Breaking Open Japan, By George Feifer

1429 words - 6 pages

Breaking Open Japan
Feifer, George. Breaking Open Japan: Commodore Perry, Lord Abe, and American Imperialism in 1853. New York: Smithsonian Books/Collins, 2006. pp. xx, 389 p.: ill., maps; 24 cm. ISBN: 0060884320 (hardcover: alk. paper). Format: Book. Subjects: Japan Foreign relations United States /United States Foreign relations Japan.
2. A statement regarding the author: George Feifer is a native of Roxbury, Connecticut. He has written for a wide array of publications. He is a “well-known” and veteran author with many successful books. Some of the books which he has written were “Our Motherland”, “Justice in Moscow”, “Tennozan: The Battle of Okinawa”, “Moscow Farewell”, “Message from Moscow”, and last but not least, “The Girl from Petrovka” which eventually became a Hollywood film. He's written for the New Republic, the New York Times Magazine, Harper's, and the Saturday Evening Post.
3. The range of the work:
BOOKS – Reviews; IMPERIALISM,NONFICTION; United States/Japan; American Warship in Japanese Harbor; Commodore Perry, Lord Abe, and American Imperialism in 1853.

4. A summary of the contents of the book:
The story is about one of the highest clatters in both cultural and political events in time.
Four warships of America’s East Asia Squadron anchored at Uraga, in the predawn hours of July 14, 1853. This is twenty-seven miles south of Japanese capital, also known as Edo (renamed Tokyo in 1868). A prominent scholar had recently warned of people who came from the earth’s “hindmost regions” were “incapable of doing good things,” to Japan. The recent Mexican Spanish-American War, Americans has sharpened his desire for taking advantage of his wealth and power for political and commercial benefit. For almost two and a half centuries of deep planning and seclusion, the American Squadron, headed by imperialist commander Matthew Perry finally peer open Japan. He was determined to make his presence visible and to get his way- largely by prompting fear of his very big guns. Commander Perry's concealing of imperial impulse in benevolent purpose was fully matched by Japanese self–deception. In 1811, a distinguished Japanese scholar claimed that "Japanese differ completely from and are superior to the peoples of...all other countries of the world." The country relies on their faith in the protection by heavenly power. The superior people nevertheless shivered at the intimidation of Western dominance or even colonization.
The story brings life to the drama of two tough men who in many ways have very different societies: thrusting Commodore Perry and genial, manipulative Lord Masahiro Abe, young as he was, knowledgeable to negotiate the country’s power mazes as well skills well fit him to the complex domestic circumstances and his training had been all the fuller for the Shogun’s less-than-forceful leadership and long-drawn-out ailment. Lord Abe, as the head of the Shoguns advisory council, was Japan’s real decision maker and...

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