Japanese Industrialisation: Historical and Cultural Perspectives

Japanese Industrialisation: Historical and Cultural Perspectives

Japanese Industrialisation: Historical and Cultural Perspectives

Japanese Industrialisation: Historical and Cultural Perspectives


Japan's escape from colonialism and its subsequent industrialization has created an economy to rival the that of the United States. This comprehensive volume examines how this rapid change of fortunes occurred, and the impact it has had on East Asia and the world at large.


Anxious visions in Meiji Japan

One day when I was passing the Shimbashi bridge, I observed on a pillar of the bridge, an inscription ‘Constructed in the 100th Year of Meiji’. Wondering at this, I looked at the bridge and found that it was not like that in the olden time, having glittering pillars of copper, and railings of iron: the houses in the surrounding streets were splendidly built and some of them three, and others five stories high; flags from every merchant’s house were waving in the air; all kinds of precious articles were displayed in the shops and carriages and horses were incessantly passing to and fro. Indeed, a most flourishing state of trade was actually before my eyes.

So began a Dream of the Future—of the year 1967—accounted thus in Japan during late 1878 by the editor of the Hochi Shimbun newspaper, Mitsuomi Tachibana. This was a most traumatic time, one of extreme cultural, political and institutional disarray, in the midst of years of doubt and uncertainty, of prolonged equivocations felt by those many tens of thousands of Japanese whose lives were lived well beyond those of the modernising elite. Just months before this the famous Satsuma Rebellion had failed to disturb the government from its determined trajectory towards a national Restoration based on its own strange admixture of tradition, cultural engineering and modern technologies.

But our editor continues his story of Japan in 1967 as dreamt in 1878:

Greatly puzzled at this, I went into a shop and found that the master of the shop was a White man with blue eyes and red hair, wearing handsome clean clothes and sitting in an easy position by a desk; and that those wearing scanty and torn apparel and in the employment of the master of the house, were none but the yellow-coloured and high-cheek-boned brethren of ours. The noise of a carriage was then heard and on turning my face towards it, I saw a party driving in a carriage ornamented with glittering gold and silver. On inquiring of the bystanders as to who it was, they told me that the gentleman was a Mr John Tale the proprietor of the Silk Filature manufactory in

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