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Cutting through waves of a sea that had historically walled Japan in and the world out, Yoshida Shoin, a young Samurai teacher, rides in 1854 to a meeting with Commodore Matthew C. Perry, the commander of Yankee warships that have shattered the nation’s seclusion. ”Take me to America,” Yoshida asks, convinced that Japan needs to study Western technology to survive. Painting by Kinuko Y. Craft, from National Geographic magazine, June 1984.