In the mid-19th century Japan transformed itself from feudal state to economic powerhouse at breakneck speed. Taking their cue from Western imperial powers, the rebel samurai who seized power in 1868 implemented an astonishing programme of reform.
By removing an entire ruling elite, introducing national conscription and compulsory education, the Meiji rulers set about building a brand new society. Even the measurement of time was changed, which led to considerable confusion between generations.
Rajan Datar and guests will unpack the origins of this dynamic transformation, and examine how it led Japan to a period of drastic imperial expansion and the subsequent atrocities of World War II.
Joining Rajan will be historians Naoko Shimazu from Yale NUS College in Singapore, Mark Ravina from Emory University in Atlanta, USA, and Barak Kushner from the University of Cambridge in the UK.
Photo: Meiji Shrine In Tokyo, Japan. (Junko Kimura/Getty Images)


00:00:00Hello and welcome to this podcast from the bbc world service Please let us know what you think and tell other people about us on social media Podcasts from the bbc world service are supported by advertising no Hello and welcome to the forum on the bbc world service I'm
00:00:27large in data In eighteen fifty three commodore matthew perry of the united states navy arrived on the shores of japan demanding the country's rulers put an end to their ban on trade with the west With great pomp and ceremony on more than a little menace perry promised he
00:00:44would be back to sign a deal that would put an end to what was believed to be centuries of japanese isolation It's set in train a siri's of events that led to the overthrow of the japanese government on the restoration of the emperor major one hundred fifty years
00:00:59ago Why it might seem at first a remote historical event The major restoration was to have far reaching implications not just for japan but for the rest of the world Indeed some scholars think that revolution is a more appropriate term than restoration for what happened It ordered the
00:01:17rise of japan as a world power set on expansion which would have devastating consequences in the second world war And it marked out the country as a rapidly modernizing industrializing nation Soon to become the producer of cars computers onda electron ix used by people today the world over
00:01:36to discuss the birth of modern japan I'm joined on today's forum from singer poor by naoko shimazu professor of humanities at yale and us college on the writer of japanese society at war death memory on the russo japanese war Mark ravine a professor of history at emory university
00:01:54in atlanta Yusa and author of to stand with the nations of the world Japan's major restoration in world history Drink on in london we have barack kushner from the university of cambridge where he's professor of east asian history His most recent book looks at the dismantling of the
00:02:12japanese empire after the second world war Welcome to all three of you to start i want to ask each of you in turn The major restoration one hundred fifty years ago was a watershed moment for japan How is it being commemorated their mark to you first Surprisingly at
00:02:31the national level there's been rather little commemoration A lot of commemorations have been local and localities trying to draw tourists to their part of japan insisting that it is the true heartland origins of the major restoration those have been quite vibrant And there have also been some commercial
00:02:51commemorations i think most significantly an entire siri's of commemorative one hundred fiftieth anniversary of the major restoration coca cola bottles But nationally actually remarkably little now what's what's your feeling about this It's very interesting that the cabinet office i the prime minister's office has a website which lists
00:03:13or events begins more throughout japan So you can sort of clicking to any prefecture that you may be going too And some of the events the really interesting and have absolutely nothing do the major restoration like a just dance contest on barack Just prefer if it is right
00:03:29there and important that this is commemorated isn't it And remember it because it was a major event in japanese history It was a major event in japanese history and it was a major event for the history of east asia And as we move into the nineteen thirties and
00:03:43the nineteen forties for the world as well so it's incredibly important to discuss it I think the irony of celebrating made she in this century is that japan is not young and vibrant as it was in the mid nineteenth century And in fact it's facing a whole different
00:03:59set of problems of very drastically aging society looking forward with great fear and the rise of china And japan is struggling with its place in east asia And i do wonder if this lack of celebration or mohr on a national level is because the japanese air kind of
00:04:20found oring themselves or even floundering into thinking about how should we talk about the major restoration Well let's rewind to the mid nineteenth century and before we go any further there are certain terms or words that are likely to crop up in our discussions So it probably helped
00:04:37to understand a few them now could Let's start with sami right What What does that actually mean It's probably the most famous japanese word and quite simply it means in the elite class of warriors and the somebody i class was the highest social class out of the four
00:04:55classes others being farmers peasants artisans and merchants Okay mark let's turn to show gun What does that mean The term sugen It was a military appointment and it was the highest in the hierarchy of summarize and some write themselves served a local lord The local lords in turn
00:05:17swore loyalty to the show gance So he was at the apex of all the samurai in japan The only question was was he a commander in his own right Or did he serve at the behest of the emperor And that arguably is the disagreement that caused the major
00:05:32restoration Brock dimeo daniel are the local lords that mark just mentioned and held power It was essentially hereditary but you could lose it at the behest of the show gun who rearranged the several hundred fiefs In a sense around japan one can think of us as local lords
00:05:54or regional warlords or even in the modern sense governor off let's say a prayer picture So that's the terminology scene too But it's imp important to explain these terms because before eighteen sixty eight before the major restoration japanese society was highly stratified and these three categories of people
00:06:13ruled the roost in a feudal structure Mark tell us how how you lived your life depended not on ly on your strata but your place so law could very quite a bit depending on which village you lived in artisans and merchants If they lived in major towns they'd
00:06:31come under town lost what mattered what city or town you lived in And for some arai you're dimeo might have his own legal code And your in essence your brigade commander might have his own attitude So in a lot of areas of civil law you'd come under his
00:06:46command So where you lived and what strategy you lived in affected your daily life enormously and see if they're to say at that point there's no national army as such No national taxes no real sense of national unity Absolutely And that's something that the major government needs to
00:07:03create rapidly They have to take thousands of different tax systems and beat them in tow one And they have to take commoners who have never fought at all and some right who only fought for their own local commanders and beat those into some sort of national army And
00:07:20that's very disruptive for the population of japan There they've in some level they've known they've been japanese It's just not mattered for millennia in any practical sense we'll explore a bit of that later on in the program But barack where was the emperor of all this time Because
00:07:37there was then an emperor wasn't there There was still an emperor And the emperor is essentially hiding out hiding out relaxing doing not much in kyoto thie emperor is essentially a weakling So the court is off by itself doing its own thing And it needs to exist as
00:07:55a symbol of the relationship of the show gun to the rest of thie I do want to say nation at this point It's not really a nation but all those fiefs But they don't really have any rules and they certainly have no money or power Well well look
00:08:07at the reinvention of the emperor in a little bit But before eighteen sixty eight japan had gone through a period were virtually all trade with other nations was was banned Now don't tell me why did they restrict trade in this way What they're hoping to achieve by that
00:08:23So there was this policy called sakura which essentially meant seclusion And this was introduced to stabilize the talk of our room The tokugawa period Being an era from sixteen Oh three to eighteen sixty seven It's very important to recognize that in certain societies in the world which included
00:08:44some off the societies in east asia that i ideally trade did not figure prominently a cz the most important element for that society in its interactions with others a way during this period of seclusion the tokugawa government effectively tried to control external trade through the dutch and the
00:09:06chinese in nagasaki So japan remained this kind of mysterious enigmatic closed door the kind of place But mark you believe this isolation argument has been overplayed What's tricky about the isolation argument is that the show guns themselves deceived the foreign powers So when britain and the united states
00:09:29and russia in the eighteen hundreds begin asking japan for trade and diplomatic relations the sugen say we can't do that We have an ancient policy banning that And of course there couldn't have been a sixteen thirties or sixteen forties policy towards the united states because the country didn't
00:09:46exist There wasn't a sixteen thirties were sixteen forties policy towards russia because it wasn't a pacific power The policies in the sixteen thirties and sixteen forties are focused on banning spain and portugal because they bring missionaries to japan So what happens in essence is the show going debates
00:10:05in the late seventeen hundreds of eighteen hundreds What to do with these new powers that just wanna trade are not bringing missionaries and there's no precedent for them because they really didn't exist And they decide that in fact they are covered under the sixteen thirties and sixteen forties
00:10:20policies and japan's ancient policy dating back to the first show Guns is toe have no trade with any western country at all so isolation in some ways is a very old policy But in some ways it's actually a new policy that's created when the westerners asked for trade
00:10:38and japan decides and essence to back date a new decision But then in eighteen fifty three that all changes with the arrival of four ships from the u S navy led by commodore matthew perry Barack tell us what happened then but the gunboat diplomacy i think has two
00:10:55sides The first site is that america is demonstrating its military prowess by mustering steamships all the way across the pacific to japan and they arrived with great fanfare and create tremendous fear The japanese haven't seen steamships like this It's relatively a peaceful negotiation Thie japanese actually send their
00:11:19own very big sumo wrestlers to the beach in order to meet three american soldiers But the japanese are forced to come up with an answer How are you going to interact with the rest of the world And this starts a chain of events where the bach through itself
00:11:35the tokugawa sugen administration is unclear about what to do And for their first time they turned to the dimeo the regional warlords and they asked them and they enter into a conversation that they hadn't to and they appear not to be the rock solid rulers they were before
00:11:53And that really is one of the outcomes of this gunboat diplomacy Because what does happen and we haven't said this is that other so called unequal treaties with japan assigned by several foreign nations And so then well this kind of looking for blaming the sense starts happening So
00:12:08in a nutshell Then there is a serious of coups The ruling show gun resigns in eighteen sixty seven The rebellious regional warlords the dona take over the imperial palace and the emperor is restored to the throne now now as i alluded to before should be cool This a
00:12:27revolution rather than a restoration Restoration wass the term or easter term used to explain the political process largely whereby a group off low ranking someone eyes and courtiers asked it the short innit from power And they state the legitimacy right on the reason off restoring the emperor to
00:12:51his rightful place that is at the centre ofthe japanese politi But of course in reality this political change resulted in an extensive societal change Effectively almost everything about the old talk of our society was thrown into the dustbin of history and change to new ways of organizing operating
00:13:11You know the society adopted mostly you know west the models to create a robust more than state which could re buff the west So i would say that it was actually a revolution What's your take on this month There's no storming over the best steel single moment where
00:13:27we can say ah ha But if we look at what happens over the course of reforms just before the restoration and then the decade after the restoration it's a revolution At entire privileged classes disappear distinctions among the lower classes disappear Daily life changes radically These air revolutionary changes
00:13:48You know whether or not the major restoration has happened in virtually every part of japan And one way or another it transforms how you live how you relate to the state how you really to other people Of course in this city's where there's actually a prisons of foreigners
00:14:02you since the change more immediately you see foreigners They're eating weird food and new types of restaurants Railroads are built of course in major metropolitan centers So you since this change much more quickly and as is the custom in japan the new teenage emperor he takes the name
00:14:21major which means enlightened rule on dh barack Tell me now what is the difference about the new emperor's role from previously Well the new emperor is trotted out from kyoto and he's then trotted all around that the new country one has to be taught houthi emperors and to
00:14:40revere the emperor after his pictures put in all the schools well pretty much from the late eighteen eighties onwards So this takes a while for the japanese population to come to understand what the emperor is the role and the god like status So we shouldn't think that the
00:14:56public's understanding of the emperor in early major is as it became in the nineteen thirties and forties in japan because he was so young This this new emperor he surrounds himself with advisers were all the advisers surround him Now tell me who is in charge now And what
00:15:14other kinds of major changes they bring in And i'm thinking in terms of education the constitution and so on The restoration ist the key members off The restoration on the whole tended to be really quite young and this lend them so much energy And so one of the
00:15:31first things they did after the major restoration wasthe e abolition off the sum of my pension system The summers were paid off in a lump sum and this enabled the new leadership to do the unimaginable which was to create a you know seemingly a brand new society with
00:15:49new values new institutions like the imperial army So conscription was introduced as well as thie New educational system was introduced And then of course the crowning glory of orders was the major constitution off eighteen eighty nine and off course These changes worth acted as a result off this
00:16:08extensive study tour ah made by the commission in eighteen seventy one to seventy three when they visited almost all the european and in the united states in order to study everything aspect ofthe society culture off thes countries And the interesting thing is though that the official reason for
00:16:31the commission wass teo learn ways in which japan could become a truly more than st in orderto abre gate thea unequal treaties imposed on it by the western pass in the mid nineteenth century and in terms of the capital ada is renamed it becomes the imperial on political
00:16:53capital tokyo Centralization of power takes place We're talking about big changes to a country because an entire ruling elite has bean removed It's out with the old in with the new mark How does that affect the ordinary man or woman in japan One way in which thinks changes
00:17:11actually simply the measurement of time We of course don't even think about the seven day week as being arbitrary But of course it's biblical It's based on god creating the world in six days and then taking a day off the sabbath So it's it's new to the japanese
00:17:28people and the introduction of the seven day a week by the major governments actually rather confusing But gradually as children begin to go to school on a nationally mandated calendar they grow up thinking a seven day week is normal There's a generation gap Their parents can't figure out
00:17:45what this new strange thing is They think a six day week is normal and in the countryside and villages the cycle of work and play might actually be determined by old village tradition So you really get a period in which different people in different parts of japan are
00:18:00adapting to new ways of even knowing what time of day it is Now in terms of all these changes i mean are they all positive Is everybody benefiting from this You could argue that changes were positive insofar as they propelled japan and the japanese nation into the modern
00:18:20era if that is a value in itself But the thing is that societal changes off this magnitude inevitably produced deeply rooted social costs For example they existed a social syndrome off the socially withdrawn people called the your stay bitto translated in english It's like those who abandoned this
00:18:42life And if i may i just like to bring in my personal example ofthe thiss your stay bit ofthe person who was my great grandfather who having had to change his summer i job after losing the pension he became a supply off dairy products such as milk And
00:19:02essentially he simply could not cope with this all encompassing changes in the new era and decided to withdraw from this world by staying in his attic off the house for the rest of his life And so you could argue that this is the older version ofthe contemporary japanese
00:19:19social issue off key commodity which means acute social withdraw And so this kind of phenomenon existed you know in the early part ofthe modern modern japan Okay well as we've been hearing the major reforms affected all areas of japanese society on the increased contact with western imperial powers
00:19:40brought about by major led to some interesting combinations of old and new Here's david hughes from london's school of oriental and african studies to tell us how japanese music whether the changes if we look att music on the major period we can see a sort of development that
00:20:05relates to one the desire to be more international more or less western really but at the same time somehow to not give up on our own traditions Also in early major the government adopted a national curriculum for primary schools which included music classes because the intellectuals consider that
00:20:32understanding western culture needed to understand music as well Yeah So they decided that they must blend music in the school's eastern west somehow and already from eighteen eighty one they were writing on publishing new song books for use in elementary schools They were guided by an american music
00:21:03teacher who was visiting japan to help them with this which may be why in the first collection thirty of the thirty three songs or from the west except they wrote new lyrics and japanese cool Yeah Some of the foreign melodies chosen for the song books were pentatonic tools
00:21:29from scotland including the famous odd lang zain which was rewritten as hotel granoche carry the light of a firefly to give it a country flavor Hey no Every japanese those that song today it's still very popular Most of them know it came from scotland but many of them
00:21:53just think it's japanese Japan they decided they needed in national anthem The lyrics were in very formal japanese but they had these europeans writing the milady for their national anthem But after about ten years they decided that melody was much too western and this was one of the
00:22:14dilemmas they had How do we make this national anthem feel japanese So they rewrote it with a court music scale But they added western harmonies So today when you hear this national anthem it's called kimi ga hill It has a traditional japanese type melody but it has western
00:22:34harmonies added to it Ah David hughes an expert on japanese music from the school of oriental and african studies in london So having transformed itself into a modern nation state the empire of japan proceeds to expand and take over new territories which will hear about more in a
00:23:04moment with the benefit of hindsight We know by the time we reach world war to japan has overreached itself The wheels have come off this policy on the military are running amok committing all manner of brutality in the name of the emperor But now tell me how much
00:23:20was this expansion part of the plan from the beginning of the major restoration I think the most important thing to remember here is that the major leaders came largely from the warrior class a sweet bean talking throughout this program So this meant that the way they envisioned about
00:23:37japan's future focused quite a lot on security issues with the maintenance off You know sovereignty having primacy in their thinking now amongst orders you have just general yamagata who was it was called again law or elder statesman a very influential figure in the history ofthe modern japanese army
00:23:58And he is attributed with this famous geo strategic policy off the line off sovereignty and the line of interest and younger at the reasons basically there in order to to protect the line of sovereignty that is you know the home territories It was imperative to defend the line
00:24:18of interest that is japan's outlaying zone So the most interesting and fascinating thing about this concept or this policy is that this line of sovereignty grew with subsequent additions ofthe colonial positions and concessions correspondingly so too did the line of interest So it was a very kind of
00:24:38expandable notion that they could expand as much as the japanese empire wanted to expand What do you say Bar up There was certainly the idea in japan of population pressure There is this notion of we need to go beyond our shores Part of that is as now call
00:24:56was just telling us this fear In a sense They need security buffers and those security buffers keep moving But it's also inculcating a sense of manifest destiny to use that term in its own people that it now should have the mantle of power and authority in east asia
00:25:15Because the ching empire china is crumbling and it's japan who will show the light and lead the rest of east asia And this develops into a pan asian ideal which is popular among many strata of non japanese throughout east asia On the fact is mark that japan could
00:25:33realizes that if it doesn't respond in kind to what the western empire's doing it'll just be reduced to being a small country in east asia Colonize and dominated by western implies it's kind of prey or predator isn't it Absolutely for me one of the best ways of understanding
00:25:49just how dominant this idea of colonize or be colonized is during the major period is to think that when the major emperor takes the throne only ten percent of africa's colonized by the time they made you emperor dies ninety percent of africa's colonized So in fact as the
00:26:09major oligarchs look around the dominant the way of a nation acting in the world is to grab other people's countries and insists that you're doing it for their own good because they are less civilized than you are and they'll be better off if you guide them or to
00:26:25argue that someone else would do it so we're going to do it first So it actually had been extremely strange If the major government hadn't been imperial ist barack can tell us briefly about these early incursions very quickly Japan has designs on taiwan It sends a punitive force
00:26:44there in the early eighteen seventies with a very young national standing military army that it has They don't get taiwan actually from china until eighteen ninety five after the first santo japanese war But at the same time in between the eighteen seventies on eighteen ninety five japan is
00:27:02also eyeing korea Many of the japanese leadership feel that korea is a security risk It's a dagger pointed at the heart of japan because one can swoop down from russia one can come down through china and quickly then enter japan from the western shores and they want to
00:27:20bowl straight But they also feel after their own imposed unequal eighteen seventy six treaty with korea that korea needs to modernize and this begins to escalate Japan is certainly victorious at the end of the first sino japan eighteen ninety for nineteen ninety five war and it gains taiwan
00:27:39But because of western pressure it's forced to give back a portion of the territory it gained in northeast china So japan iss always somewhat wary of how the west is paying attention to it and it can't fully act unilaterally as it will in world war two So japan
00:27:57obviously had impressed the west with its military success in china But there was humiliation in the corridors of power as we just mentioned that tokyo have been forced to return some of the territories it only just gained So how could japan earn the respect of the west It's
00:28:12so desperately needed Here's what hayashi takasu the vice minister of foreign affairs wrote in an influential newspaper in june eighteen ninety five We must build ship ears for the repair of our vessels We must build steel works to provide us with guns and munitions Our railway network must
00:28:35be enlarged to enable us to carry out a speedy mobilization Obama troops our merchant fleet must be expanded to enable us to transport our army's overseas At present jeff must keep calm and sit tight so us too little suspicions natural against her doing This time the foundation's off
00:29:01Her national power must be consolidated and we must watch and wait for the opportunity in the orient That will surely come one day When this day arrives japan will decide her own fate and she will be able not only to put into their place the powers who seek
00:29:23the medal in her affairs she will even be able should be necessary to meddle in their affairs Marco This is quite prophetic Isn't what he says Indeed it isthe actually what we need to understand is what barack just mentioned about the triple intervention of eighteen ninety five which
00:29:46horse This joint of attempt made by france germany and russia to prevent japan from gaining the liaodong peninsula which is in north east china And this was supposed to have been handed over to japan according to the treaty off shimonoseki signed at the conclusion off the first sino
00:30:05japanese war of eighteen ninety five But russia has had interesting northeast china as well and felt threatened by the japanese expansion into the peninsula So japan faced this humiliation over its inability to obtain the peninsula and effectively set about a decade off concerted effort to strengthen his defense
00:30:26with a massive budget for the army and the navy and eventually confronted russia infirmary in nineteen o for which wasthe e start off the russell japanese war And of course this russell japanese for generated an enormous global interest a time the first war between you know small agen
00:30:48pie and a massive continental european park But of course the fact that the war was a limited war lasting a fairly short time One and a half years meant that japan was able to claim victory over russia and gained this peninsula and also gotten rid off the russian
00:31:06influence in korea so that japan was able to turn it into japanese protectorate in november nineteen o five and an exit a za colony in nineteen ten Over the next twenty years the democratic reforms that would begun with the restoration of eighteen sixty eight started to take shape
00:31:25And domestically with the economy booming i think more than quadrupled by the end of the first world war and consumerism is on the rise It's all going really well The emperor dies however In nineteen twenty six his son hirohito takes over where's it will go wrong Then mark
00:31:44the major constitution Its authors in some ways did not quite reconcile what their own mortality They created room for a parliament But they didn't give it that much power because they were unsure of what rambunctious elected commoners might do So they gave enormous power to the emperor which
00:32:04actually meant enormous power to the emperor's advisors and the empress advisor for the authors of the major constitution in the eighteen eighties So what happens is when that elite dies They manage one hand over to their proteges and then in the nineteen twenties there's an expanded sphere for
00:32:26elected officials But still the constitution really assumes there's going to be a narrow group of people controlling the emperor and he's going to have power So when the economy collapses and when you see the international rise of fascism as a model it's very hard for an elected democracy
00:32:44to sort of say we speak in the name for the emperor It's much easier for a group of military officers to stage a coup and in essence say we speak for the emperor Just the way in which a group of some rye who staged a revolution in eighteen
00:32:59sixty eight spoke for the emperor So we're now talking barack about japan That innocence is always becoming hooked on imperial expansion We can do about pearl harbor We know about nagasaki We can do about that those events But would it be right to say that the arrival the
00:33:16atomic bomb stopped japan's imperial ambitions Is that fair I think we have to remember that japan has been losing to u S forces in the pacific since the summer of nineteen forty two with the battle of midway and that is a big turning point and it continues to
00:33:34lose Japan itself is heavily bombed as we move into nineteen forty five on dh then the massive battle of okinawa as well The atomic bombs are a new horrific weapon used against civilians for the first time But it's not the only factor that causes japan to think about
00:33:55surrender It is also very late soviet entry into the war and the emperor himself is worried about losing it all literally losing the country itself That's psychologically pushes them over in a sense the edge to surrender It's important however perhaps to remember that the imperial rescript on surrender
00:34:15does not use the term surrender And the japanese generals in charge of the battlefields in china do not feel that japan has lost So attitudes really divide over what area we're looking to within the massive japanese empire at the end of august in nineteen forty five well there
00:34:34is a very famous speech with the war now over that the emperor recorded that was broadcast to the japanese people It was the first time that millions of japanese had heard their monarch speak to strive to the common prosperity and happiness off all nations as well as the
00:34:55security and well being over our subjects is the solemn obligation which has been handed down by our imperial ancestors on which lies close to our heart Indeed we declared war on america and britain out over a sincere desire to ensure japan self preservation on the stabilisation off east
00:35:19asia What it's being far from our thought either to infringe upon the sober innately off other nations or to embark upon territorial a grand this man But now the war has lasted for nearly four years Despite the best that has been done by everyone The worst situation has
00:35:42developed not necessarily to japan's advantage While the general trends of the world have all tongue against her interest e why didn't they are barack Is this then the end of the japanese empire the one that was launched one hundred fifty years ago by the major restoration I would
00:36:05say that it's the end of japan's physical empire and japan's imperial administrative authority and the racial hierarchy that hadn't imposed on large parts of east and southeast asia But the free son of the legacy of that empire lives on and that's something that will not dissipate for many
00:36:25years to come There is this theory that japan may have lost the war but in a sense they won the peace What's your take on this month A japanese colleague of mine once said Our grand parents tried to take over the world with an army and that didn't
00:36:38work And then our parents built this economic machine and they tried to buy the world And then with the nineteen eighty nine collapse of the bubble we discovered that that didn't work And so now we don't know So yes there's a way in which japan won The pieces
00:36:54became incredibly prosperous And it still is today even after not one lost decade but several lost decades Japan's really remarkably wonderful place to live unbelievably prosperous successful multiparty democracy So to that degree even with the bruce sting of the bubble and the end of that japanese model for
00:37:15the rest of the industrializing or industrialized world i suppose japan did win the peace I mean it has been an astonishing story from rise to fall to rise again after the war Before we finish i do want to ask what has the major restoration left us with not
00:37:31just japan but the whole world know what would you say The most interesting thing about the major restoration is thie regenerative path societies in times of change Major restoration was not the only time when japan went through a seemingly kind of whole sales recital change In modern times
00:37:52It takes place again at the end of second world war when japan surrenders unconditionally and the allied occupation forces come to create a new japan So i think that's something that's very interesting in trying to understand how societies some operate and how societies cope with must've disrupters in
00:38:13their own historical trajectory and to you mark japan in many ways took things that had been considered western good and bad and show that they could actually be moved anywhere in the world and arguably be done better So that sort of globalization of the benefits and the burdens
00:38:35of economic cultural political change it's actually the major restoration that proved that that could be a universal phenomenon and finally to you But what you say with the legacy of the major restoration i think like mark and now cho that the major restoration leaves us with an understanding
00:38:53about models for change and environments conducive to it and that societies don't have to remain static I think the legacy for me though is also to think about the tremendous role that individuals play within that change And if you can think and now conventions this the country youth
00:39:10or the dynamism but also the hour spent in study This is not an easy task at all and i have a lot of admiration for the individuals who were at their desks hour after hour thinking about how they could affect change That's a very comforting thought to think
00:39:28that change is still possible today but it requires a phenomenal amount of preparation It was an astonishing transformation Then we could talk about it for so much longer But that's all we got Time for now Thank you all so much for exploring the roots of modern japan with
00:39:44me No yoko shimazu barac kushner and mark trevena I'm rajan data and thanks for listening

Transcribed by algorithms. Report Errata
Disclaimer: The podcast and artwork embedded on this page are from BBC World Service, which is the property of its owner and not affiliated with or endorsed by Listen Notes, Inc.


Thank you for helping to keep the podcast database up to date.