DIPLOMACY FAR REMOVED A REINTERPRETATION OF THE U.S. DECISION TO OPEN DIPLOMATIC RELATIONS WITH JAPAN
PublisherThe University of Arizona.
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AbstractOn the morning of April28, 1849, the USS Preble, a sloop of war commanded by James Glynn, weighed anchor and sailed away from Nagasaki harbor. On board were fourteen men from the whaler Lagoda who had been held for over a year by Japanese authorities. Upon interrogation, the men stated that they were physically mistreated by the Japanese. Two years earlier, sailors from the whaler Lawrence) who were also forced onto Japanese shores and held captive, reported similar mistreatment. The story of these events comprised over fifty pages of the original Senate report used to persuade the United States Congress to approve a naval expedition to Japan. This study seeks to clarify the impact of the stories of the Lawrence and Lagoda on the decision to send the U.S. mission to Japan. Mter examining the actual narratives of the sailors and comparing them with Japanese reports in order to ascertain a factual baseline, the study examines the reaction to the Lawrence and Lagoda by prominent businessmen, naval officers, and politicians. Then, the reaction to the Lawrence and Lagoda is placed in the contextual framework of prevailing mid-nineteenth century American social, cultural, and legal attitudes in order to show that humanitarian concerns were, indeed, a prime consideration tor sending the Perry mission to Japan.
Degree ProgramHonors College
East Asian Studies