At least there is a wiki about Captain (Commodore?) Biddle, here. He has been somewhat erased from pop culture history, but Biddle was in fact the first American naval official to try to “open” Tokugawa Japan.
I mentioned James Biddle last month, in that Commodore Perry of the “Black Ships” was actually the third American official to visit Japan in the 19th century. Before Perry was Glynn and, before, Biddle.
History reads a little differently if Commodore Perry’s warships showed up to deliver a message from the President, out of nowhere. It’s another when the reality is that Perry arrived in warships because the first time America sent a message, the messenger got beat up.
If anything, it changes the Perry story in one way: it should have been no surprise to see American naval ships in Edo Harbor. This, in fact, had happened only seven years before, within the lifetime, within the generation, of almost everyone in Japan (except a child seven-years-old or younger!)
Why would anyone be surprised that American ships would have shown up again?
Especially, after what happened to the first Navy officer who showed up with an ambassadorial message . . .
I think about this in light of what shaminto and Mizuho Fukushima are doing with the Okinawa situation. We are helping to defend Japan, but the new government is making us look like pushy bullies instead.
I don’t know if you expats here get tired of the Japanese rewrites of history or of why things are they way they are. Sometimes I do.