National Geographic : 1953 Jul
88 Phili Kuhn A Kurihama Beach Has Changed Little Since Perry First Saw It in 1853 For two centuries before Perry's voyage, Japan excluded all Westerners except a few Dutch traders cooped up on an island. Americans who came to Japan's shores were fired upon, imprisoned, and brutally mistreated. This angered the young American nation, already bursting with expansionist energy and eager for Pacific bases for trade and whaling. President Fillmore sent Commodore Perry on the ticklish mission of opening Japan's closed doors without using force. Kurihama beach, where the Commodore first landed, looks today (above) much as it did a century ago (below) except for swimmers and white roofs of an ice plant on the opposite shore.