The Rise of Japan

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

Meiji, Emperor of Japan, and the imperial family, woodcut, late 19th century. (Getty Images)A US fleet under the command of Commodore Matthew C. Perry sailed into Edo Bay in 1853. Its presence confirmed what Japan’s leaders had suspected for some time: that their isolation from the world had caused them to fall behind the West, technologically and industrially. Perry’s culture shock led to a profound shift.

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