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About the Festival

Celebrating its 39th Anniversary, The Japan-America Society and Black Ships Festival of R.I. was honored to have been chosen by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Japan to receive its prestigious citation from the Minister. This acknowledged the Society’s dedication to developing and understanding educational and economic ties between the citizens of Rhode Island and Japan. The citation was presented by The Honorable Keizo Obuchi, former Prime Minister of Japan.

The Black Ships Festival offers a variety of events that emphasize both Japanese art and culture. Events include a formal Gala, Japanese Arts & Crafts such as Origami and Ikebana; Martial Arts, and a Japanese Tea Ceremony. A highlight will be the Taiko Drums!

The Black Ships Festival commemorates the historic achievements of Commodore Matthew C. Perry, USN, of Rhode Island. The “Black Ships,” or “Kurofune,” refers to the Japanese term for foreign ships which, with one exception, were excluded from Japan for two hundred years until 1854. Commodore Perry negotiated the Treaty of Kanagawa in 1854, the first treaty between the United States and Japan, thus ending two centuries of Japanese isolationism. The Black Ships Festival celebrates the signing of the treaty, which brought the two countries together as trading partners.

The Black Ships Festivals in Rhode Island and in Shimoda, Japan commemorate this historic event with a celebration of friendship. This year is the 80th festival in Shimoda. The Festival is presented by The Japan-America Society and Black Ships Festival of Rhode Island, Inc., a non-profit, non-partisan organization. For further information, contact The Japan-America Society of Rhode Island, 28 Pelham Street, Newport, RI 02840 or call (401)847-7666.

Donate to the Commodore Matthew C. Perry Initiative

The Japan America Society of Rhode Island is proud to announce the launch of the Commodore Matthew C. Perry Initiative.  The goal of the initiative is to create long-term US-Japan friendships, primarily by sending Rhode Island high school students to Japan for language and cultural immersion trips.

The Annual Black Ships Festival
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