Meiji History

Emperor Meiji (3): The Man and the Image

Emperor Meiji (3): The Man and the Image

  • 24th May 2019

Japan’s victory over Russia in 1905, although won at great cost and, one might say, by the skin of their teeth, represented a great triumph and gave rise to an upsurge in nationalism. By 1905 many Japanese were too young to remember the time of their country’s humiliating weakness in…

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Emperor Meiji (2): Becoming a Constitutional Monarch

Emperor Meiji (2): Becoming a Constitutional Monarch

  • 30th April 2019

The Meiji Emperor was only sixteen when the Restoration of 1868 ended the rule of the Tokugawa shoguns and established the imperial court as the supreme authority. Personal rule by the emperor remained the ideal, but in fact around 20 men from the nobility and the domains involved in the…

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Emperor Meiji (1): Monarch for a New Era

Emperor Meiji (1): Monarch for a New Era

  • 17th April 2019

On 1 April – no, this was not a hoax! – a new era was announced in Japan. The Reiwa era will begin on 1 May when the present crown prince Naruhito succeeds his father Emperor Akihito who will finally be granted his wish to abdicate. In former times it…

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Yoshida Shôin 吉田松陰 (2): A Fateful Encounter

Yoshida Shôin 吉田松陰 (2): A Fateful Encounter

  • 9th March 2019

On 8 July 1853 a frightening sight met the eyes of the people of Shimoda village, at the entrance into the bays of Sagami and Tokyo. Far out at sea, several ships seemed to be on fire. Moreover, they were coming closer. The fire, it turned out, was just smoke…

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