Independence Hall

On July 30, 1872, the delegation visited Independence Hall. The building was the site of the first national Congress, and where the Declaration of Independence had been signed nearly one hundred years earlier in 1776. While the Declaration was stored in the building at the time of their visit, the delegates were not allowed to […]

Philadelphia Libraries

In Philadelphia the delegation was most impressed by the size and variety of libraries spread throughout the city. Founded by Benjamin Franklin in 1731, the public library was a democratic and quintessentially American institution. Kunitake Kume noted that the Philadelphia library, coupled with the Loganian Library, housed 180,000 volumes! The group also learned about the […]

Smithsonian Institution

On April 17, 1872, Vice-Ambassador Naoyoshi Yamaguchi (1839 – 1894) and Kunitake Kume (1839 – 1831) accepted an invitation to visit the Smithsonian Institution. The Institution had been established 26 years earlier with funds from James Smithson (1765 – 1829), whose vision was to create a space “for the increase and diffusion of knowledge.” As […]

Bureau of Agriculture

On April 30, 1872, the delegation received a tour of the Bureau of Agriculture, beginning with the Entomology Department and the agricultural museum. The group was interested in investigating the ways that farmers in America protected their fields from harmful pests. Farmers in Japan used a method of flooding their rice fields to protect from […]

Women’s Role in Society

On May 4, 1872, the group detoured from Washington D.C to visit the United States Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland. Upon arrival, the delegation was surprised to see women entering government buildings. Kunitake Kume remarked on this, saying the strangest custom he witnessed in America was the relation between the sexes. He had seen husbands […]

Emancipation Day

On April 16, 1872, the Japanese delegates arrived in the nation’s capital. Their visit coincided with the 10th anniversary of Emancipation Day, celebrating the signing of the Compensated Emancipation Act by President Licoln in 1862 that freed slaves in the District of Columbia. The streets were filled with parade-goers, as African Americans waved banners, marching […]