Americans in Japan(在日アメリカ人/在日米国人,Zainichi Amerikajin / Zainichi Beikokujin?) comprise people from the United States residing in Japan and their descendants. Larger numbers of Americans began going to Japan after the 1854 Convention of Kanagawa, under which Commodore Matthew C. Perry forced Japan to open to international trade. As of 2011, Americans formed 2.4% of the total population of registered foreigners in Japan, with 49,815 U.S. citizens residing there, according to the statistics of Japan's Ministry of Justice. This made them the sixth-largest group of foreigners; they had formerly been the fifth-largest, but were surpassed by Peruvians in 2000.
The first Americans to come to Japan actually predated Perry by nearly six decades. In 1791, two merchant vessels from Massachusetts, the Lady Washington and the Grace, landed at Kushimoto, near Osaka, under the pretense that they were taking refuge from a storm. They began negotiations with Japanese authorities there about the potential of opening trade, but made no headway, and departed after eleven days. Another early American resident of Japan who predated Perry's arrival was Ranald MacDonald (1834–1894), a man of Scottish and Chinook descent, and the first to teach the English language in Japan.
Especially prior to World War II, it was a common practice for isseiJapanese Americans to send their nisei children to Japan for education. Known as Kibei(帰米?), they often found themselves the subject of discrimination from their classmates in Japan during their studies; upon their return to the United States, their Japanese American peers also derided them as "too Japanesey" for their alleged authoritarian mindset and pro-Japanese militarist sympathies.