Social Customs

On August 6, 1872, the delegation sailed out of Boston harbor amid cheers and applause from gathered crowds on the shore. The farewell was not the first time the group had been warmly received by the public, and as the boat moved further out to sea Kunitake Kume reflected on the kindness he had experienced throughout their journey. While Kume sometimes didn’t understand the social mannerisms of Americans, such as the rowdy cheering and foot stomping following performances at the Boston International Music Festival, he did believe in the goodwill and amiability of the people. Kume concluded that Japan needed to end its isolation and join what he saw as a harmonious world community.


Kume, Kunitake. “A Record of Washington, D.C.: Epilogue.” In Japan Rising: The Iwakura Embassy to the USA and Europe, edited by Chushichi Tsuzuki and R. Jules Young, 88-92. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2009.