Scroll depicting Perry's “Black Ships” delegation
Original: Possessed by Waseda University Library, former Otsuki family collection
Edited by Bankei Otsuki
Illustrated by Sekishi Kuwagata, et al.
Commentary by Tetsunori Iwashita
Total 2 scrolls (Vol. 1: 30×947cm, Vol. 2: 30×1017cm), boxed.
Under orders from his master, Confucian scholar Bankei Otsuki of the Sendai domain compiled the
scroll using information obtained from scholars who had actually seen Perry and his entourage. Portraits of Perry and associates, steamships, steam locomotives, Colt pistols, telegraph and so on are rendered meticulously in watercolor, while the Ken no maki (Volume of heaven, vol. 1) chapter includes a poem gifted by Bankei to Luo Sen, the Chinese national who served as Perry’s interpreter.
An extraordinarily candid visual rendering of the circumstances in which Japan found itself in the nineteenth century.