March 31st 1854: Kanagawa Treaty signed
On this day in 1854, the Kanagawa Treaty was signed by the United States and Japan. Japan had been an isolated country since 1639, until the arrival of US Commodore Matthew Perry who demanded the country open its ports to American trade. The Treaty opened the ports of Shimoda and Hakodate to American trade. The subsequent unequal treaties favouring America caused discontent in Japan and eventually led to the collapse of the Tokugawa shogunate and the Meiji Restoration.