Perry Monument, Kurihama, Japan
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  • 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.


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.

PDF File here (go to page 379).
then go to page 379.

Dedication of the Perry Monument on July 14, 1901 at pages 379-384


Mr. Buck to Mr. Hay


Tokyo, Japan, July 2O, 1901.

Sir: I have the honor to report the coming to Yokohama of Rear Admiral Frederick
Rodgers with his fagship, the New York, accompanied by the United States ships,
New Orleans and Yorktown, comprising a part of the Asiatic squadron, and also 
to remark upon the courtesies extendedto the admiral and the officers of his ships.
Acting under instructions of the Navy Department to represent the United
States Navy upon the occasion of the ceremonies attending the unveiling of
a monument at Kurihama, erected by the Japanese "American Association of
Japan" in commemoration of the advent of Commodore Perry forty-eight years
ago, which ceremonies were to take place on the 14th instant, Rear-Admiral
Rodgers arrived at Yokohama with his ships on the 7th instant. He with his
officers have been most cordially received by the officials of the Japanese
Government and by the people, as also by their majesties, the Emperor and the 

JAPAN. 379 
Empress, to whom I have had the honor to present them. The governor of Kanagawa-Ken
and the mayor of Yokohama have extended courtesies of entertainments at banquets,
as have also the governor and the mayor of Tokyo, the minister of marine
and several admirals of the Japanese navy, and more of such entertainments
are announced to be given, to all of which the admiral is responding in like
manner and spirit. 

On the morning of the 14th instant the three United States war vessels steamed
to the harbor of Kurihama, where there were already five Japanese war vessels.

I inclose herewith cuttings from the Japan Times (a Japanese publication),
on the 16th and 17th instants, giving a detailed account of the proceedings
incident to the unveiling of the monument. 

The imposing monument of granite is itself a testimony of gratitude for
what Commodore Perry did, and the extraordinary and spontaneous welcome accorded
Rear-Admiral Rodgers and his officers and ships will doubtless be appreciated
by the people of the United States as significant proof of the deep feeling
of friendship of the Japanese Government and people for the United States
and our people. 
 I have, etc., A. E. BUCK. 
[Enclosure. The Japan Times, Tokyo, Tuesday, July 16, 1901] 
Imagine a slightly sloping and open sand beach with a frontage of say 400
yards. Imagine intermittent showers coming down, now in torrents now in drizzling
mist with short intervals of what can only be called a suspicion of sunshine
struggling out through the thinner portions of the overhanging clouds. Imagine,
excepting a fairly wide pathway in the center ending seaward in an improvised
pontoon bridge, the whole frontage consisting of a continuous wall of humanity
standing 30 or 40 deep and consisting of all ages and both sexes with the
younger ones bathing their feet in the soft rippling sea this human
wall being made picturesque by karakasa and umbrellas of all shapes and shades
overhead, and by a full display of the rustic taste for striking and fantastic
contrasts in the way of colors in the dresses. Imagine once again thousands
upon thousands of wondering eyes all looking anxiously seaward where, a mile
or so off, lie three white men-of-war majestically riding at anchor together
with our Shikishima, Hatsuse, and Amagi at short distances from each other,
while nearer shore torpedo boats and catchers, racing yachts and innumerable
other small craft dot the surface, looking smart with flags in full rig.
Imagine all this and you have a rough picture of how Kurihama looked for
a good part of the morning of the 14th at the particular part where the Perry
celebration took place.

About 11 o'clock the good ship Hakuai Maru, with some 300 ladies and gentlemen,
Japanese and foreign, from Tokyo and Yokohama, and which had started from
the Yokohama pier, hove in sight of the beach. The anchor having been dropped
soon after, landing by steam launches and steam-towed junks began. It was
raining then, and the proceedings were, to say the least, tedious, even unpleasant.
But good humor prevailed everywhere, and nothing failed to provoke merriment,
which was indeed the supreme feature of the two hours' voyage, and which
was now prolonged for another hour, during which time the landing was completed.
From launches on to the pontoon, then between the staring and wondering crowds,
the landing parties came to a big gate of evergreens, which was in the shape
of a double cross one by the side of the other. Inside the gate they
were most courteously received by Baron Kaneko, president of the Beiyu Kyokai,
and other members of the association, who politely ushered them into the
curtain-fenced inclosure. The inclosure must have measured at least 100 by
100 yards or so, and in the center, and somewhat to the rear, rose the object
of the day's celebration, still veiled in a piece of light white cloth. On
the right of the monument were seen Rear-Admiral Rodgers and his fellow officers,
in full uniform, and other American officials, seated under a tent. Similarly
to the left were the ministers of state, and high naval and army officers.
Then, leaving a good-sized hollow square in the center, rows of tents formed
the two sides where 

the guests were variously distributed, the foreigners being all housed in
the tents next to that of the American officers; while fronting the monument,
and with their backs to the entrance, a naval band took up their post, behind
which two companies of marines from our warships formed guards.

A few minutes after 12, when the last man had taken his seat, Baron Kaneko
appeared in a little improvised green bowered stage at the foot of the monument
and announced the commencement of the ceremony. Then walking up to Admiral
Rodgers he led that officer to the monument, from the top of which a white
rope hung. In the midst of impressive silence the admiral gave a pull at
the rope and down came the white veil, and there stood in full view a huge
slab of granite with inscriptions in bright gold, cut deep into it and telling
in seventeen Chinese characters, chosen and penned by Marquis Ito, what the
stupendous rock pillar was for. The unveiling formed a signal for loud and
enthusiastic applause which took some time to subside. Hardly had the hand-clapping
ended when Baron Kaneko was again on the stage and began to read an address
from a scroll of paper. But by this time the news of the unveiling had reached
the United States and Japanese warships out in the sea, and they now commenced
to fire salutes. While boom! boom! went on the guns, the Baron continued
to read his speech, and the scene did not fail to make a most thrilling impression
on the vast assembly. We give below a liberal translation of the baron's
 "Here it was at Kurihama in the district of Miura Kanagawa that on the 14th
of July, 1853, Commodore Perry, of the United States of America, by order
of his Goveminent, first landed and opened negotiations with the special
commissioner of the Shogunate to conclude a treaty of amity and commerce between 
Japan and the United States. It was at this spot that the modern civilization of our
Empire had its beginning. Rear-Admiral Beardslee, who was a midshipman under Commodore
Perry, came a second time to Japan last year, and on that occasion he one
day revisited this place led by the memories of the past. Subsequently at
a meeting of the American Association of Japan he, giving his reminiscences
of our country as it was forty-nine years ago, said that he had found the
Empire strictly maintaining the policy of stern seclusion an(l forming ny
hersJf a world of her own. But, he continued, his second visit had revealed
to him an entirely different country almost able to compete with the great
powers of the world in the onward march on the path of civilization. 
 The progress made by Japan during the half century had been so rapid and
vast that the admiral could but think that his two visits had been separated
by ages. The admiral also remarked that Kurihama was the gate through which
Western civilization was introduced into Japan, and that it was his earnest
wish that this important spot should have some lasting mark so that it might
be remembered by posterity. The members of the association then present were
greatly impressed by the narration - and at once passed- a resolution to
erect a monument marking the places of Commodore Perry's landing, at Kurihama.
But the association from the very beginning never m3ant to erect a monument
of great cost and grandeur, but on the contrary we decided upon as simple
and modest a design as possible to mark for the future one of the most important
places in the history of Japanese Empire. Therefore only a small area of
ground has been allotted for the purpose. When, however, our intentions became
public, the people of the United States at once showed a most keen interest
and moreover the Government of that country ordered Rear-Admiral Rodgers,
commander in chief of the United States fleet in the East, to attend the
unveiling ceremony with three men-of-war. Our most August Emperor having
also heard of our undertaking was most graciously pleased to make us a grant
in money toward the monument fund, a grant which the association acknowledged
as an unexampled honor. 

 "But the construction of a monument of a national event is necessarily a
national work, and should not, we thought, be carried out by a private association,
hut by the whole country. Particularly so, when it was so warmly taken up
both at home and abroad. We therefore decided to enlarge the scope of our
original design so as to comprise all ranks and classes of the Japanese people.
But the time was too short to fully put in practice all the ideas entertained
by the association, and besides when we made the change in our programme
we found that the stone had already been cut and engraved and did not allow
any alteration, so we were compelled to adhere as we have done to our original

 "To-day is the forty-ninth anniversary of the first landing of Commodore
Perry at this place. We have selected the day to unveil the monument. Four
decades and 

JAPAN. 381 
some years ago when Commodore Perry set his foot on this shore, the Japanese
Empire was enshrouded in the fogs of a seclusion of nearly three hundred
years and all intercourse with foreign countries was strictly forbidden.
But since the restoration of 1868, our Government has introduced the laws
and customs of Western nations and the nation has undergone a complete and
wonderful change, and to-day we behold the Japanese Empire in a prominent
position among the civilized powers of the world, the country having concluded
treaties on equal footing with the Western powers and having also adopted
the constitutional form of government. All these marvelous changes have indeed
flowed from the enlightened policy wisely adopted by our most revered Emperor,
yet nobody will deny the great obligation we owe to the Government of the
United States, which, of all the Western powers, first induced us to open
our country to foreign intercourse. Moreover, the United States being the
nearest of our Western neighbors, there is reason why our diplomatic and
commercial relations with her should always be most amicable. 
 "Rear-Admiral Rodgers is the grandson of Commodore Perry. What a delightful
coincidence that the grandfather sowed the seeds of the modern civilization
at Kurihama and to-day the grandson unveils the monument built to the memory
of his grandfather. This monument is erected to preserve on the stone our
determination never to forget the friendship of the United States that sent
Commodore Perry to induce us in a peaceful way to have intercourse with foreign
powers and also to show to the whole world that our amicable relations with
the great powers so happily maintained and all our Western civilization so
securely implanted in our soil have had their beginnings at this humble little

 "The presence of the distinguished naval officers from the country most
friendly to us, and of the ministers of states and of all the ladies and
gentlemen present here has given a great luster to the occasion to-day. We
only regret that the limits of space and time have prevented us from extending
an invitation to all whose presence would have been a great honor to us.
Considering that this place is lacking in facilities of communication both
by land and sea, that so many should have favored us with their presence
must be deemed a very great honor to us. On behalf of the monument committee
I have the honor of giving this brief history of the facts and circumstances
which led to the building of this monument, and, in conclusion, I hereby
beg to express my sincere thanks to all present." 

 At the conclusion of the baron's speech the guards of honor presented arms
while the band struck up the national anthem. Next followed the reading by
Mr. J. M. Ferguson, second secretary of the United States legation, the address
prepared for the occasion by Col. A. E. Buck, United States minister, who,
owing to illness, was unable to come. 

 "Had some wise man of prophetic vision, a half century ago, foretold that
Commodore Perry's coming to Japan with his ships, landing at this place and
having intercourse with the Japanese Government would be followed by so momentous
consequences within fifty years as are now manifest, he would have been treated
with derision. Nothing would have been more incredible. And yet, if the Commodore
had never approached these shores some other similar incident might have
followed with like result. The time was opportune and conditions were favorable
for such a departure from the old and the beginning of a new era.

 "That a nation with its peculiar civilization of more than two thousand
five hundred years, existing wholly within itself, with little if any .contadt
with the outside world, should have changed its feudal system of government
to a constitutional government, entirely by its own initiative and by the
grace of a wise Emperor within thirty-five years, is a marvel to the civilized

 "Since the advent of Commodore Perry the Empire of Japan has, within herself
and of her own volition, ceased to be a hermit nation; has made treaties
of amity and commerce with the nations of the world; has opened the country
to the people of all nations, welcoming them within her borders and throughout
the land, granting to them like immunities and protection as given to native
subjects. She has now become a world power, accepted in full fellowship into
the family of nations on an equality with Western countries. 

 "In such a short period of time to have evolved an army so disciplined and
efficient as to command the admiration of the world; to have built a navy
of such strength as to force her recognition as one of the great sea powers,
speaks volumes for the wonderful enterprise and ability of this the youngest
in the family of recognized civilized nations. 

 "One can only understand this when he comes to know the people their
mental activity, their energy, their endurance, their independent and progressive

their ambition, their pride of country, and their loyalty to their Emperor--then
one will understand how it is, not only that such an army has been created
and disciplined and such a navy built, but also the causes that have brought
into existence their constitutional form of government; their modern educational
system, so enlarged as to provide for all the youth of the Empire; their
modern financial system; their new judicial system; their complete postal
and telegraph systems; their extended railway and light-house systems; their
hospitals, so well equipped; their Red Cross Society, so well conducted;
their extensive textile manufactories and other thousand and one new industries
by which they are successfully competing with Western nations in many articles
ot commerce; their large merchant ships traversing the seas, exchanging products
with every country; and the many other evidences to be seen of changed conditions
in so short a time, so astonishing to the world.

 "For her progress in the direction of a new civilization the Empire of Japan
has had no precedent. No conquering power has ever overrun this country or
devasted its coast cities. No foreign power has attempted to conquer her,
or has coerced or in any direction has shaped her course. She does not owe
her marvelous progress and prosperity and her constitutional form of government
to the control or direct influence of any other country. These grand results
have been wrought out by the evolution of a wise people with inspiring impulses
and great aspirations, possessed of that intelligent conviction and masterful
courage that overcome the greatest difficulties and that insure to a people
independence and power. Nowhere in the history of the world can be found
a parallel. No one can foretell or set the limit to that degree of advancement
the nation is yet destined to reach. The scroll of her future is not yet
open to moral vision. Of that one can only judge from what her aspirations
and ambition have already accomplished.

 "As an American citizen I express my profound congratulations that these
and other wonderful and beneficent consequences have followed Commodore Perry's
visit, and I am proud of the fact that from that time the most friendly relations
have existed between the United States and Japan, and that the ties binding
the two countries have been growing stronger the passing years.

 "Mr. President and gentlemen, this shaft of granite that marks the spot
where Perry landed, erected by your people in the honor of his memory, is
the strongest evidence, not only of the recognition of the benefits following
his coming, but of the friendship existing between your people and mine.

 "I thank you and your people for this great tribute to the memory of that
heroic naval commander, an American citizen, a tribute unprecedented and
unaccountable to those not familiar with the character of your people and
the spirit which animates them. 

 "Under the beneficent rule of a wise sovereign may your people ever continue
in prosperity and happiness, and may everlasting peace and good will exist
between the United States and the Empire of Japan."

 Colonel Buck's address over, Prime Minister Viscount Katsura stepped on
the stage and read an address, which was in substance as follows: 

 "On this auspicious occasion, on which the Beiyu Kyokai carry out the ceremony
of unveiling the Perry monument, one naturally turns his thoughts to the
coming of Commodore Perry, of the United States Navy, four decades and some
years ago. Since those days the civilization originally possessed by this
country has greatly advanced under the benign influence of Western civilization,
and it gives me boundless joy to participate in this grand celebration at
this moment when the light of our progress is sending forth its rays with
increased brightness. Furthermore, we have to-day with us the United States
fleet, dispatched hither for the special purpose of taking part in the celebration.
This act of friendship, always characteristic of the American nation, will
he most highly appreciated and will never be forgotten by our people, high
and low. 

 "Considering it a matter of honor to be present on this felicitous occasion,
I have great pleasure in saying these few words of congratulation." 

 After the premier, Rear-Admiral Rodgers was led to the stage and made the
following speech, a report of which we borrow from the Japan Mail: 

 "As I stand here to-day, honored by this occasion, and representing, together
with the officers and men under my command, the Navy of the United States,
and appreciating as I do the courtesy and hospitality extended to us by the
Imperial Government of Japan, realizing also the sentiments of good will
and friendship which 

 JAPAN. 383 
inspired, under the leadership of Baron Kaneko and his committee, the generous
originators of this event, I feel for many reasons that it is for me an especially
happy occasion.

Looking back for nearly half a century, I remember the departure from home
of my grandfather, Commodore Perry, upon his diplomatic mission to Japan.
I remember his return, bringing with him the first specimens of Japanese
handiwork and art that ever reached the United States, and many of these
are still treasured in my family. Naturally, the Perry family has always
cherished sentiments of affection for Japan and the Japanese, and I have
been impressed with them from childhood. I also remember the honor tendered
to Commodore Perry by his fellow-citizens upon his return to the United States,
including handsome presents, among others, a magnificent service of silver
plate, in recognition of his successful execution of a delicate diplomatic
mission. I believe it to be an interesting fact that Japan in 1854 received
the first fully accredited ambassador from the United States. Commodore Perry
had the honor to be the first diplomatic representative of our country empowered
with the functions of an ambassador. The Navy of the United States has always
cherished a warm and cordial feeling for Japan and its people. My inclinations
have led me to know Japan, perhaps, as well as anyone could who never visited
her shores, and no one could be more impressed than I am with the characteristics
which have brought Japan with rapid strides to be the peer of the leading
military and naval powers of the world. The presence of my friend, Rear-Admiral
Beardslee, is a happy incident of this occasion. We all know of his connection
with it, and of the interesting fact that he is one of those who landed here
nearly half a century ago. May he long be a survivor of that expedition.
That the cordial feeling which exists and has always existed between the
United States and Japan may continue undisturbed is my earnest hope, and
I believe that from no country will Japan receive more hearty good wishes
than from that in which Matthew Galbraith Perry was born." 
Mr. Hill to Mr. Buck.

No. 358.] DEPARTMENT OF STATE,  Washington, July 30, 1901. 
 SIR: At the instance of the Secretary of the Navy, as expressed in his letter
of the 20th instant, I have now to instruct you to express to the Government
of Japan the cordial appreciation and thanks of this Government for the unusual
courtesy shown by Japanese officials and subjects to the squadron of United
States ships which Was present during the unveiling of the Perry monument
on the 14th instant. 
I am, etc.,  DAVID J. HILL,  Acting Secretary. 
Mr. Adee to Mr. Buck.

No. 362.] DEPARTMENT OF STATE,   Washington, August 21, 1901. 
 SIR: I have to acknowledge the receipt of your unnumbered dispatch of the
20th ultimo reporting the arrival of part of the United States Asiatic Squadron
at Yokohama on the occasion of the ceremonies attending the unveiling of
a monument at Kurihama, erected by the Japanese "American Association of
Japan" in commemoration of the advent of Commodore Perry forty-eight years
ago. You state that Rear-Admiral Rodgers and the officers of the squadron
had been most courteously received by Their Majesties the Emperor and Empress,
by the officials of the Japanese Government, and by the people. 

 The Government of the United States highly appreciates the courtesies shown
on this occasion to the representatives of the Navy Department, and is much
impressed by the friendly intention shown in the erection of the monument
to celebrate the entry of Commodore Perry into the ports of Japan. 
 I am, etc., ALVEY A. ADEE,  Acting Secretary. 

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