Japanese art underwent major changes with the opening of Japan to international trade in the mid-1800s. Aside from a small number of Chinese residents and a limited trade relationship with the Dutch, Japan had been closed off to interaction with people from other nations since 1639. As a result, its 1854 trade agreement with the United States, rapidly followed by treaties with European nations, generated a seismic shift in Japanese culture. Japan went from being an isolated country operating under a military regime to a country with imperialist ambitions and a representative government almost overnight. Artists who had worked within traditional patronage and workshop systems found themselves competing in a global arena and redefining what it meant to create “Japanese art” in the modern world.