The achievements of the Meiji regime in transforming Japan, within the space of half a lifetime, into one of the most powerful of modern states are justly regarded as among the most remarkable events in history. But the restoration of the Emperor and the fall of the Shogun was brought about at the cost of a fierce domestic struggle, writes Henry McAleavy, which involved many strange personalities and dramatic events.
In the 1860s a group of the younger Samurai launched the Meiji revolution in the Emperor's name. This event, writes Henry McAleavy, helped convert Japan into a modern country, with Western fashions and techniques imposed upon the national habits of centuries.
Her victory in the Russo-Japanese war, writes C. Platanov, which came to an end in September 1905, established Japan as a modern world-power.
The suffering of prisoners of war at the hands of the Japanese during the Second World War has coloured the British view of the conflict in the Far East. Clare Makepeace highlights a little known aspect of the captives’ story: their quest for compensation.
In 1862 a Japanese official mission visited England, nine years after the re-opening of their country to the world. Carmen Blacker describes how their strange attire and ‘inscrutable reticence’ surprised the mid-Victorian public.
The Japanese ruler was laid to rest on February 24th, 1989.
The first English ship reached Japan in 1613. Michael Cooper describes how the Chief Factor of the East India Company recorded some reminiscences.
Just over a hundred years ago, writes William Watson, an unprovoked attack on a party of inoffensive Westerners was followed by violent reprisals.
The last operation of the Japanese Naval Command, writes Albert Vulliez, was a deliberate act of suicide. It was received by the people with a ‘sombre bitterness’. Translated by Patrick Turnbull.
Ivan Morris describes how the idea of heroic failure has always exerted a strong hold on the Japanese imagination.