SHIMODA, Japan (NNS) – The forward-deployed Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Curtis Wilbur (DDG 54) arrived in Shimoda, Shizuoka, Japan, May 17, to participate in the 79th annual Shimoda Black Ship Festival.
The festival commemorates the 164th anniversary of the arrival of Commodore Matthew Perry and the signing of the Japan-American Treaty of Trade and Amity June 17, 1854, which opened trade opportunities with Japan. "It is my second visit to Shimoda and I’m very excited," said Cmdr. Simon McKeon, commanding officer of Curtis Wilbur. "The people of Shimoda were very nice and welcoming on the first visit, and we look forward to continuing the relations we’ve established in the past."
The Black Ship Festival is hosted by Shimoda, Japan, each year in May and brings tourists in from all around Japan. The festival promotes peaceful relations between the Japanese and American people.
The festival’s activities will include a parade and a memorial ceremony to honor the five sailors lost during the first arrival to Shimoda.
The term "black ship" was the name given to Western boats that started arriving in Japan in the 16th and 19th centuries. The four ships of the Perry Expedition arrived in Uraga Harbor July 14, 1853, to start trade relations with Japan. This is Curtis Wilbur’s fourth visit to Shimoda, Japan. Sailors will participate in community service activities such as visits to local elementary schools and sporting events to include beach volleyball and a tug-of-war contest.
Curtis Wilbur is on a regularly scheduled deployment in the U.S. 7th Fleet area of operation in support of security and stability in the Indo-Pacific region.