"It's the Thought That Counts" Activity

In order to win over the Japanese, Perry depended not only on the strength of his fleet and negotiation skills but also on the presentation of gifts to his hosts. The Japanese reciprocated by giving the Commodore and his officers presents from the Emperor. Perry further attempted to extend diplomacy to the banquet table by hosting a gala dinner party for the Japanese on board his flagship, USS Powhatan. Each guest was encouraged to take home leftovers, as was the Japanese custom.

Below is a list of some of the gifts each nation presented to the other. Put a "J" next to the gifts presented by the Japanese and an "A" next to the ones presented by the Americans to the Japanese.

Lifeboats Clocks
Silk Farm Tools
Unusual sea shells Telegraph wire
Porcelain tea sets Telescope
Lacquer boxes and trays Umbrellas
Whiskey/wines Jars of soy sauce
Miniature railroad Pistols/swords


The cultures of Japan and the United States have changed since 1854. Think of the technology and resources of each country. Make a list of gifts that the two countries might exchange today. Draw a special gift you might

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