Images: Broadsides & Other Prints 日本語で見る | Read in Japanese
The John Hay Library at Brown University holds other Japanese prints that had been circulating around the time of Perry’s arrival. Many others with similar qualities are preserved today, both in Japan and the United States. We hope that students will write for the website, comparing the items we have here with others they have encountered.
Published in the Edo period, Kawaraban, or broadsides, reported newsworthy events in writings and illustrations. The three broadsides on this website have several elements in common — the depiction of black ships, American figures, family name and crest of feudal lords in the area, their wealth or number of retainers, and layout map of the coastal guards in the area. They could be categorized as okatame kawaraban, which depicts the system of coastal defense organized by the shogunate against foreign ships. The large number of these prints in existence suggests interest among the commoners for information on the warrior class, in addition to the foreigners.
These prints focus on the crew that arrived with Commander Perry, along with additional information on American culture. Unlike the figures drawn in the okatame kawaraban, all of these characters are labeled with text that identifies each individual by name, age, or role.