'Lew Chew Costumes, Middle Clas', c 1853-1854.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
Lithographed plate by Ackerman after a daguerreotype by E Brown with landscape by Heine, of two Japanese men in traditional kimonos, with parasols. The younger man has a fan tucked into his sash. The arrival of Commodore Matthew Calbraith Perry (1794-1858) and his 'black ships' in Japan was a turning point in Japanese history. The United States wanted to end Japanese isolationist policies and increase their trade routes in the western Pacific. They also wanted a coaling station for the new steam-powered US Navy ships. On 26 May 1853 they arrived at Great Lew Chew (Okinawa). The illustrations, notes and journals kept by Perry and his officers were compiled by Francis L Hawkes and published as 'Narrative of the expedition of an American squadron to the China Seas and Japan : performed in the years 1852, 1853, and 1854 …', (Washington, 1856).