Ford and Hirohoto

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In this David Hume Kennerly photograph from the Blue Room of the White House, President Ford sits down with Japan’s Emperor Hirohito before a state dinner in his honor on October 3, 1975. It was the emperor’s first trip to America’s capital, but President Ford had already met the Emperor the previous year in Tokyo. Even with the formal atmosphere extruding from the white tie gala, the nearly silhouetted figures backlit by a lamp have an intimacy within formal surroundings. Kennerly’s photo reflects how far the relationship between two countries has come since Commandore Perry, Pearl Harbor and two Atom Bombs–two countries has as the emperor toasted that night, “have become the nearest of neighbors…. Never before in history have two such distant and different peoples forged such close bonds of friendship.”

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