Painting of American sailors dancing about under the influence of strong drink.
The Black Ship Scroll
marks a time in history when Japan “opened” its doors to the outside world after more than two centuries of living in seclusion. The Japan Society of Northern California originally received a set of Black Ship Scroll paintings as a gift over half a century ago. Cut from what was originally a single handscroll, this collection of 27 individually mounted images contains Japanese depictions of Commodore Perry and his crew members in
Shimoda, Japan, in 1854. The scenes provide eyewitness accounts by an anonymous Japanese artist of the day-to-day activities the American sailors experienced in Shimoda, at work and at play. After suffering water damage in 2009, each image was meticulously brought back to life over the course of a 3-year restoration process by Head Conservator Tomokatsu Kawazu of Studio Sogendo. In 2012, after the restoration was complete, the Japan Society sold this set of paintings to the Asian Art Museum.
The Asian Art Museum has exhibited the Black Ship Scroll paintings on multiple occasions – once in 1995 for Japan Society’s 90th birthday, again during the 150th anniversary of Perry’s mission to Japan, and most recently in 2010, for the exhibit “Japan’s Early Ambassadors of San Francisco, 1860-1927.” They have also been exhibited at the State Capitol in Sacramento, and at the Hakone Gardens in Saratoga.
The Japan Society felt that this important collection deserved to be made available to scholars and to the public through a museum or other repository that allows for full access to the public. With the scrolls now in the hands of the Asian Art Museum, a global audience will eventually be able to view the collection online. Our hope is to further research and appreciation of the long and fascinating history of US-Japan relations.
To celebrate the restoration and new ownership of the collection, please join the Japan Society for a lively discussion about the Black Ship Scroll and the early US-Japan interactions. Abbot Daiei Matsui
, a historian from Ryosenji Treasure Museum in Shimoda, and Melissa Rinne
, Associate Curator of Japanese Art at the Asian Art Museum, will examine these images and discuss the depicted experiences between the American sailors and the people of Shimoda. The panel discussion will be moderated by Andrew Neuman
, President of the Japan Society of Northern California.
Melissa M. Rinne is Associate Curator of Japanese Art at the Asian Art Museum of San Francisco. Educated at Brown University, Kyoto University of Arts, and Kyoto University, she been the recipient of fellowships from the Japanese government’s Ministry of Education and Agency for Cultural Affairs and currently serves as a member of the Arts Working Group of CULCON (United States–Japan Conference on Cultural and Educational Exchange). Her publications include Masters of Bamboo: Artistic Lineages in the Lloyd Cotsen Japanese Basket Collection and other exhibition catalogues and articles on Japanese art.
Abbot Daiei Matsui oversees the Ryosenji Treasure Museum which houses over 3000 original artifacts on Commodore Perry and the Black Ships, the largest collection of its kind in Japan. Their collection includes includes 20 Black Ship scrolls and recordings of cross-cultural interactions Japan had with foreigners from the 16th to 19th century.
6:00-7:30: Presentations / Audience Q&A
7:30-8:00: Reception with light refreshments / Networking
Early registration by Monday, April 15, 2013:
- $15 for Students (Must show Student ID at time of check-in)
- $20 for JSNC and Asia Society Members
- $25 for Non-members
- No refunds after April 10th.
Walk-ins on day of event (subject to room capacity):
To purchase tickets please go here.
*Selected Japan Society Program