T H E B L A C K   S H I P
A N D   G I F T S



A series of creations based on the history of the Black Ships in Yokohama.

In 1853, the arrival of Commodore Perry and the Black Ships urged Japan to sign the Kanagawa Treaty between Japan and the US, which led to open up the country and facilitate its modernisation. Due to the lack of cultural and technological knowledge at the time, Japanese people applied imagination on the gifts brought by Perry. They inspired by the content with low accuracy from Kawaraban, newspapers or broadsides with one or two pages of illustrations and writings. Four examples of their imaginations present here, including the black ship, the rare horn, the steam train and the telegraph.

The project also wants to discuss the phenomenon of increasing fake news and facts today. This time, the public still have the freedom to believe reports or alternative facts from multiple social media or viewpoints.

Year: 2019
Theme: Artist in Residence Program 2019, BankART Station

Exhibition: Open Studio, BankART Station, Yokohama

Collaborator: Hiroki Yokoyama


The rare horn was cut from a mythical creature Qilin.

Steam Train

The steam train moves forward by animals run inside. Sufficient dog food is provided as fuel in the trailing carriage. 


Perry's American interpreter heard a clam crying on the beach around Yamashita and realised the clam was missing her son, and then he put the clam into the sea.

Research & Ideation

History of Black Ships .


Tests and Making.

Black Ship

The black ships were considered as a tremendous dark land floating on the sea.

 Copyright © Kuan-hua Chou. All rights reserved.