer Imprint "Fukazu" is blindstamped in silver in the bottom right corner of each mat. I have not found information relating to a photographer or photography studio known as H. Fakazu.
- Type of Photographic Prints: The photographs are black & white/sepia tone and have a flat matte finish. I believe these are Matte Collodian Printing Out Paper photographs or perhaps Matte Gelatin Printing Out Paper.
- Inscriptions/Notations on Back. Each photograph has a handwritten presentation inscription by "Captain S. Sakurai" who probably was a member of the official Japanese reception party at the monument dedication ceremony. The photographs were presented to "Warrant Machinist H.E. Kershaw, U.S. Navy." One photograph has a date of May 29, 1902 on the back. None of the others are dated. The photograph of the Perry monument has a typed note affixed identifying the four men in the photograph.
Conclusion. I believe these photographs present the Perry monument on or about the date of its formal dedication on July 14, 1901. They also depict the USS New York entering and in dry dock, probably in Yokohama. This would be during the period from July 14, 1901 to October, 1901. One photograph probably depicts Officers of the USS New York and other American ships and Japanese dignitaries. No doubt this was one of the many social events surrounding the dedication ceremony between July 15 and July 23. I believe it is very likely the event was held at a U.S. Government building or compound in Yokohama or Tokyo.