History of Shimoda

== Brief History ==
17th CenturyShimoda flourished as an important port of call on a trade route connecting Osaka and Edo
1853Commodore Mathew C.Perry arrived Japan.
1854As the result of the conclusion of the U.S.-Japan Treaty of Peace and Amity, Shimoda became the first port opened to the America.
1854Devastating tidal wave hit downtown Shimoda.More than 90% of houses were destroyed and 100 people were dead.
1855Russo - Japan Treaty of Peace and Amity was signed at Chorakuji Temple.
1857The first American consul, Townsend Harris opened a consulate at the Gyokusenji Temple.
1858Townsend Harris concluded the U.S.-Japan Treaty of Amity and Trade.
1859Townsend Harris left Shimoda, the first American consulate was closed.
1979President Jimmy Carter visited Shimoda city.

== Detail History ==

1 Shimoda in the Primitive Age and Ancient

The Izu peninsula is surrounded on three sides by seas. The Izu area is composed of mountains and islands which lie scattered toward the south. The habitants of the Izu traveled to Kozushima Island to collect stones (obsidian) which date back to the Paleolithic Age more than twenty thousand years ago. These stones were used to make tools. During the days of the Yamato Dynasty which unified Japan, the Izu held an important base for Eastern marine transportation which started from Ise. The people of the Izu worshipped the Mishima God and built an affluent culture through the ancient form of iron making.

2 Shimoda in the Middle Ages

The period of about 400 years from the feud of Yoritomo Minamoto till the fall of the Gohojo clan is called the Middle Ages. The battle of Genji and Heike unveiled the Middle Ages. Sukechika Ito on the side of Heike fought against the troops sent by Yoritomo at Koina Harbor in Minamiizu Town. The end of the battle was the assault upon Odawara Castle by Hideyoshi. Yasuhide Shimizu, in the Gohojo clan's troops, who defended Shimoda, made a fierce battle against the navy of Hideyoshi Toyotomi. This was a symbolic incident in the Middle Ages here in the marine-city, Shimoda.

3 Shimoda in Edo Period

Upon the fall of the Gohojo clan, Edo became the base of power for Ieyasu Tokugawa. Ieyasu Tokugawa transferred Tadatsugu Toda to Shimoda. An archetype of Shimoda Town was established at that time. The Tokugawa shogunate offered the Toda clan a new feudal estate in Aichi Prefecture. After they moved to Aichi, a magistrate's office was established in Shimoda, and Shigenaga Imamura gained the position of first magistrate in the second year of Genna (1616). Shimoda Port prospered for about100 years due to the duties fulfilled as a marine checkpoint by the Shimoda magistrate's office. After the magistrate's office moved to Uraga (Kanagawa prefecture) in the sixth year of Kyoho (1721), the Uraga magistrate controlled a marine office for shipwrecks and the local magistrate at Nirayama supervised an office for advanced rice cultivation. Branches of these two offices were set up in Shimoda. Shimoda sought out ways for the town to prosper through such means as fishing and supplying its special products to Edo, which was a large consumptive city. Also when unfavorable winds prevented ships from sailing from time to time, sailers came on shore to obtain supplies.

4 The Modernization of Shimoda

After the Meiji Restoration, Shimoda was also modernized. Overland traffic was much improved by such means as the opening of The Amagi Tunnel and the beginning of bus services. The introduction of modern industries such as docks and development mines and the starting of bank services were also part of the new development. The development of a sea-route from Tokyo via Izu Oshima island to Shimoda, the publication of the "Tojin Okichi" story and the beginning of the Black Ship Festival made Shimoda a popular sightseeing area. Improvements of roads on the east coast of the Izu peninsula and the opening of The Izukyu Line confirmed Shimoda's image as a tourist attraction. In 1955 (Showa 30) nearby towns and villages in the area unified resulting in the establishment of Shimoda town. In 1971 (Showa 46), Shimoda reorganized as a City.

5 The Opening of Shimoda Port

Japan, which opened to the Western World, changed much in those days. The Kanagawa Treaty( U.S.-Japan Treaty of Peace and Amity) opened Shimoda and Hakodate ports. After that American ships came to Shimoda to get firewood, water, food and coal. In the same year, the Russo-Japan Peace Treaty was also concluded. In 1856 (Ansei 3), Townsend Harris resided at Gokusenji Temple as the American consul general. As Shimoda played a leading role in diplomacy, many important people came to Shimoda. Shimoda Port improved in many ways due to its role in the peace treaty. People in Shimoda also rehabilitated the town from the deadly destruction of a huge tidal wave.




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