Here's the real-life scoop on what happened to Manjiro after returning home.
He became a teacher.
Then Commodore Matthew Perry and his American ships entered Edo Bay in July 1853 and asked for access to Japan's ports.
Manjiro was asked to go to Edo and turned into a samurai for his knowledge and expertise about America.
Manjiro eventually advised the ruling government to end its isolationist policies and open itself up to America—after all, it wasn't like they had any weapons that would scare America off.
On March 31, 1854, Japan and the U.S. sign a treaty of peace and friendship, thereby ending Japan's isolationism.
Even though Manjiro was so influential with the shogun, for the rest of his life, people were suspicious of him; he even hired a bodyguard due to the threats against his life.
Even so, he achieved many things: He wrote and translated some major books; he taught math, English, and sea navigation.
He began the whaling industry in Japan and served as an interpreter for the first embassy to the U.S.
He also managed to visit the Whitfields again, when he was forty-three years old.
He was married three times and had three kids.
He wore a hybrid of Western and Japanese fashion, and he always had a breakfast of toast and coffee.
The friendship between the Whitfields and Manjiro lives on in a broader context through the Japan-America Grassroots Summit. Fairhaven and Tosashimizu (a city near Manjiro's hometown) are also sister cities.