thumbnail of Radio Smithsonian; 34; Talk With the Animals and Commodore Perry: East to the Rising Sun
Hide -
If this transcript has significant errors that should be corrected, let us know, so we can add it to FIX IT+
Right. Just imagine for a moment back in the middle of the 90s. In fact. Recently. A remarkable count of the opening of Japan and a visit with the man himself. Today the editor of the historic results. But first takes us on a short around the National Zoo here in Washington. The.
Original building built in 1891 and principally built principally for tropical animals and need and had all sorts of animals and alligators used to be in this pool over here where the cars are now. They. Had not just not just tigers and lions and and humans and things like that they had all sorts of things and probably had aardvarks if they had an eye for any animal that came from a tropical climate. This building will be probably one of the first buildings torn down when we get into the real reconstruction of this into the press really hasn't been anything done with it. As you know we've done reconstruction on the top part of the deer and antelope birdhouse area but when they get the funds are released and they can go ahead and start construction on here they'll build grottos outside along into the edge of land house Hill which will
be a pretty spectacular entry to the zoo from from the Harvard Street Bridge because you'll be coming straight into the an open area and from what you'll see these tigers and lions. In what will seem like complete freedom will be no bars and would just be moat dividing and they'll have also indoor quarters and the hope is to design the building so that when they are inside you will be able to pass through another underground area that you'll be able to view them from and also be able to view them from the top looking down on them which should be very interesting and then in place of this building connected with those Grados will be along the line House which will include not only the big cats like the leopards which couldn't be kept in a brothel because of their ability to climb and jump but also some of the smaller cats that for instance are in the small mammal house now and can't can never be outside and all of these enclosures will have outside quarters attached to them so that in the summertime they could be outside. So it should be quite an improvement.
Every every white tiger that's in existence today is a descendant of one male that kept your 1950. There may be I'm not sure the exact year maybe 40 30 to 40 year unlike 1960 I think you're right. Yes and she and she was a gift of Metromedia television to President Eisenhower for the children of the United States and she senses sired. She saw a rama and over here a sari and then finally the two white cups. US might not have seen it but above the pigmy have located is there some branches and the idea had been to turn loose the monkeys and they've tried different kinds of monkeys and finally try this one and let them kind of live free range in those branches much as they would in the wild above that of the hippo enclosures
hoping that in the summertime when the doors are open they wouldn't go out. And it worked pretty well. None of them were hardly in the lab. I don't think there's only one that left that one that left and that left is over here on the side of this macaque cage of the head it's called the Henderson cage. He's outside now but he has it when they first when he first escaped and they found him over here they recaptured him put him back and then the next day he left again and came back over and usually he's inside the cage as a way of getting in the cage and I know where it is and everybody's pretty confident I'll be alright because as long as he can get inside and get up under those heated lands he's fine. That anybody that comes into the collection we're always trying to quarantine it either here or at the hospital as we do with any animal or in the case of reptiles we have a special room there for quarantine and the idea that is to get them on to medicine preventive medicine to analyze their stool to to make sure that they're not carrying any kind of infection and leave as before we introduce them into the regular exhibit areas because
we would then be exhibiting and we're introducing not only animal but it's parasites and disease problems. So we're trying to make sure that the animals are perfectly clean and healthy before we put them in with the others. Now this guy my time this is a hyacinth macaw from South America he's been brought inside because it's cold out and we He's very very expensive they sell for about $500. Come on baby. Birds make a lot of noise this is communications if they happen to be from very tropical or forest areas that would be true of the McCombs which asked that also why they're brightly colored. So that they can be seen by their opposite sex by their offspring. Most of your female peasants are also very dull colored and there's a reason for that that the female is the one that provides the next generation
of that species while its nesting while it's sitting on the eggs. And while it's rearing the young and it's to the advantage of the female to be dull colored in order to camouflage itself during that process when its most vulnerable. And it's therefore an extension of that is the fact that the eggs are always modeled either like colored or with speckles on them. All of that is part of the camouflage. Business and all the young both male and female are always Bill colored little stripes on them or little spots on them all as part of this concealment factor whereas the male has no advantage to the male to be dull colored and there's a definite advantage to being bright colored because the bright colors is what it use uses in birds. Mostly the males are the ones that display to the female. They go through this courtship behavior in which they spread their or spread their feathers and shake them and the fact that they're brightly colored will help the female of its species recognize the male and hit and say if they're in this thick jungle
IAR or brush like foliage he'll stand out. And the disadvantage that would occur from it being bright and being seen by by predators is overcome because it lives in this thick foliage area that it can hide itself when it wants to. They can get behind the foliage. And so it can be seen when I want to be seen and not seen when it doesn't want to be seen. Whereas with a female of course you do it so the pressure is so great for her to be dull colored that she's dull colored all the time and at least just one of the species is brightly colored greeting that they give is probably something that they learned as babies as a way in which their species behaved and they just then extended to. Their mate when. They mature and become sexually mature. Well this animal here and its species is a boat Bill Heron. When it was young it learned its display but then it was. Taken into captivity. And now that is an adult animal it uses
its display to humans because it was taken away from its own species at a crucial time in which it hadn't established the relationship completely. And then since the next object nearest to it that fed it they cared for it was a human being then transferred these greetings and display patterns to the human being. And now as a mature animal it does these displays with a sexual connotation in the same way to a human being. So. When I put my hand out which makes this little noise that might seem a shame for instance to the shame by some standards is that the other book Bill herons in here will not relate to her nor she to them. She in fact does not recognize them as her own kind. And she recognizes human beings as their own. It may seem cruel and terrible except that she gets. Sort of boyfriends a year that comes through. She is happy to see
she greets. It's the best way. Except that the other two are each other. So we have. A process they call imprinting with which he was able to. Screw up thinking the. Doctor was their mother. It is a special assistant to the director of the National Zoo a logical path.
Now Frederick infinite talks with Roger about the opening of Japan in trading with a great civilization and great nations such as Japan. It was at that time why wouldn't a young country like the United States choose a diplomatist. Why did we send a military man. We had tried other means and other avenues before this. There had been several excursions to Japan before the Perrys expedition and they the American efforts like the efforts of England and France and Russia had been unsuccessful and it was felt that there was need for a proper person of proper prominence and prestige. A person who could come there with a display of proper force.
In fact why did we feel we had a right to do these to do this sort of thing. Well there was a need for it because Americans sailors had American sailors exploiting the whaling industry of the North Pacific had been storm tossed on Japanese islands and there they would be taken prisoner of the Japanese. And while they were imprisoned. When they returned to the United States they reported mistreatment. This is something that Americans have never stood for or accepted and quite properly so. Imagine a case let us say that a whale or storm tossed the Northern on the shores of northern homes through near hole CA you know. If any of her crew survived under normal circumstances they would have been taken captive by the local constabulary. They would have been packed
into Poland. Which by Japanese standards were OK because they were built for Japanese who were much smaller in stature in those days than American sailors and American sailors were put into these cramped quarters of a palanquin or coddle as the Japanese call them and they would be transported from the point of capture to eventually Nagasaki where they'd be turned over to the Dutch to return them and if they survived this journey in cramped quarters and on a Japanese diet which must have seemed very stringent even to American sailors Japanese diet which would be largely of fish and vegetables since the Japanese consume no beef or pork at this time. And then the sailor if he did survive all this would be exchanged through the Dutch might eventually come home and there he would report to his loved ones on his
horrible mistreatment. This was transpired to Congress and Congress would then object to a very vocal form of the mistreatment of American sailors. And it was on this basis that the orders came to Perry to go and open these negotiations with the Japanese. In fact there were three basic points to Perry's expedition to Japan and these were spelled out in the letter he carried from President Millard Filmore to the Emperor of Japan in which he stated it was stated that the Commodore was to arrange for the friendly treatment of shipwrecked seamen. He was to seek a station for coal and supplies and if possible to open Japanese ports to our trade. And he achieved agreement on all of these ultimately he achieved all three. Was the squadron that he commanded strong enough so that he was really
threatening the Japanese very severely wasn't he. Well he didn't mean to menace them with his presence there but he meant to leave them with the impression and he certainly did that if they were not amenable to what he honestly felt were perfectly reasonable presentations. Then he was willing to back these presentations with force. Now when he arrived there in July of 1853 he had only four ships. He had two steamers and two sloops and the sloop's each of the steamers flew to Tokyo Bay what was then called Eddo Bay. And this was a sight the Japanese had never seen. The Japanese no Japanese had ever seen a ship probed paled by other than the wind or man power and hear and obey came
two steamers each of them towing a sloop of war against the wind and it was a it was a smoke belching ship and it must have been very striking to the Japanese who observed it. The Japanese had no navy themselves at that time. Well the Japanese. I had no navy because they had intentionally insulated themselves against the world for the past two hundred fifty years under the Shogun eight which came into existence in early in the seventeenth century. They had maintained and in the similarity you know against the rest of the world except for a small very small engagement with the Dutch at Nagasaki they permitted one or
two Dutch ships to come into Nagasaki each year under very stringently controlled circumstances in which the Japanese called all the shots and this was the only commerce they had with the outside world. And there was a very great change. Following his visits to Japan. Absolutely because there was an organized exchange between the two countries and this was soon taken up by the other major powers of the world. England and France and Russia also got the same treatment of their people and arrange the same treaties and enjoyed the same privileges that the United States from Japan and we've always looked upon this in this country and I think elsewhere in the western world as a great success and a great development in the history of our relationships. How is it taught in Japanese schools you've spent a considerable amount of time there.
You are familiar with the language and the culture I think would be fascinating to know. What do they feel about Commodore Perry and his black squadron. As I believe it was go well the black ships of Commodore Perry are looked done variously in Japan and it depends on the time unlike like with all things but the Japanese have looked favorably and unfavorably depending on the political climate. There aspect of Perry has varied. Today Perry is honored he's honored with ceremonies and celebrations both in Shimoda where the black ship festival is a great annual spring celebration and a hawk 0.8 where there is also a celebration for Perry teaching schools has varied considerably. But I think that the overall impression was best conveyed to
me when I was there with Admiral Morris and 1966 helping him with his research on his biography of Commodore Perry. And he asked a brilliant young Japanese matron what her feeling of Perrier was and how she thought the Japanese people felt about Perry. And she said I can't speak for all of the Japanese people but for myself I'm in favor of Perrier. But for him and now I must insert her and this young lady who had a. Doctoral degree from a German university. Her husband was a Ph.D. and a medical doctor. And she is of a distinguished family in Japan she said. But for Perry my activities would have been confined to flower arranging today but you know I think this is largely true. If it hadn't been Perry it would
have been within a few years someone else. But the token always show than it was. The structure was was weakening and it was on the point of crumbling. They had two hundred fifty years of insulation not only from the rest of the world but insulation from internal strife. And for a nation to be under one family domination for that length of time results it resulted in the case of Japan in a physical weakness of the country. As far as military strength was concerned and so they did not have. Forces that would have even given decent competition to a respectable invasion force did they have a strong land army at all at the time. No even the Land Army was weak. The Japanese reports contemporary reports of the time of Perry's
arrival. Sad that the price of armor increased geometrically that the price of a suit of armor that formerly or a piece of armor that formally cost to Rio and now cost so it had multiplied four times suddenly with the appearance Perry's squadron and they did not have an organized force to repel foreign invasion. Perry's arrival there is and he has the job he did in Japan. It is as far as I am concerned in the history of the world. I do not know of another instance where a modern civilized nation makes a rep a successful representation to a feudal country such as Japan. Then laws that had had no
real a formal and complete intercourse with the outside world for a period of two and a half centuries. Now it isn't as though they were they were barbaric in the sense of Aboriginal now. They were not Aboriginal is a better word thank you for it. It is not that they were Aboriginal in the sense of the Australian Aborigines for example here was a highly cultivated and cultured society who had willfully and willingly and design and Lee set themselves off from the rest of the world and erected these barriers which they controlled exclusively and Perry came as a representative of a modern nation and succeeded in effecting negotiations with them. I do not know of any such success in previous history. There has been none since and I don't foresee that there will be any possibility of such an encounter
again. Would you say that it was a great day or a black day for mankind and for the United States when Commodore Perry sailed into Tokyo Bay in July 1853. Oh it can't be anything but what a great day it was a great day because it speaks to the American interest the American interest. And by that I mean in the interest of the United States really a Smithsonian concept if I may be provincial about it. The increase and diffusion of knowledge. The United States like the Smithsonian has always been after this kind of a pitch where not for self aggrandizement. If we had wanted to be such we could have incorporated many land holdings under our Aegis over the years. But it has not been our
practice. It has been a practice for the further months and like the development the betterment of mankind. It's what I like about the United States. What I like about my country it's what I like about my employer. They are not self seeking. It is it is it's saying we're willing to spend money and time and effort. In order to increase the benefits of people and generally it's own it may as I sing it now and you take me in a sense by surprise by the question. It may so terribly poorly on the issue but it is the way I feel. The Perry expedition to JIP him was taken with any or intention of aggrandizement of the United States. It was taken for protection of United States individuals for protection of individuals throughout the
world. Proper Treatment of seamen in distress. A proper interest in a proper obligation. Roger is the managing editor of the Smithsonian Institution press. And editor of the post of Commodore Matthew C. Perry. Presented weekly at this time produced by Dan McKee of the Office of Public Affairs Frederick M. put it. Yeah yeah yeah.
Yeah. Yeah. Yeah yeah. Yeah.
Yeah. This is the national educational radio network.
Please note: This content is only available at GBH and the Library of Congress, either due to copyright restrictions or because this content has not yet been reviewed for copyright or privacy issues. For information about on location research, click here.
Radio Smithsonian
Episode Number
Talk With the Animals and Commodore Perry: East to the Rising Sun
Contributing Organization
University of Maryland (College Park, Maryland)
If you have more information about this item than what is given here, or if you have concerns about this record, we want to know! Contact us, indicating the AAPB ID (cpb-aacip/500-tm720w6w).
No description available
Media type
AAPB Contributor Holdings
University of Maryland
Identifier: 70-17-34 (National Association of Educational Broadcasters)
Format: 1/4 inch audio tape
Duration: 00:30:00?
If you have a copy of this asset and would like us to add it to our catalog, please contact us.
Chicago: “Radio Smithsonian; 34; Talk With the Animals and Commodore Perry: East to the Rising Sun,” 1971-00-00, University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed September 23, 2023,
MLA: “Radio Smithsonian; 34; Talk With the Animals and Commodore Perry: East to the Rising Sun.” 1971-00-00. University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. September 23, 2023. <>.
APA: Radio Smithsonian; 34; Talk With the Animals and Commodore Perry: East to the Rising Sun. Boston, MA: University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from