In this episode, Dr. Yoshio reassesses the category of the "woman writer" (joryū sakka) during the Taishō period, tracing the emergence of an interwar transnational women's literature. We discuss the importance of Seito, the works of Tamura Toshiko, and Virginia Woolf's reactions to Murasaki Shikibu's The Tale of Genji, before talking about Dr. Yoshio's translations of contemporary writer Kawakami Mieko.
In this episode, Dr. Benesch surveys what happens to Japan's medieval castles following the Meiji Restoration, highlighting how they stand for both continuity and change in modern Japan. We discuss the destruction of castles in the 1870s as relics of the feudal past before their re-appropriation by the military in the 1890s, connections between castles and reconstructions of Bushido in the prewar, and finally the rebuilding and repurposing of castles in the postwar for tourism.
In this episode, Dr. Linkhoeva reinserts Russia into the Meiji Period and modern Japanese history more broadly, calling into question narratives of constant tension and conflict between Russia and Japan. We discuss the popularity of Russian literature and political thought in the Meiji period, revisit Meiji fears of Russian expansion, trace friendly relations in the interwar and postwar periods, and locate the origins of these false narratives in Cold War-era historiography.
In this episode, Dr. Barclay reorients modern Japanese history to the perspective of the periphery, focusing on Japan's first colony of Taiwan. We discuss Indigenous Taiwanese resistance to Japanese colonialism, the role of capitalism in Japanese imperial expansion, notions of "savagery" and "civilization" in Japanese colonial rule, and how changing perspectives to the periphery reshapes Japanese history.
In this episode, Dr. Fessler chronicles the travel writings of Japanese who went overseas to North America and Europe during the Meiji period, noting how writers revived traditional forms of travel literature (kikō bungaku) to convey their new experiences. We discuss travelers' reactions to unfamiliar cultures, the disappearance of travel literature over the course of the Meiji period, and continuities between the Tokugawa domestic leisure travel industry and Meiji overseas travel before discussing Dr. Fessler's recent research on US Minister Resident to Japan Robert H. Pruyn.
In this episode, Dr. Miller maps the contours of environmental history in Japan and charts how attention to the human interrelationship with the world around us reshapes our understanding of modern Japanese history. We rethink definitions of modernity in the Japanese context, discuss the environmental impacts of coal consumption in Meiji industrialization, and illuminate the history of electricity in Tokyo. (Transcript here).
In this episode, Dr. Sippel surveys the field of environmental studies in Japan before sketching the environmental history of the Tokugawa period. We discuss Tokugawa flood control projects in the context of questions about early modern sustainability, unpack essentialized ideas of a unique Japanese connection to nature, and interrogate the environmentalist movement in Japan today.
In this episode, Dr. Wattles sketches the political potential of artists and artistic production, from early manga artists in the Tokugawa period to activist artists today. We discuss early Meiji portraiture and changing women's employments, editorial cartoons and manga critical of the government and society, and jail cartoons from an immigrant detention center outside Tokyo today.
In this episode, Dr. Steele questions narratives of the Meiji success story by reviewing modern Japanese history from the bottom-up. We discuss how common people experienced and reacted to the events of the Restoration, locate lingering Edokko antipathy for the Meiji government along with sympathy for the Tokugawa, evaluate commoner agency in the Restoration, and finally review examples of resistance to Westernization.
In this episode, Dr. Phipps revisualizes the Meiji era through a global lens, complicating narratives of Meiji Japan "following" or "catching up" to the West and reinserting Japanese developments into global processes. We discuss recent commemorations of the Meiji Restoration sesquicentennial around the world, rediscover commercial ties between Japanese special trading ports and the Asian mainland, and question when Japan officially "opened."
In this episode, Dr. Orbach revisits prewar Japanese military disobedience starting on the eve of the Meiji Restoration. We discuss the shishi of the Bakumatsu years, the Taiwan Expedition and samurai rebellions in the 1870s, the assassinations of Queen Min in 1895 and Zhang Zuolin in 1928, and finally the wave of domestic terror and military coups in the 1930s.
In this episode, Dr. Kirsten Ziomek highlights the diversity of the prewar Japanese empire by surveying native reactions to Japanese colonialism in four locations: Hokkaidō, Taiwan, Micronesia, and Okinawa. We discuss Japanese administrative adaptations to local conditions, the scholarly advantages of using non-traditional sources including oral interviews, pictures, and material objects, the agency of native colonial subjects, and imperial tours to Tokyo.
In this episode, Dr. Yamamoto reviews Japan's diplomatic interactions with Russia in the northern territories of the Kuril Islands and Karafuto in the years around the Meiji Restoration. We discuss Russian exploration in the area dating back to the 18th century, Meiji leaders' perceptions of a Russian threat in the north following the Restoration, and more recent disputes between Russia and Japan over the Kurils before talking about Dr. Yamamoto's recent research on the history of Japanese passports.
This episode previews a new podcast series, Japan on the Record, a shorter format current events-themed series. In episode 1, Dr. Noell Wilson (University of Mississippi) details the American influences shaping Japanese deep sea whaling dating to the mid-19th century.
For more historical background on Japanese whaling, listen to Meiji at 150 Podcast episode 47 with Dr. Jakobina Arch.
In this episode, Dr. Babicz makes a compelling case for dating the start of "Modern Japan" to February 11, 1889, the date when the Meiji Constitution was promulgated, Mori Arinori was assassinated, and the Nihon newspaper published its first issue. We discuss the significance of the date and its connection to "National Foundation Day" today, the rise of conservatism from the middle of the Meiji period, popular reactions to these events at the time, and what their concurrence suggests about Japanese modernization.
In this episode, Dr. Sasamoto-Collins notes tension in Japanese society following the Meiji Restoration between authoritarian state power and political dissenters. We discuss the absolutism of the Meiji state, introduce several prewar political dissidents including Minobe Tatsukichi, map changes in the state/society relationship over the course of modern Japanese history, and question the vibrancy of Japanese civil society today.
In this episode, Dr. Thomas revisits the history of religion during the Meiji Period, outlining the impacts of the Restoration on Buddhism in Japan. We discuss the anxiety felt by Buddhists after 1868, Buddhist practitioners' reactions to institutionalized Shinto in the prewar period, the religious consequences of the postwar American Occupation, and links between animation and religious practice in contemporary Japan. (Transcript here).
In this episode, Dr. Prough guides a tour of historical sites in Kyoto associated with Sakamoto Ryōma, stopping along the way to discuss Ryōma's role in the Restoration, the historical memory of Ryōma, the repackaging of Ryōma's story for tourists, and the role of tourism in shaping Kyoto's urban identity as a city of traditional culture and history, for better or worse.
In this episode, Dr. Wittner revisits narratives of the technological and industrial transformation of Japan following the Meiji Restoration. We discuss the Meiji government's emphasis on technology, the role of Japanese entrepreneurs, Tokugawa preconditions for Meiji industrialization, the activities of oyatoi "hired foreign experts," and the UNESCO sites of Meiji industrialization.
In this episode, Dr. Copeland documents several cases of "unruly women" who disrupt Japanese social norms, from mythical goddess Izanami to popular activists and female writers in the Meiji and Taishō Periods like Kishida Toshiko and Miyake Kaho, and finally to contemporary writer Kirino Natsuo. We discuss formalist versus historicist literary analysis, questions of agency and individuality in Meiji women's cultural production, and the importance of translation in the field of literary studies. (Transcript here).
In this episode, Dr. Isomae charts the changing importance and role of religion in Japanese society following the Meiji Restoration, tracing the emergence of public and private spheres influenced by the introduction of Protestantism. We discuss the dichotomy of belief and practice in the context of popular support for prewar State Shinto and the continuing sacredotal roles of the emperor system, the prevalence of religious rituals and customs in Japanese society, and the popularity of new religions in Japan today.
In this episode, Dr. Susan Burns positions the history of leprosy in Japan amidst changing conceptions of disease and medical practice in the Tokugawa and Meiji periods. We discuss premodern understandings of disease as karmic retribution, government responses to infectious disease, the geographical distribution of medical institutions, and geospatial stigmas associated with the afflicted. (Transcript here).
In this episode, Dr. Campbell reviews the Meiji Restoration from the perspective of American cultural history, situating Japan within American interests in the Pacific. We question narratives of a "Clash" of Japanese and American cultures, and discuss Dr. Campbell's work on Japanese toilets and the material history of Japanese men's fashion.
In this episode, Janice Nimura recounts the remarkable story of the women of the Iwakura Mission, three young girls sent to America in 1872 for a decade to learn about Western culture. We discuss the background of the women's presence on the Mission, the women's experiences in the US as seen in diaries and personal correspondence, and the lives they led and impact they had in Japan upon their return. (Transcript here).
In this episode, Dr. Jaundrill complicates the easy association between Bushidō, samurai, and Japan in the contemporary popular imagination. We discuss military reforms dating to the 1850s and into the Meiji Period, highlight the impact of military conscription on the former samurai and on commoners, challenge the continuity of Bushidō in the prewar military, and question the re-appropriation of Bushidō for the contemporary business world.
In this episode, Dr. Deborah Shamoon redraws depictions of the shōjo, or adolescent women, in Japanese cultural production in the Meiji and Taishō period, drawing connections between literature and new understandings of adolescent women’s roles in society. We discuss the emergence of new types of female characters in Meiji literature by Futabatei Shimei, Miyake Kaho, and Mori Ōgai, views of teenage girls as threatening in works by Tayama Katai and Tanizaki Junichirō, and changes in shōjo culture as seen in shōjo manga and the popularity of Misora Hibari in the postwar.
In this episode, Dr. Ravina reconsiders received narratives of the Meiji Restoration, challenging ideas of the Restoration as a sharp break and reviving the importance of antiquity to early Meiji leaders. We compare the Meiji Restoration to earlier examples of foreign threat and domestic reform in premodern Japan, question concepts of "modernization" and "Westernization" commonly applied to the Meiji Period, and place the Restoration among the global revolutions of the 19th century. (Transcript here).
In this episode, Dr. Loh re-examines the history of science in modern Japan and charts Japan's singular experiences of radiation, from the development of Japanese radiology during the Meiji Period, to the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and finally to the Triple Disaster in Fukushima. We discuss the introduction of X-ray technology, the lives and work of Japanese scientists Nishina Yoshio and Nagai Takashi, and Dr. Loh's contribution to a documentary film about radiation in Fukushima. (Transcript here).
In this episode, Dr. Ambaras retraces the intimate and illicit networks of regional mobility in East Asia to rethink nation-centric narratives of modern Japanese and Chinese history. We discuss how the Meiji Restoration reshaped the East Asian Sinosphere, the lives of traders, women, and children living in Japan's "imperial underworlds," and how the upending of the East Asian order once again in 1945 impacted transnational families. (Transcript here).
In this episode, Dr. Brunero places treaty ports in Japan leading up to and after the Meiji Restoration into an East Asian regional perspective, comparing life in treaty ports in Japan and China. We discuss cultural transformations and cultural hybridity in treaty ports, question popular visions of the treaty ports that render non-Westerners invisible, and reread newspaper coverage of the Meiji Restoration in the Chinese treaty port press.
In this episode, Dr. Sand maps the urban change of Tokyo following the Meiji Restoration, highlighting material and spatial changes along with continuities and discontinuities in Tokyo planning from the 1880s to the present. We discuss the Ginza Bricktown, the politics of urban planning in the late 19th century, and disastrous moments of urban disruption in 1923 and 1945 before fast-forwarding to the present to talk about Shitamachi culture in Tokyo, our own favorite Tokyo neighborhoods, and to speculate on how the 2020 Tokyo Olympics will reshape the city once again. (Transcript here).
In this episode, Dr. Carol Gluck reconsiders recent scholarly treatments of the Meiji Restoration by prominent historians in Japan, challenging narratives of a "simple Meiji". We question whether or not "Meiji has lost its mojo" in Japan today in light of lackluster commemorations of Meiji 150, discuss the commonalities and connections between the Meiji Restoration and the 19th century world, and talk about the importance of the Restoration in shaping Japanese history. (Transcript here).
In this episode, Dr. Nakamura diagnoses the development of medical practice in Meiji Japan, starting with battlefield medicine during the Bōshin War. We discuss the violence of the Meiji Restoration, changes in medical practice following the Restoration, and the roles of female physicians and Western advisors in the development of Japanese medical practice. (Transcript here).
In this episode, Dr. Ericson rethinks several common understandings of Meiji industrialization and economic modernization, reassessing ideas of fiscal retrenchment during the Matsukata Deflation, challenging assumptions of Tokugawa structural preconditions for Meiji industrialization, and questioning the speed and success of Meiji industrial growth. (Transcipt here).
In this episode, Dr. Oshikiri describes changes to the cultural significance of tea ceremony from the Tokugawa Period into the Meiji Period. We discuss the practice of tea ceremony in the Tokugawa period, the embracing of tea ceremony after the Restoration in the context of invented traditions and new social organizations in the Meiji Period, as well as the promotion of tea ceremony as a Japanese art form at international expositions to stimulate tea exports.
In this episode, Dr. Huffman chronicles the daily lives of the down and out poor residents in the slums of Tokyo and Osaka during the late Meiji Period. We discuss the life patterns and living conditions of slum residents, the rural poverty that drove people to look for jobs in the cities and overseas in places like Hawaii, the existence of charity and other social welfare programs to help the poor, and contemporary press coverage of the slums in the mass media before talking about the status of Tokyo slums today. (Transcript here).
In this episode, Dr. Chatani raises the importance of rural Seinendan youth mobilization groups in rallying local support for the Japanese military across the Japanese empire, from Miyagi to Okinawa, Taiwan, and Korea. We discuss the reasons for popular support of the military amongst rural villagers and the large number of colonial youth who volunteered for the Japanese army, before shifting to talk about Dr. Chatani's recent research on the lives of North Korean overseas nationals in Japan in the context of postwar northeast Asian geopolitics. (Transcript here).
In this episode, Dr. Reynolds reinforces the Meiji foundations of modern Japanese national architectural as mix of Western and traditional forms. We discuss the Meiji origins of institutions of architectural practice including architectural training programs, the mixing of Western and Japanese traditional forms in the training curricula, and the Pan-Asian and hybrid style of Itō Chūta. We then fast forward to the postwar period to talk about continuities between prewar and postwar architecture, the importance of Japanese forms and architects in the global development of Modernist architecture, the National Diet Building, and the aesthetics of Tokyo architecture, concluding with the politics of architectural preservation and restoration today.
In this episode, Dr. Yoshimizu outlines and deconstructs discourses of proper women's behavior amongst the Japanese-Canadian community in prewar British Columbia through representations of Japanese sex workers, waitresses, and wives in the Tairiku Nippō newspaper. We discuss the history of Japanese prostitution in BC, the importance of vernacular media to the Japanese immigrant community, and how the history of Japanese sex workers in BC is remembered today in both Japan and Canada.
In this episode, Dr. Partner retraces the footsteps of Japanese merchant Shinohara Chūemon in treaty-port Yokohama in the 1850-1860s, emphasizing the individual efforts from the bottom-up that made Meiji transformations possible. We discuss what life was like in treaty ports for Japanese residents, how Meiji reforms impacted Japanese residents both in the treaty ports and in rural areas, and the emergence of Japanese national identity in reaction to interaction with foreigners.
In this episode, Dr. Yoshimura weaves kimono into the study of Japanese material culture and folklore from the Meiji Period, noting how kimono fashion and cultural practices changed during the Meiji Period as kimono became Japan's national garment. We discuss the materiality of folklore studies, Meiji kimono, and practices of kimono wearing today before talking about Dr. Yoshimura's work on Asian-American grocery stores.
In this episode, Dr. Foster guides us into the realm of yōkai, or supernatural spirits and monsters, as an introduction to the study of Japanese folklore. We discuss the popularity of the kokkuri divination game during the Meiji period as evidence for how Japanese were reacting to changes in everyday life, the continuing prominence of yōkai in Japanese pop culture and global imaginations of Japan, and the political context of UNESCO intangible cultural heritage sites and local tourist advertising in Japan.
In this episode, Dr. Aso reconstructs representations of Japanese modernity in imperial museums from the early Meiji Period, noting the influence of international expositions and imperialist expansion. We then discuss Dr. Aso’s more recent research on wartime consumerism and department store advertising before talking about her classroom teaching on gender in East Asia.
In this episode, Dr. Kerim Yasar notes how the introduction of technologies of sound production and reproduction impacted Japanese daily life during the Meiji period. We touch on the ability of informative technologies like the telegraph and the telephone to spread ideas and tie the nation together, before discussing the spread of popular culture, such as Naniwa Bushi and other performative arts, through the gramophone, radio, and film.
In this episode, Dr. Siniawer reconsiders the big questions of politics during the Meiji Period, touching on major developments including the construction of the Meiji state, divides within the Meiji ruling regime, samurai rebellions, and the Seikanron ("Punish Korea") debates. We discuss the radical reforms of the Caretaker Government in the early 1870s, along with the political goals of protestors and violence in the Freedom and People's Rights Movement, before talking about Dr. Siniawer's more recent research on waste in postwar Japan. (Transcript here).
In this episode, Dr. Brian McVeigh investigates the development of the social sciences in Japan during the Meiji period, with an emphasis on the study of psychology. We discuss the place of the social sciences in the Japanese education and imperial university system, position Japan within global psychology practice, and map changes to the psychology profession over the course of Japanese history before contrasting ideas of the Self in the Meiji period and today.
In this episode, Dr. Merry White recasts Japan as a coffee country, emphasizing the popularity of coffee and coffee shops in Japanese society dating to the Meiji Period. We discuss multiple waves of coffee popularity in Japan, trends in different kinds of coffee shops, the prevalence of specialized coffee craft and techniques in Japanese cafes, and the view of Japanese society we get from the coffee shop, before comparing notes on our own favorite Tokyo cafes and obsessive coffee habits. (Transcript here).
In this episode, Dr. Marco Tinello traces the origins of "Ryūkyū Shobun" and the Japanese colonization of the Ryūkyū Kingdom in the 1870s to Ryūkyūan embassies sent to Edo during the early modern period. We discuss the political importance of these embassies for the Tokugawa, the Ryūkyūs, and Satsuma, re-position the embassies in the complicated politics of Bakumatsu, and reinsert Ryūkyū into diplomatic negotiations with the Western powers from the 1850s.
In this episode, Dr. Loo recounts the incorporation of the Ryūkyū Kingdom into Japan and the establishment of Okinawa Prefecture in 1879 as one example of Japanese territorial expansion following the Meiji Restoration. We discuss Meiji state policies towards the Ryūkyūs, the reactions of Ryūkyūan elites, local protest movements, comparisons to the colonization of Hokkaidō and Taiwan, and the legacies of this history for Okinawan identity and culture today.
In this episode, Dr. Mark McNally revisits the history of nativism and anti-foreignism during the years leading up to the Meiji Restoration, finding the late-Tokugawa period far more cosmopolitan than expected. We discuss early modern Japanese relations with the Ryūkyū kingdom, the conversion of Ryūkyū into Okinawa, and the history of Japanese emigration to Hawaii.