On August 5, 1872, the delegation left the city of Boston to visit factories in nearby towns. From the time of the Meiji Restoration in 1868, Japan had sought to emulate the advancing technology of Western nations. Hoping to get a better understanding of American manufacturing, the delegates divided into two groups in order to […]

Federal Arsenal

On June 20, 1872, the delegation stopped in Springfield, Massachusetts to visit the Federal Arsenal. Only a few years earlier in Japan, wide-scale domestic conflict and political upheaval had made Western firearms a priority item for import. The delegation was interested in seeing the manufacturing process for small firearms in detail, in hopes of producing […]

A.T. Stewart Store

While in New York City the delegates paid a visit to one of the first department stores, the A.T. Stewart Store on Broadway Avenue. The building had large street level windows, allowing light to filter through as people browsed the latest fashions through the glass. It was the advent of modern window shopping. Kume remarked […]

Saratoga Grand Union Hotel

In the middle of June 1872, the Iwakura Mission group journeyed north to Saratoga, New York, where they stayed in the Grand Union Hotel. They were astonished by the scale and grandeur of the building, saying that, “for sheer size it is unmatched among the hotels which we have seen.” This statement would remain true, […]

Grand Central Terminal

On July 31, 1872, the delegates visited Grand Central Terminal. Kunitake Kume had previously found train depots plain and artless, but the newly constructed Grand Central terminal was beautiful, elegant and momentous. At it’s time of completion in 1871 it was the largest rail facility in the world. The designer Cornelius Vanderbilt (1794-1877), also the […]

The New York Tribune

On the last day in July, 1872, the delegates visited the office of the New York Tribune. Newspapers were massively popular with Americans, and Kunitake Kume remarked that in other countries he had never seen papers be so habitual. By Kume’s calculations, at least half of all American citizens read one or more newspaper editions […]