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 highlights the phenomenon of fake news and facts today. People still have the freedom to believe reports or alternative facts.

Year: 2019

Theme: Artist in Residence Programme 2019, BankART

Exhibition: Open Studio, BankART Station, Yokohama, JP

Collaborator: Hiroki Yokoyama

Publication: Selected for the Social Art Award Book 2019,

                      We are the People – Peaceful Revolutions. 


Publication: Institute for Art and Innovation, Berlin, DE

Prize: Honorable Mention and Shortlist

           Professional / Installation Art > Conceptual Art 

Prize: London International Creative Competition 2019


Black Ship

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



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.

(click to magnify)

Yokohama Archives of History
Yokohama Archives of History

records of gifts
records of gifts


Yokohama Archives of History
Yokohama Archives of History



Tests and Making.

(click to magnify)

ship_foam board
ship_foam board

ship_arrange pins and sheets
ship_arrange pins and sheets

open studio
open studio

ship_foam board
ship_foam board