PFJ Colloquium, 2016-17

PFJ Colloquium, 2016-17

Philadelphia in Meiji Japan

Monday, October 3, 4:30 – 6 p.m.
Penn Forum on Japan (PFJ) Colloquium
“Commodore Biddle, Past and Present: Celebrating 170 Years of Trans-Pacific Ties”

Terrance room, Cohen Hall, Reception to Follow

      • Robert Hellyer, Associate Professor of History, Wake Forest University
        • “Japanese, US, and Pacific Contexts of Biddle in Japan”
      • Connie Houchins, Executive Director, Andalusia Foundation
        • “Commodore James Biddle: Naval Hero, Diplomat, Family Man: A Life Well Lived”
      • Anthony J. Drexel Biddle III
        • “Biddle Redux: In Search of my Great, Great, Great Uncle, the Commodore, 1846/2013”

The arrival of Philadelphia native Commodore James Biddle in Edo Bay in July 1846 was a watershed in world history, presaging the rise of modern Japan and emergence of the United States as a Pacific power. On this, the 170th anniversary of Biddle in Japan, the Penn Forum on Japan (PFJ) is sponsoring a year-long colloquium on “Philadelphia in Meiji Japan.” In this inaugural event of the colloquium, we will host Japan historian Robert Hellyer (Wake Forest University), Connie Houchins, executive director of the Andalusia Foundation (established in Bucks County, PA by the Biddle family in 1980), and descendant of Commodore Biddle, Mr. Anthony J. Drexel Biddle III, in a roundtable discussion on the pivotal importance of Biddle for the U.S., Philadelphia, Japan and trans-Pacific ties, past and present.

Biddle in Japan


Tuesday, Apr. 11, 5 p.m.
Penn Forum on Japan (PFJ) Colloquium
“Professor Risley, The Imperial Japanese Troupe, and Philadelphia ”
Frederik L. Schodt, Translator, interpreter, award-winning writer
Terrace Room, Cohen Hall, Reception to follow

“Professor Risley” was the stage name of Richard Risley Carlisle, an extraordinary 19th century acrobat and impresario who considered himself a Philadelphian. In 1863 the globe-trotting Risley introduced Western-style circus into Japan. He also introduced Japanese to ice cream. In 1867, Risley brought one of the first groups of Japanese performers to America and Europe, touring major cities including Philadelphia. It was the first time most Americans had ever seen ordinary Japanese people, as opposed to high-ranking officials and dignitaries. In an entertaining and heavily illustrated talk, Frederik L. Schodt will discuss the remarkable yet little-known life of one of America’s most colorful personalities.

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