The Opening of Japan

refer to caption
The 5-cent Opening of Japan stamp was issued on July 14, 1953.

Like China, Japan has made many important contributions to the history and culture of the United States. Both stamps shown here were released post-World War II as the world recovered from the devastating war, and the United States made efforts to improve relationships with countries that were once enemies. These stamps served as visual demonstrations of peace and friendship between the two nations.

In 1853, Commodore Matthew Perry traveled to Japan on behalf of the U.S., seeking to re-establish trade for the first time in over 200 years. Perry succeeded in negotiating with Japan, and the Kanagawa Treaty was established, opening Japan's ports to American ships. This 1953 stamp celebrates the 100th anniversary of Perry’s voyage to Japan, portraying Perry’s arrival in Tokyo Bay with Mt. Fuji in the background.

refer to caption
The 4-cent United States-Japan Treaty stamp was issued September 28, 1960.

While the Kanagawa Treaty granted safe harbor to American ships in Japan it did not provide for commercial trade. In 1858 an expanded treaty, known as the Harris Treaty, was signed opening Japan’s ports for commercial trade with the U.S. This 4-cent US-Japan Treaty stamp was issued in 1960, in celebration of the 100th anniversary of the ratification of the treaty. The stamp was meant to recognize the goodwill and mutual understanding between the U.S. and Japan.