'Chief Temple, Hakodadi', c 1853-1854.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
Lithographed plate by Sarony and Co after a work by Heine. American sailors from Commodore Matthew Calbraith Perry's (1794-1858) expedition to the Far East visit the temple in the port of Hakodadi (now known as Hakodate), Japan. The US government expedition was mounted in order to open up trade with Japan, which had been in self-imposed isolation for almost 200 years. The United States wanted to increase their trade routes in the western Pacific. They also wanted a coaling station for the new steam-powered ships of the US Navy. 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).