The Department issued this 5-cent stamp to commemorate the 100th anniversary of Commodore Matthew Calbraith Perry's negotiations with Japan, which opened doors to foreign trade after more than fifty years of isolation. The stamp was first placed on sale at the Washington, DC, post office, on July 14, 1953.
The stamp's overall design depicts a night scene of the first anchorage of Commodore Perry's vessels off Tokyo Bay with Mount Fuji in the distant background. Arranged vertically on the left of the stamp appears the wording "US Postage" and "5c" in modern French alphabet, with a Japanese stenciled effect. In the upper right corner appears a likeness of Commodore Perry, and directly beneath the portrait appears the descriptive title, "Commodore Matthew C. Perry US Navy," arranged in three lines in whiteface Gothic. Placed in a dark panel which forms the bottom of the stamp is the wording "1853" and "Centennial of Opening of Japan 1953," in whiteface Gothic.
The stamp was printed by the rotary process, electric-eye perforated, and issued in panes of fifty stamps each. An initial printing of 85 million stamps was authorized.
Postal Bulletin (June 30, 1953)