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
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.
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
1825 - Fort Snelling is completed
Black Ships arrive in Japan
1861-1865 - Civil War
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
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
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
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
I spent one semester
on Western Civilization (Greek, Roman, European), and one on Eastern
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
Rasputin, Czar Nicholas, Lenin, Trotsky, etc. are some names I remember.
dynasties, British colonization, opium dens, "cultural revolution", Mao, Long
March(?), Chiang Kai Shek, etc. are some topics I remember.
Bagavad Ghita, Rig Veda, Hinduism, Pakistan
and Bangladesh, Gandhi are some names/topics I remember covering.
Samurai (/feudalism?), Shinto-ism, Buddhism, not much else that I remember
covering, but that is my memory's fault. Sorry!”
Info: American life, and tips on how to improve your English and how to say it