Bakumatsu: Black Ships on the Horizon of the Empire of the Sun

Seth Thomas Teegarden


The purpose of this paper is to discuss both the internal and external factors that led to the downfall of the Tokugawa Shogunate. Furthermore, its purpose is to discover the extent to which Commodore Perry’s visit influenced the political landscape of Japan. I am attempting to answer whether or not the downfall of the Tokugawa was brought about by contact with the West, specifically Commodore Perry. Within ten years of Perry’s arrival the Tokugawa Shogunate had been overthrown in a civil war. In the aftermath, Japan emerged under the leadership of Emperor Meiji, beginning a campaign of technological advancement and westernization that put Japan at the forefront of East Asian geopolitics. Commodore Perry’s mission to Japan is an illustration of the power politics that occurred in East Asia during the nineteenth century and the effect that Western influence would have on modern Asian nations of the Far East.


Japan; International Relations


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