2015 Black Ships Festival – July 17th – 19th


The Black Ships Festival offers a variety of events that emphasize both Japanese art and culture. Events include a formal Gala, Japanese Arts & Crafts such as Origami and Ikebana; Martial Arts, and a Japanese Tea Ceremony. A highlight will be the Taiko Drums!

The Black Ships Festival commemorates the historic achievements of Commodore Matthew C. Perry, USN, of Newport, Rhode Island. The “Black Ships,” or “Kurofune,” refers to the Japanese term for foreign ships which, with one exception, were excluded from Japan for two hundred years until 1854. Commodore Perry negotiated the Treaty of Kanagawa in 1854, the first treaty between the United States and Japan, thus ending two centuries of Japanese isolationism. The Black Ships Festival celebrates the signing of the treaty, which brought the two countries together as trading partners.

The Black Ships Festivals in Newport and in its Japanese Sister City Shimoda, commemorate this historic event with a celebration of friendship. This year is the 76th festival in Shimoda and also celebrates the 57th anniversary of the Sister City relationship between Newport and Shimoda, Japan. The Festival is presented by The Japan-America Society and Black Ships Festival of Rhode Island


Schedule of Events:

Friday July 17th 2015

Festival Opening Ceremonies

Colorful ceremonies to commemorate Newport’s native son, Commodore Matthew C. Perry, and the signing of the Treaty of Kanagawa, which opened trade between Japan and the United States. Wreath-laying at Commodore Perry’s statue and speeches by American and Japanese dignitaries. Navy Color Guard. Newport Artillery Co. will fire cannon salutes. Channing Memorial Church will play their Bells in honor of the Opening Ceremonies.

Sushi Sake Sail I
Sail aboard one of the magnificent Tall Ships, the 101′ Schooner Aurora. View Newport harbor as you sip sake from Gekkeikan, and sample some great sushi. Space is limited to 68 people. A sellout every year! Sponsored by IDC, The Newport Experience. $30 per person in advance and $35 day of the event (if available). For tickets call 401-846-2720, or online at www.blackshipsfestival.com.

Newport Community Band

The band will provide exuberant entertainment as they play a wide variety of music (weather permitting).

Saturday July 18th 2015

Arts & Crafts

10:00AM – 4:00PM • Touro Park

Touro Park on Bellevue Avenue is transformed into a Japanese-American Cultural Center, featuring demonstrations, workshops, and displays.

Ongoing Japanese Arts, Language and Crafts

by Japanese Language Students of Classical High School

Would you like to write your name in Japanese? How about getting a Henna Tattoo of Japanese Characters? Learn to make Origami cranes? In addition to our Sakura t-shirts and head bands, they will have many Japanese artifacts for sale. Please join Classical High School students to learn some Japanese Language and Culture. ( All proceeds are for their trip to Japan in 2016)

Touro Park Demonstrations & Workshops

Lost Sword Techniques of the Sengoku Jidai
(Warring States Era, 15th – 17th Century)
10:00 AM
Kenjutsu Enbu (Samurai Sword Demonstration). This demonstration will be a catalog of techniques preserved by Toshitsugu Takamatsu, who re-presented the documents of Kukishin Ryū Bikenjutsu in scrolls to the Kuki family following the loss of their antique documents, incinerated during the bombings of WWII. This demonstration will be presented by Adam Mitchell, Chief Instructor of the Jinenkan Kōsei Gōgi Dōjō in Mahopac, NY and his students.

An Introduction Workshop on the Samurai Sword
10:15AM to 11:00 AM
Join us for a one hour workshop covering the fundamental movement found in the study of Samurai Sword. This workshop will be offered to all those interested in the sword, it’s history and effectiveness regardless of age or experience level. Topics covered will include the first four forms of the Kukishin Ryū. This demonstration will be presented by Adam Mitchell, Chief Instructor of the Jinenkan Kōsei Gōgi Dōjō in Mahopac, NY and his students.

Shimoda Tent Activities
10:30 AM – 12:00pm

Kite Making
Children learn to build a kite with the help of students from Newport’s Sister City Shimoda, Japan . (limited to 50 children)

Mrs. Kusuyama, Mayor Kusuyama’s wife is a master in calligraphy, and she plans to demonstrate calligraphy during the kite-making workshop, with help from Ms. Ozawa, Shimoda city staff.

Mrs. Watanabe will teach Origami with students from Shimoda.

Celebrate The Summer Like They Do In Japan

Join staff and volunteers from the Consulate General of Japan in Boston for summer festival activities. Celebrate the summer holiday of Tanabata by writing a wish on a paper streamer and hanging it from the bamboo branches.  Kids can try their hand at the typical summer festival games of Kingyo Sukui (goldfish scooping) and Yo-yo Tsuri (fishing for balloons).

11:00 AM-2:00 PM

Haruo Shiga, a renown craftsman,  will teach children to make Japanese toys: Den-Den Daiko (Drum). Children ages 7-12.

NINJA Demonstration
11:00 AM • LAWN
R.I. Ninjutsu Center demonstrates this secretive form of martial arts that has lasted more than 900 years.

Feng Shui with Stephen Devine
11:15 AM
Learn about the centuries old study of the relationship between human beings and their living-working environment. Everything from the planning of entire cities to the shape of your house, or the position of your bed can have far-reaching implications on our health and prosperity.  Through the application of Feng Shui you can enhance your knowledge, career, family relationships, marriage and well-being!

Arresting Techniques of the Samurai
11:30 AM
This demonstration will show three methods of arrest and control of criminals during the Edo Period. Applications seen within the demonstration will include empty handed techniques of the Takagi Yoshin Ryū, police truncheon techniques and sword disarming and restraining techniques of the weighted chain. As well, a comprehensive discussion about the arrest and control methods of Taihojutsu will be presented to the audience. Presented by Adam Mitchell, from the Jinenkan Kōsei Gōgi Dōjō, Mahopac, NY and his students.

Sushi Making Demonstration
12:00 PM
Haruki Restaurant of Cranston demonstrates.



Calligraphy Demonstration
12:00 PM -1:00 PM 

A demonstration by Japanese Master Calligrapher, Michio Imai, of Kaji Aso Studio, Institute for the Arts. Michiko was awarded the highest rank in Japanese Calligraphy of Shihan. She is among the few to have won multiple best of category awards in national Competitions (Japan). Her work has been displayed at the Tokyo Metropolitan Art Museum, Osaka Municipal Museum of Art, Nara City Museum of Art and Kyoto Municipal Museum of Art.

Amerikick Martial Arts
12:00 PM • LAWN
Demonstration of traditional Japanese and Amerikick Martial Arts.  How Japanese karate influences martial arts in the USA.  Demo of katas, hand to hand fighting, weapons and discussion of Japanese farm tools adapted to martial arts.  Benefits of studying martial arts no matter what age.

Iaijutsu & Tameshigiri Enbu
12:45 PM
This group demonstration will present the 5 forms of the Jinen Ryū Iaijutsu, sword drawing and cutting forms. This is a demonstration not to be missed. Following the demonstration, students will demonstrate tameshigiri, or test cutting with live swords.  Presented by Adam Mitchell, from the Jinenkan Kōsei Gōgi Dōjō, Mahopac, NY.

 Demonstration On Making A Fish Rubbing Print
12:45 PM 

Wear Samurai Armor
1:00 PM- 2:00 PM
(Under Hikone tent/ Shimoda tent)
Wear Samurai Armor, photograph yourself in a suit of armor.

A white cat mascot of Hikone castle may make apperances at Touro Park under Hikone/ Shimoda tent.

Stimulating your Mind & Body with Okinawa Karate
1:15 PM
This workshop will help coordination and motor skills while exercising mind and body. By Okinawan Temple and Al Gagne

Tea Ceremony
1:30 PM • STAGE
A special demonstration of the centuries old CHA-DO (Way of the Tea) led by Kaji Aso Studio.

Stick fighting of the Samurai
2:00 PM
Witness the stick fighting techniques of the Samurai during this demonstration of Hanbōjutsu, the three foot stick. This demonstration will include the complete forms of the Kukishin Ryū school and will be presented by Adam Mitchell, from the Jinenkan Kōsei Gōgi Dōjō, Mahopac, NY.

Feng Shui with Stephen Devine
2:00 PM
This workshop will help coordination and motor skills while exercising mind and body.

Koto & Shamisen Player
2:30 PM
Enjoy the sounds of Koto and Shamisen player Ms. Sumie Kaneko.  Ms. Kaneko has graduated from Tokyo University and has been playing Koto since she was six years old and in 1994 won the 2nd International High School Art and Music Competition in Koto.  She continues an important tradition of Japanese music and breathes new life into it.  Her spirit highlights the universality of this timeless music.

SHORIN-RYU Demonstration by Okinawan Temple and Al Gagne
2:30 PM
From Okinawa, the Birthplace of Karate. Consists of exercise, self defense drills, techniques and several farming tools converted to weapons by the Okinawan people.


  • Calligraphy by Kaji Aso Studio
  • Haruki Japanese Restaurant
  • Hiroko  Shikashio Artworks; Watercolor, Collages and photographs
  • IACE Travel Boston
  • Shiatsu, Reiki, Sotai and reflexology
    Japanese healing and relaxation techniques from Inner Wisdom
  • SHORIN-RYU Karate from Okinawan, Japan
  • Japanese Arts, Language and Crafts by Japanese Language Students of Classical High School
  • Hikonyan – A white cat mascot of Hikone castle may make apperances at Touro Park under Hikone/ Shimoda tent.
  • Also Perurin – A Newport born seal rescued in Shimoda may make apperances at Touro Park also

Taiko Drum Prelude • Presented by Bailey T’s Resortwear & Long Wharf Mall
12:00 PM, 1:30 PM & 3 PM

Watch an exciting preview of what’s to come on Sunday at the Taiko Drum Performance. Join in watching a few of the Taiko drummers as they mesmerize you with their speed, power, and sound. Make sure not to miss this prelude.  To view the full performance, join us Sunday at 12pm at Cardine’s Field.

NINJA Demonstration
3:30 PM • Long Wharf Mall
R.I. Ninjutsu Center demonstrates this secretive form of martial arts that has lasted more than 900 years.

Black Ships Festival Gala

Celebrate the 32nd Annual Black Ships Festival and the Sister City relationship between Newport and Shimoda, Japan. Step onto the elegant grounds of Marble House on Bellevue Ave., an exquisite & historic location, over looking the Atlantic Ocean for a formal gala honoring the signing of the Treaty of Kanagawa and the accomplishments of the United States Navy. Join us as we welcome the Japanese guests and dignitaries.  Enjoy a unique evening that fuses both Japanese and American culture. The Gala includes a fabulous band with dancing, an Open Bar, wines by Oyster Bay Wines, Martini Bar  and an outstanding sit down dinner by Russell Morin Catering with Sushi by Haruki. Begin the evening with the breaking of the Ceremonial Sake Drum filled with Gekkeikan Sake. Presented by Toray Plastics (America), Inc. $150 per person, Black Tie suggested /Kimonos welcomed. For tickets, call (401) 846-2720 or online at www.blackshipsfestival.com.


Sunday July 19th 2015

Memorial Ceremonies

Wreath ceremony at Perry’s tomb by American and Japanese dignitaries. Navy color guard, North East Band Bugler and Navy Chaplain. The public is invited to experience this commemorative service.

Taiko Drum Concert
Taiko Drum Festival, Odaiko New England, one of the premier taiko groups, will dazzle you with their electrifying drums. The taiko is said to be the voice and spirit of the Japanese. The sound of the taiko has an irresistible draw that summons people to seek out its source! They’ll mesmerize listeners with their speed, power, dramatic choreography and sound. Then Shin Daiko will perform, during their debut in Newport. The conclusion will be an exciting performance as the two groups join forces for an amazing ending! Tickets $8 Adult/$4 Child or online at www.blackshipsfestival.com.

Sushi Sake Sail II
Enjoy the experience of the magnificent Tall Ship, the 101′ schooner Aurora, in Newport Harbor as you sip sake from Gekkeikan and sample sushi from Haruki of Cranston and Providence. $30 per person in advance and $35 day of the event if available. For tickets, call (401) 846-2720. or online at www.blackshipsfestival.com.