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Master of Arts (M.A.)

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Perry, Expedition, the U.S., Japan, Ryukyu


In the history of the U.S.-Japan relations, Commodore Perry’s expedition can be considered both as a great destination for the U.S. westward expansion and a watershed for Japan’s modernization. The previous scholars on this historical event have built a basis for understanding its political intentions, historical significance, and influence on Japan’s social transformation. Considering the historiography of the U.S.-Japan relations in Commodore Perry’s expedition, this study will examine the encounter of the U.S. and Japan by focusing more on the complexity and diversity of the agencies from various people’s perspectives. In order to accomplish the goal, this study firstly demonstrates the chronological study of the U.S. encounters with Japan/the Ryukyu Kingdom (Okinawa). The second chapter will integrate several accounts of members in the expedition and Japanese officials/intellectuals/commoners to investigate a variety of experiences and perspectives in terms of the following three ideas: race, gender, and Christianization/Civilization. The final chapter will include the Ryukyuan and Japanese perspectives into the narrative of Commodore Perry’s expedition to include various viewpoints from all three, the Americans, Japanese and Ryukyuans.


First Advisor

Richard T Chu

Second Advisor

David Glassberg