How did ordinary people experience Japan's modern transformation?
What role did people in local areas play in the making of modern
Japan? How do studies of local politics help explain national
The dominant account of modern Japanese history focuses on the
nation-building that brought Japan into the modern world. After
centuries of isolation, American warships forced Japan to open its
doors to the West and a group of tough new leaders transformed the
country into one of the great military and economic powers of the
world. But different perspectives need to be examined. Alternative
Narratives introduces other actors, other places and other
dimensions of social and political activity in an attempt to
construct a broader and more complex account of modern Japanese
Focusing on the initial years of Japan's modern transformation,
from the 1850s to the 1890s, Steele explores responses of commoners
to the arrival of American warships in 1853; the growth of popular
political consciousness; reactions of the residents of Edo in 1868
on the deposition of the shogun; responses of the village elite to
the fall of the old regime; and established frameworks of
historical narration - including American attempts to understand
Japan's 1868 civil war.
The author draws upon a wealth of documents, including broadsheets,
woodblock prints, political cartoons and local campaign literature,
as well as more conventional material in an endeavour to find new
and different ways to examine the past. This book forms an
important resource to students of Japanese history and culture
while simultaneously appealing to scholars interested in the
general problem of history and history-writing.
|Country of origin:
M. William Steele
||Electronic book text
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