This event is run by our JapanPhilly2020 partner, the Independence Seaport Museum.


As We Saw Them

April 25, 2020 through January 3, 2021

Independence Seaport Museum

211 S Christopher Columbus Blvd, Philadelphia, PA 19106

Explore the evolution of the complicated and lasting partnership between Japan and the United States from its taut beginnings to a flourishing relationship spanning two centuries in a new exhibit, As We Saw Them, at Independence Seaport Museum.

With artifacts, artist sketches and first-hand accounts from both Americans and Japanese players – including the Tokugawa shogunate and their democratic American counterparts over three presidencies; Philadelphian James Biddle, who made the first attempt at relations in 1846; and Matthew C. Perry, who led an aggressive campaign to pursue a treaty – embark on the journey from America to Japan in 1854.

Despite initial misgivings and differing political goals, the two came together under the Treaty of Kanagawa in 1854, which, assured support from Japan for America’s prosperous trade with China, through care of possible shipwrecked American sailors, the establishment of an American consulate, and two trading ports.


Throughout 2020

Independence Seaport Museum

211 S Christopher Columbus Blvd, Philadelphia, PA 19106

Did you know that Cruiser Olympia, the oldest floating steel warship in the world, spent almost two years stationed in Yokohama, Japan? While there she also visited the ports of Hakodate, Kobe, and Nagasaki. Learn more about Olympia’s history and service as Independence Seaport Museum commemorates her 125th anniversary during the year 2020. For more information about programming, activities, and events, visit

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