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  Japan-America 150th Anniversary

A Commemorative Ceremony and Exhibit

  Program Date:   March 31, 2004
  Application Due:   N/A
  Location:   The National Archives, Washington, DC
  Program Type:   Public Affairs
  Contact:   National Association of Japan-America Societies
Tel: 202-783-4550

  A Commemorative Ceremony and Event Overview    
  "Marking the 150th Anniversary of the Treaty of Peace and Amity between the United States and Japan"  
Amb. Foley, Amb. & Mrs. Kato, and Speaker Hastert at breakfast table
Ambassador Thomas Foley
Speaker of the House of Representatives Dennis Hastert
Deputy Secretary of State Richard L. Armitage
Ambassador Ryozo Kato
Deputy Secretary Richard Armitage presenting the Treaty of Kanagawa to Ambassador Ryozo Kato
Deputy Secretary Armitage, Amb. Foley, Archivist of the U.S. Carlin, and Amb. & Mrs. Kato
Amb. & Mrs. Kato and Archivist of the U.S. John Carlin at the exhibit
Speaker Hastert and Amb. Kato at the cherry tree planting ceremony on Capitol Ground
NAJAS President Patricia Kearns presenting a historic picture to Speaker Hastert
Mrs. Mary Harper with Speaker Hastert, Amb. & Mrs. Kato, and representatives from Aflac, ANA, Sony, TEPCO, Toshiba and Toyota,
Amb. Kato and Commodore Perry's Descendants
Amb. Foley holding QRIO with 150 logo and Mr. James Toyama, Vice President , Sony Electronics
  In Washington DC, a commemorative ceremony for the 150th Anniversary of the signing of the Japan-U.S. Treaty of Peace and Amity was held at the National Archives with the attendance of dignitaries from both countries. The ceremony will include breakfast, a commemorative exhibit, remarks by John Carlin, Archivist of the United States, Ambassador Thomas S. Foley, Ambassador Ryozo Kato, Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert and Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage, video messages from President Bush and Prime Minister Koizumi, and presentation of facsimile of the Treaty to Ambassador Ryozo Kato by Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage to replace the original destroyed by fire in the late 1800s.  
  Program Report  

Deputy Secretary of State, Ambassador Richard L. Armitage presented a facsimile of the Treaty of Kanagawa (Treaty of Peace and Amity) to Ambassador of Japan Ryozo Kato at a special ceremony at the National Archives in Washington, DC on March 31 to mark the 150th Anniversary of the signing of the Treaty. Over 150 dignitaries from Capitol Hill, the Administration, the Pentagon, State Department, the policy community and the corporate community were present along with descendants of Commodore Matthew C. Perry, the man credited with the official opening of Japan in 1853 and the Treaty which was signed on March 31, 1854. Congratulatory video-taped messages from President George W. Bush and Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi were aired as well as taped interviews by Charlie Rose/PBS with Ambassador Howard Baker, Jr. and Ambassador Ryozo Kato.

The original Japanese language version of the Treaty, which was written in Japanese and English and translated into Dutch and Chinese, was destroyed in the Edo Castle fire of 1859. The National Archives' special exhibit: Treaty of Kanagawa: Setting the Stage for Japanese-American Relations and Black Ships and Samurai, a traveling exhibit based on the Massachusetts Institution of Technology's OpenCourseWare Project were viewed by guests following the presentation and remarks by Archivist of the United States John W. Carlin, Ambassador Thomas S. Foley, Speaker of the House of Representatives Dennis Hastert, Ambassador Armitage, and Ambassador Kato.

At the conclusion of the program, guests traveled to Capitol Hill for a Tree Planting ceremony hosted by Speaker Hastert. Ambassador Kato, Madame Kato, sponsors of the 150th Anniversary and descendants of Commodore Perry all participated in the planting of the tree, a "First Lady" Cherry Tree.

The two programs were organized by the National Association of Japan-America Societies, as secretariat for the US-Japan 150th Anniversary, in cooperation with the National Archives, The Washington Post Company, and the Embassy of Japan.

See also:

  Remarks by Speaker of the House of Representatives Dennis Hastert  

Thank you Mr. Speaker, for the kind words and thank you to our distinguished guests who have done so much to continue a great diplomatic relationship with our friends in the Land of the Rising Sun - Deputy Secretary of State Armitage and Ambassador Kato - welcome.

Let me also welcome the descendants of Commodore Matthew Perry. Your lineage has played such an important role in United States history. You must be extremely proud to be here today.

In November of 1852, Commodore Matthew Perry - with the blessings of President Millard Fillmore - set sail for Japan with the intent of establishing a friendly relationship based on trade.

Nearly 7 months later, Perry landed ashore in Japan and saw "beautiful colors" surrounding the harbor. As promised, Perry was able to establish a friendly diplomatic relationship with the U.S. and Japan signing the Treaty of Peace and Amity.

In recognition of the diplomatic ties that were forged, Japan presented the U.S with a gift of friendship in 1912. This gift was the Yoshino Cherry Trees that currently line the Washington D.C tidal basin. Each year at this time people from all over our nation and globe come to marvel at the "beautiful colors" our cherry blossoms produce - a symbol of a relationship that has blossomed with our Japanese friends.

Today, Japan serves as an important ally in the war on terror. Japanese troops are helping rebuild Iraq - a country that has suffered under a brutal regime. Japan today is still a strong ally in trade both in technology and manufacturing.

Later today at the Capitol, we will hold a ceremony in which we will plant one more Cherry Tree - to celebrate the 150th Anniversary of our relations with Japan.

Ambassador Kato, we thank you for being here. On behalf of the United States Congress, we thank you for the 150 years of friendship and we look forward to working with your country for many years to come.

  Remarks by Ambassador Ryozo Kato  

Thank you and good morning.

An American friend of mine and his wife were at dinner at our residence the other night. My friend asked, "In the postwar era, what days stand out in Japan's memory the way the day Kennedy was shot stands out in America's memory?"

What was interesting was this-many of the days my wife and I so distinctly remembered were events dealing with America. We, too, remember where we were the day Kennedy was shot.

We remember where we were when we heard Elvis was dead. And, of course, we remember where we were when we heard about 9-11.

Now, why do I mention this? Well, I imagine the day that Commodore Perry's black ships sailed into Edo Bay was a memorable day for the Japanese who beheld that remarkable sight. But perhaps the more historic occasion is the day that we celebrate this morning, the signing of the first treaty between our two countries. This treaty has truly led to something memorable and remarkable-the relationship that defines us in 2004.

What an unusual day it must have been 150 years ago. None of the Americans spoke Japanese and none of the Japanese spoke English, so the treaty had been negotiated through Dutch and Chinese interpreters.

How different we must have appeared to each other the day of the signing-the Americans dressed in ornate naval uniforms and the Japanese in very formal samurai attire.

We were completely different from each other: different languages, different dress and customs, different political systems, different religions, different everything. Japanese and Americans lived in separate worlds.

Nearly a century later, we experienced a period when we were not friends. Then we experienced times when we did not find it easy to understand each other.

Yet over those 150 years, our two worlds have merged into one. As is so often said, we share values of democracy. We share a belief in the prosperity that comes from free markets. We share in the rightness of lifting up the community of nations. The world that Japan and the United States today inhabit is a world that would be much less stable if not for our relationship.

I often say in my speeches that never has the Japan-U.S. relationship been so close, and never has there been a time when it's required that we be so close.

As we meet this morning, Japanese men and women in uniform are in Iraq, along with U.S. and coalition forces, contributing to the reconstruction of a new Iraq.

As we meet this morning, Japanese sailors are in the Indian Ocean and Arabian Sea supplying oil to U.S. and other coalition forces engaged in the fight against terrorism.

As we meet this morning, Japanese Self Defense Forces and the United States Armed Services are working together to advance peace and stability in Asia.

I would like to express my appreciation to those in the U.S. military who are pursuing peace in the Middle East, in Asia and in other places around the globe.

Ladies and gentlemen, Japan is proud to be a friend and ally of the United States. And I am (will be) very proud today to receive this reproduction of the Treaty of Peace and Amity.

We will treasure it, just as we treasure the friendship that this treaty has built between our two countries.

Thank you very much.

  Primary exhibit sponsors were Toyota, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, the US-Japan Anniversary Committee and the Foundation for the National Archives with additional support for the program and tree planting from 150th Founding Sponsors AFLAC, ANA-All Nippon Airways, Pfizer, Toyota and additional sponsors Tokyo Electric Power, Sony and Noevir.  


U.S.-Japan 150th Anniversary Project Sponsors

U.S.-Japan 150th Anniversary Project and all its programs are made possible by the generous contributions from AFLAC, ANA-All Nippon Airways, Pfizer, Toyota, Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO), Noevir and SONY.


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