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Japan-American Society and Black Ships Festival of Rhode Island, Inc.®





Breaking of the Saki Drum at the Black Ships Festival Gala

The Japan-America Society of Rhode Island (JASRI) plays an important role in honoring Japanese culture and history in Rhode Island.  Our main goal is to celebrate and build strong relationships between our two countries.  

Our annual event, the Black Ships Festival, celebrates the achievement of Commodore Matthew C. Perry (1794 - 1858) from Newport.  Commodore Perry arrived in Japan in 1853, negotiated the Treaty of Peace and Amity (also known as the Treaty of Kanagawa) with Japan in 1854.

Japan-American Society of Rhode Island (JASRI)ロードアイランド日米協会は、黒船祭りを中心とした様々なイベントを通じて、ロードアイランドから日本文化と日本の歴史に関する情報を発信し続けてきました。JASRIの最も大切なゴールは、日米両国の友情を祝い、さらに深い絆を促進することです。


JASRI’s annual Black Ships Festival is based on our belief that deepening understanding across Japanese and American cultures is crucial for the long lasting peace in the future.  

The annual Black Ships Festival provides opportunities to manifest conversations with the local community through Japanese cultural activities.  We promote not only traditional culture but also contemporary creativity among all people.  After all, community is the core of our culture here in Rhode Island.


Please consider sponsoring JASRI!

The Annual Black Ships Celebration

Dive into Japanese Culture at the 41st Black Ships Festival!

Mark your calendars for August 16th – 18th, 2024! The 41st Black Ships Festival is setting sail for Bristol and Newport, Rhode Island, bringing a whirlwind of immersive cultural attractions and art experiences for the whole family.

Ready for an unforgettable journey? This year's festival promises to:
•    Transport you to Japan: Discover the vibrant tapestry of Japanese culture through traditional arts, crafts, music, and dance. Be captivated by stunning performances, explore intricate crafts, and savor delicious treats.
•    Spark your curiosity: Dive deeper into history with interactive exhibits and engaging workshops. Learn about the fascinating connection between Rhode Island and Japan, from Commodore Perry's historic visit to the enduring legacy of the Black Ships Festival.
•    Connect with your community: Celebrate the Ocean State's rich cultural diversity. The festival fosters a welcoming space where people of all ages and backgrounds can come together to learn, create, and have fun.
•    Create lasting memories: Make your summer unforgettable with unique experiences like trying on kimonos, participating in tea ceremonies, or learning calligraphy. Capture precious moments with your family and friends amidst the vibrant festival atmosphere.

More than just a festival, it's a bridge between cultures!

Thank you for your years of supporting the Black Ships Festival.  


We wish good health to you and your family. See you in August!

Upcoming Events

2024 Black Ships Festival Schedule
August 16 - 18, 2024
in Bristol and Newport, RI

Here are highlights of our planned festival events:

From August 16th to 18th, 2024, Bristol and Newport will transform into a vibrant tapestry of Japanese culture, offering unforgettable experiences for the whole family. Prepare to be swept away.

Opening Ceremonies: Witness the colorful Opening Ceremonies honoring Commodore Perry's legacy and the historic Treaty of Kanagawa, featuring speeches, wreath-laying, and a patriotic performance by the Bristol Police Color Guard. 

Step aboard the majestic Tall Ship Aurora: Sail the magnificent Newport Harbor, savoring delicious sushi and sake while the wind whispers tales of Commodore Perry's historic voyage. Sushi Sake Sails: (Space is limited, so act fast!) Set sail on the Aurora, indulging in Sushi Sake Sails while soaking in breathtaking harbor views.
Tickets for both Sushi Sake Sails are on sale now.
Click here.

Thrilling Taiko Drum Performances: Feel the electrifying energy of traditional Japanese Taiko drumming, a mesmerizing spectacle that blends percussion, movement, and raw power that will leave you breathless. 

Explore a World Of Wonders: Wander through the bustling Cultural Marketplace Fair, where over 100 artisans showcase their unique crafts, delectable treats, and captivating performances.
Enjoy martial arts demonstration
s, intricate ikebana flower arrangements, lively Bon Odori dancing, and much more!

Unleash your creativity at the Kids' Crafts Corner and witness the spectacular Cosplay Costume Contest.

Celebrate Under The Stars: The Black Ships Festival Gala at Ochre Court in Newport, RI with its Gilded Age grandeur. Enjoy a formal gala honoring the signing of the Treaty of Kanagawa and the accomplishments of the United States Navy. Enjoy a unique evening that fuses both Japanese and American culture. The Gala includes dancing, an Open Bar, wines by Shaw-Ross International Importers, and outstanding cultural cuisine with a Japanese flare. Begin the evening with the breaking of the Ceremonial Sake Drum filled with Gekkeikan Sake. Enjoy an exclusive taiko drumming presentation. Outstanding sit-down dinner. Gala is Presented by Toray Plastics (America).
Tickets to the Black Ships Festival Gala are on sale now.
Click here.

Remember The Past, Honor The Future: Pay tribute to Commodore Perry's legacy at the poignant Memorial Wreath-Laying Ceremony in Newport’s Island Cemetery, a solemn yet heartwarming event that reflects on the rich history shared by two nations. Celebrate the enduring friendship between the United States and Japan.

Enjoy a Second Sushi Sake Sail: On Sunday to close out the festival, set sail on the majestic Schooner Aurora, savoring delicious sushi and sake, and soak in the stunning Newport harbor scenic views.
Tickets for both Sushi Sake Sails are on sale now.
Click here.

And that's just a taste of the adventure that awaits! The Black Ships Festival is an experience for all ages and interests with engaging workshops, insightful exhibits, and countless opportunities to connect with Japanese culture in vibrant and interactive ways.

Whether you're a history buff, a culture enthusiast, or simply seeking a fun-filled family adventure, this festival has something for you.

See you at the Fair! Don't miss your chance to experience the magic of the 41st Black Ships Festival!

Set your course for adventure! 

Set in one of America's best summer towns: Bristol, Rhode Island. Visitors come from far away locations to enjoy Bristol's history, stroll along its waterfront, shop in its many stores and dine in its many fine restaurants. Make a day of it with your family.


2024 Black Ships Festival
Cultural Marketplace Fair

Saturday, August 17, 2024 at Independence Park, Bristol, RI
10:00 AM to 3:00 PM. Admission is free!

We welcome you to join us for our 41st year honoring

the ongoing special friendship between Rhode Island and Japan.

We had a great Black Ships Festival this past year! It was one of the Ocean State's most enjoyable free, family-friendly events. Handicap accessible.

We hope to see you in 2024. Experience fun at our Cultural Marketplace Fair filled with arts, entertainment, martial arts, food, one-of-a-kind shopping, kid's crafts & Cosplay Costume Contest - all with a distinctly Asian twist. 

Vendors, Food Trucks, Community Groups

We’re seeking creatives and local artisans from across New England for JASRI’s 41st annual Black Ships Festival… where creativity and community come together. With more than 4,000 attendees expected again this year, it’s one of the Ocean State's most enjoyable family-friendly events. The entire community is invited to attend and admission is free!


Ready to join us?

Here’s the link to fill out the Black Ships Festival

Vendor application:

•    All participants must have final approval by the JASRI Executive committee.

2024 Schedule to be announced soon.

Volunteers Are Always Welcome - Help Us At The Black Ships Festival Events

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