Attributed to Ukita Ikkei (1795-1859)
Hanging scroll painting of the American ship commanded by Commodore Matthew Perry in Uraga Bay, annotated: ‘1854 Spring first month 8 xx (February) Kan-no Hachiro saw this big American wheel vessel past Cape of Kan-non going to Uraga village’
Ink on paper,
L. 130 x W. 29 cm (scroll)
H. 28 x W. 19 cm (painting)
Based on the description by Kan-no Hachiro of the return of Perry’s ship to the bay of Edo in 1854, Ukita Ikkei presumably made this painting. The artist’s family name was Toyotomi and the first name Kõshin later changed to Yoshitame and finally Ikkei.
Kan-no (1810-1880) was a peasant from the village of Iwashiro. In 1854 he saw Perry’s ship passing on the way to Edo Bay. Kan-no was an ardent follower of the Sonno foi Movement, a movement advocating loyalty to the Emperor and the expulsion of foreigners.
Despite his low status, he became a significant and famous figure in the Sonno foi Movement, and for this, he was punished by the Edo Bakufu, the Shogun government. He was banished to Hachijyo, a small island far away in the Pacific Ocean.
Perry’s first violation of Japanese autonomy was on the third day of the sixth month of 1853 (July 8), on the eleventh day of the first month of 1854 (February) he was back in the Bay of Uraga, and on the 31st of March the Convention of Kanagawa, opening the ports of Hakodate and Shimoda to American vessels, was signed.
Encyclopedia of Japanese painters, ‘Nihon gaka jiten’ p. 17