Choshu in the Meiji Restoration

Choshu in the Meiji Restoration

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When Commodore Perry arrived in Japan to open the country to Western trade in 1853, he found a medieval amalgam of sword-bearing samurai, castle towns, Confucian academies, peasant villages, rice paddies, upstart merchants, bath houses, and Kabuki. Fifteen years later, Japan was on its way to becoming the only non-Western nation in the nineteenth century with a modern centralized bureaucratic state and industrial economy. This book is a study of the Meiji Restoration that changed the face of Japan. Prominent historian Albert M. Craig tells its story through that of the domain of Choshu-whose role in the formation of modern Japan was not unlike that of Prussia in Germany-during the fifteen crucial years between 1853 and 1868. Whereas previous studies have stressed the role of discontented lower samurai and frustrated rich merchants and peasants in this transition, claiming that they provided the motive power behind the political movements of the Restoration period, this work sharply challenges these earlier interpretations. Craig instead emphasizes the vitality of traditional values in Japan's early reaction to the West and foregrounds the critical contribution of the old society to the formation of the new Meiji state. Choshu in the Meiji Restoration is a seminal work for scholars and students of Japanese history.show more

Product details

  • Paperback | 456 pages
  • 154.4 x 226.1 x 22.9mm | 627.04g
  • Lexington Books
  • Lanham, MD, United States
  • English
  • bibliography, index
  • 0739101935
  • 9780739101933
  • 1,093,938

About Albert M. Craig

Albert M. Craig is Yenching Research Professor of History at Harvard University. He is the author, with others, of The Heritage of World Civilization (1999), Personality in Japanese History (1995), and East Asia: Tradition and Transformation (1989).show more

Table of contents

Part 1 Background: The Anatomy of a Han Chapter 2 Introduction Chapter 3 Choshu and the Tokugawa Policy Chapter 4 Choshu's Finances and the Tokugawa Economy Chapter 5 Choshu and the Tempo Reform Chapter 6 The Early Stage of Bakumatsu Politics, 1853-1861 Chapter 7 The Background of Ideas in Choshu Part 8 The Restoration Movement Chapter 9 The Rise of Choshu in National Politics, 1861-1863 Chapter 10 The Decline of the Choshu Sonno Joi Movement, 1863-1864 Chapter 11 The Choshu Civil War Chapter 12 The March to Power Chapter 13 Conclusionshow more

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