• Kyodo

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The city of Shimoda, Shizuoka Prefecture, held a ceremony Wednesday to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the port city’s opening to U.S. ships upon Japan’s signing of the Treaty of Peace and Amity with the United States on March 31, 1854.

In the ceremony at Perry Park, which commemorates the landing of Commodore Matthew Perry in 1853, a man dressed up as Perry and 14 others landed from a ship amid a musical performance by U.S. Navy personnel from Yokosuka, Kanagawa Prefecture.

Perry and his black warships arrived in Shimoda, on the southern tip of the Izu Peninsula, in July 1853 and pressured Japan into signing the treaty, known as the Treaty of Kanagawa, to open itself to the world.

The ceremony was attended by several hundred people. A message was read from U.S. President George W. Bush.

“We are building on our strong relationship and partnership and promoting peace and economic prosperity,” the message said. The U.S. “is grateful to the people of Japan for our deep and enduring friendship.”

Shimoda Mayor Naoki Ishii lit a Japan-U.S. friendship torch that came from Newport, Shimoda’s sister city in Rhode Island. Perry was born there.

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