On the 7th of July, 1853, the inhabitants of Japan's capital beheld an amazing sight: four huge and strange ships were steaming up the Bay of Yedo. It was Commodore Perry's fleet arriving on its mission to open Japan. The appearance of these ships was to a considerable part responsible for Perry's success. They made even the most valiant samurai realize the inferiority of his medieval equipment to these huge and fast men-o'-war.

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