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The Meiji Restoration
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Book description

In world history, the Meiji Restoration of 1868 ranks as a revolutionary watershed, on a par with the American and French Revolutions. In this volume, leading historians from North America, Europe, and Japan employ global history in novel ways to offer fresh economic, social, political, cultural, and military perspectives on the Meiji Restoration and the subsequent creation of the modern Japanese nation-state. Seamlessly mixing meta- and micro-history, the authors examine how the Japanese state and Japanese people engaged with global trends of the early nineteenth century. They also explore the internal military conflicts that marked the 1860s and the process of reconciliation after 1868. They conclude with discussions of how new political, cultural, and diplomatic institutions were created as Japan emerged as a global nation, defined in multiple ways by its place in the world.


‘A timely intervention: this book portrays the Meiji Restoration as being at the crossroads of international trade and the world economy, and as part of the violent 1860s that remade the world. As a result, we are beginning to understand the Restoration on a truly global stage.'

Sebastian Conrad - Freie Universität Berlin

‘Viewing the Meiji Restoration through the prism of ‘global intersections', these arresting essays illuminate the interfusion of transnational and national elements in the creation – and stabilization – of the modern Japanese nation-state and the society on which it depended. A varied collection that provides new perspectives on old questions.'

Carol Gluck - Colombia University, New York

‘To widen the lens is to alter the picture. By refocusing the Restoration within a global frame, the sharp-eyed historians featured here manage to disclose both temporal rhythms and spatial patterns that have largely eluded us until now. The early Meiji landscape will never look quite the same.'

Kären Wigen - Stanford University, California

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  • Introduction
    pp 1-12


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