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Japan

Reception for Commodore Perry by Japanese Noblemen, c. 1885

This episode takes us back to 1853 and the arrival of Commodore Matthew Perry’s fleet of ships into Edo Bay.

Infantrymen of Japan’s Self-Defence Forces parading in Tokyo, 3 November 1966.

After a disastrous Second World War, Japan abolished its armed forces and embraced pacifism. With renewed tensions in East Asia, can it last?

Meiji, Emperor of Japan, and the imperial family, woodcut, late 19th century. (Getty Images)

When it comes to rapid world-changing events, the Meiji Restoration has few equals.

Manjirō Nakahama, late 19th century.

A teenager shipwrecked on a Pacific atoll helped transform relations between Japan and the United States.

A map of the Japanese city from the Edo period was one of the earliest produced for general use. 

Japan’s vast Asian empire became home to more than a million female settlers, who told their stories in an effort to keep in contact. 

Way of the samurai: Mishima on the day of his suicide. Ⓒ AFP/Getty Images.

Angered by his native country’s rush towards western-style modernisation, the acclaimed Japanese author committed a shocking act of protest.

Natsume Sōseki, c.1910

The visit of Natsume Sōseki to London at the turn of the 20th century suggested ways of successfully combining western industrialism with ‘Japanese Spirit’.

A Japanese merchant ship is torpedoed and sunk by a US submarine, November 18th, 1943.

An island nation with few resources, Japan was in a precarious enough position when it declared war on the United States in December 1941. That its powerful navy failed to learn the lessons of previous conflicts made matters even worse.

A Japanese map produced during the Second World War encouraged children to follow the Empire's military effort, explains Kate Wiles.