The Black Ships Festival offers a variety of events that emphasize both Japanese art and culture. Events include a formal Gala, Japanese Arts & Crafts such as Origami and Ikebana; Martial Arts, and a Japanese Tea Ceremony. A highlight will be the Taiko Drums!
The Black Ships Festival commemorates the historic achievements of Commodore Matthew C. Perry, USN, of Newport, Rhode Island. The “Black Ships,” or “Kurofune,” refers to the Japanese term for foreign ships which, with one exception, were excluded from Japan for two hundred years until 1854. Commodore Perry negotiated the Treaty of Kanagawa in 1854, the first treaty between the United States and Japan, thus ending two centuries of Japanese isolationism. The Black Ships Festival celebrates the signing of the treaty, which brought the two countries together as trading partners.
The Black Ships Festivals in Newport and in its Japanese Sister City Shimoda, commemorate this historic event with a celebration of friendship. This year is the 78th festival in Shimoda and also celebrates the 59th anniversary of the Sister City relationship between Newport and Shimoda, Japan. The Festival is presented by The Japan-America Society and Black Ships Festival of Rhode Island, Inc., a non-profit, non-partisan organization. For further information, contact The Japan-America Society of Rhode Island, 28 Pelham Street, Newport, RI 02840 or call (401)846-2720.