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Thomas Glover: The Scotsman Who Helped Meiji Japan ModernizeHarano Jōji

In July 2015, UNESCO newly inscribed 23 facilities symbolizing Japan’s industrial modernization during the Meiji era (1868–1912) as World Cultural Heritage sites. Scattered across eight prefectures, the historical sites include Gunkanjima, or “Battleship Island” (the Hashima Coal Mine), and the Takashima Coal Mine in Nagasaki Prefecture and the Imperial Steel Works in Fukuoka Prefecture. All are c…

When Japonism Bewitched EuropeWatanabe Hirotaka

Today art from Japan has worldwide cultural impact and is a familiar part of the global artistic scene. Up through the early modern era, though, Japanese art was a bolt from the blue—something entirely new to viewers overseas, who saw it as something fresh and surprisingly sophisticated. This was the dawn of Japonism.

“Chinese” Writing in East Asia (Part Two)Wang Min

(Continued from part one.) In the middle of the nineteenth century, with the Western powers encroaching further into East Asia, Japan decided to open itself to the outside world. A process of Westernization and modernization rapidly ensued. When Japan entered the ranks of the world powers following victories in the Sino-Japanese War of 1894–95 and the Russo-Japanese War of 1904–5, people in China…

The Japanese Language

What does the international dominance of English mean for “minor” languages like Japanese? Novelist and critic Mizumura Minae discusses the development of Japanese as a national language and its prospects for survival in an age of English-language hegemony. (Interviewed by Kōno Michikazu.)

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