• Untold Stories of the Black-ship Visit: Behind the Curtains of Admiral Perry's Arrival

    YCAPS-SPF Community Conversation (Iwakuni)

    4 June 2023 – 12:30-15:00 (Japan)

    YCAPS & the Sasakawa Peace Foundation, in partnership with Plat ABC, are pleased to announce the next event in the Community Conversations seminar in Iwakuni!


    The historic visit of Commodore Matthew Calbraith Perry, Commander of U.S. East India Squadron on 8 July, 1853 marked a real turning point for Japan during the last part of a 600 year long feudal Shogunate reign. At the time of Perry’s visit, the Tokugawa Shogunate reign was on the verge of historic decision making. At the time, the nation was split into two schools of thought, one which wanted to stop 230 years of self-imposed closed border policies and open Japan to foreign trade and diplomatic relations, and the other which wanted to stick to traditional, conservative principles of advocating reverence for the Emperor of Japan and the expulsion of foreigners. Based on intelligence gathered by the Tokugawa leadership, there looked to be no options other than opening the country; however, it looked impossible to convince the strongly supported hardline conservatives to break with tradition.


    In this talk by Admiral Koda, he will look at some of the “behind the curtain” reasons why senior leadership and practical decision makers preferred the open nation policy such as intelligence received from the Dutch in Nagasaki and China, who acted as a sort of “honest broker” as well as lessons learned and impressions made from an earlier “gentle and calm” visit by Commodore James Biddle, Commander of U.S. East India Squadron in 1846, seven years prior to Perry’s visit. Admiral Koda will help to give us a more thorough understanding of some of the lesser known aspects at play behind the scenes during Admiral Perry’s historic visit and how without which, the Shogunate response to Perry’s visit could have been much worse and Japan itself could have fallen into unrepairable national separation and a much bloodier and terrible civil war than the actual 18- month long Boshin-Seneki/Meiji-Restoration War.


    Families/kids are welcome. We will have a side area for the kids with fun activities provided by the kind staff at Plat ABC. There will also be free food and refreshments provided.



    • 12:30-1:30 pm - Reception with Coffee, Tea, and Food
    • 1:30-2:00 pm - Presentation
    • 2:00-2:45 pm - Q&A
    • 2:45-3:00 pm - Closing announcements and wrap-up



    PLAT ABC Eigokoryu Center
    〒740-0012 Yamaguchi, Iwakuni, Motomachi, 1 Chome−1−1 レジデンス岩国駅東 1F


    Registration is required! Click here for the registration form.

    Due to limited venue capacity, registration is limited to only people who live or work in the Iwakuni community or Iwakuni Base until May 28.

    If space remains at that point, residents of other communities are welcome to register.


    *IMPORTANT* This event will be an In-Person Seminar. Please note that during the seminar, it will be optional for attendees, presenters and staff to wear a face mask according to the most recent Japanese Government health and safety policies.


    We ask that if you have Flu-like symptoms, please refrain from attending. All attendees will be asked to sign in for the purposes of contact tracing. Thank you for keeping this event safe for everyone.



    Vice Admiral Yoji Koda was born in Tokushima, southern part of Japan in December 1949. He is a graduate of Japan Defense Academy (1972), JMSDF Staff College, and the U.S. Naval War College. As a surface warfare officer, he took commanded of JS Sawayuki (DD-125), Destroyer Flotilla-3 and Fleet Surface Force at sea. His shore duty includes Director General for Strategy, Plans and Operations, Maritime Staff.


    He retired from JMSDF as Commander in Chief, Self-Defense Fleet, in 2008. Then, he made in depth research on China’s Current Naval Strategy at Asia-Center, Harvard University from June 2009 to July 2011. He had served as an advisor to National Security Secretariat of GOJ from March 2012 to March 2014. Vice Admiral Koda has been working for Japan Marine United Corporation, one of Japan’s major shipbuilders, as a senior advisor since his retirement in 2008.


    He is a proficient writer on maritime and security affairs. His recent articles include: “The Russo-Japanese War: Primary Causes of Japanese Success,” U.S. Naval War College, “A New Carrier Race: Strategy, Force Planning and JS Hyuga,” U.S. Naval War College, “The U.S.-Japan Alliance: Responding to China’s A2/AD Threat,” Center for New American Security.


    In addition to his writing, he also attends many international security and maritime conferences both in Japan and in foreign countries. Except for CORVID-19 shutting-down period from early 2020 to mid-2022, he attended 10 to 15 security conferences abroad, including USA, China/Taiwan, Australia, SE Asia and Europe nations. From summer 2022, he started attending in person international meetings of this type.



    Format: This event will be off-the-record.

    Registration Required: Registration Form

    Moderator: Jeff Mazziotta

    Co-Sponsor: Sasakawa Peace Foundation

    Host: Plat ABC
    Seminar Cost: Free of charge


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