195 Historical Comparison between the U.S. and Japan around the time of the Civil War (1861-1865), and Viewing Japan’s history from the U.S.  wrote: 060629, posted: 060724, modified: 060728
We've compared the history of the U.S. and Japan around of the time of the Civil War* while posting pix of the Memorial Day event at
Fort Snelling, St. Paul, MN. I became aware of the fact that the Edo Era (the last Samurai Period in Japan) ended two years after the Civil War.
I (Silly me!) thought that everyone in the world knows of the "Black Ships" and how the Edo Era ended (The last days of the Tokugawa Shogunate, the Meiji Revolution, etc.) because these two facts marked the start of modern Japan, and we learned the two as significant incidents in world history classes, TV, movies, etc.  Recently I asked four of my American friends about the two events.  Oops! I was totally WRONG!!!  All of my four American friends’ answers were negative**. Once I heard the negative answers, I could figure out the reason on my own: Around the time of the Civil War, Japan was the only developing country (Don’t get me wrong, I respect developing countries), and Japan was not as significant as the present Japan among the industrial countries in the world accordingly because Japan’s economic power was very small then.  For this reason, I think, Americans don’t study the two facts in their HS world history classes.  It’s really great for me to check my country’s history (Japanese history) from the U.S.  If I stayed in Japan, I wouldn’t know of the above.  Note: I believe this is one of advantages for one to stay overseas. I bet you even some Americans have the same experience while overseas (for example, in Europe or Japan) as I had this time.

*  Historical Comparison between the U.S. and Japan around the time of the Civil War.

1825 - Fort Snelling is completed

1853: Black Ships arrive in Japan     
1861-1865 - Civil War

1867: Edo Period ends (1603 – 1867: a division of Japanese history; last Samurai era)    

1914-1918 + 1939-1945 - World War I (WWI) + World War II (WWII)

** Q: “I’ve questions on the Japanese history. Did you learn of the “Black Ships” led by Commodore M. Perry, who demanded Japan to open the country to American traders, in 1853 and/or that the Edo Period (last Samurai era) ended in 1867
+ in your HS world history class or something like that? Or have you heard of these?  I bet you may not have heard of them.  This is interesting to me since all the Japanese know of the two historical facts. Please return your answers when you get a chance. Thx.”
+ I should have mentioned “the last days of the Tokugawa Shogunate” or “the Meiji Revolution” rather than that the Edo Period ended in 1867, in my question.  But as long as I listen to their answers, I’m pretty sure they don’t know of anything about Japan at that time.

American Jim’s A: “I had heard of Admiral Perry, but I don't recall this event.  I have a hunch it was covered in our high school World History class, as we spent time studying China, India, and Japan.  But the phrase "Black Ships" does not sound familiar.  I remember studying the Samurai, but not any details, unfortunately.  I think the Asian portion was only one semester, so our study would not have been very detailed.”  060615
American John’s A: “No, I do not remember learning about either of the events you mentioned. I may have forgotten, but I believe I never heard about either of these events in history class.”

American Mike’s and Sara’s A:  “No, I’ve never heard of them.”

Q2 to American Jim: “It’s interesting to know of what you learned about Japan in your HS World History class.  You’re saying the Asian portion was one semester.  What are other portions?  I bet the European portion was many semesters.”  

American Jim’s A2:  “If I remember correctly,

I spent a year on American History.

I spent one semester on Western Civilization (Greek, Roman, European), and one on Eastern Civilization.

I spent a semester or possibly even a year in Political Science/American Government.

I think I had a semester of Current Events or something similar, where we discussed the news and issues of the day, both domestic and international.

The Asian portion consisted of:

Russia: Rasputin, Czar Nicholas, Lenin, Trotsky, etc. are some names I remember.

China:  dynasties, British colonization, opium dens, "cultural revolution", Mao, Long March(?), Chiang Kai Shek, etc. are some topics I remember.

India: Bagavad Ghita, Rig Veda, Hinduism, Pakistan and Bangladesh, Gandhi are some names/topics I remember covering.

Japan:  Samurai (/feudalism?), Shinto-ism, Buddhism, not much else that I remember covering, but that is my memory's fault.  Sorry!”

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