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What’s Seen And Heard In Yokohama

March 2023
1min read

The illustrations on these pages come from an abundantly illustrated, three-volume Japanese tourist guide to Yokohama published in the years after Perry’s visit. Then foreigners flocked to the city to open trade, and Japanese flocked from near and far to ogle the foreigners. In the drawings the streets and shops are all carefully identified and the odd garments and odder mannerisms of the foreigners gleefully noted. “American men and women have come from several thousand ri away,” says What’s Seen and Heard in Yokohama , “and from several other countries such as Holland, England, France, Portugal, Russia, and black men from Africa and India. Yokohama is becoming a center of world trade. This is the first time such a thing happens in the history of Japan. These high-ranking foreigners are ones who are important in their own countries and they come from well-known families of business and they are mild-mannered and courteous. But in regard to the lower class people, there are all kinds of them which is true in any country, but in the practice of commerce there is no one more hard-working than those foreigners. Despite the hardships attendant on the journey the merchants’ wives accompanied the husbands so that they could die with their husbands. The deepness of affection is very moving.”

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