1st Edition

Commemorating Meiji History, Politics and the Politics of History

Edited By D.V. Botsman, Adam Clulow Copyright 2022
    124 Pages
    by Routledge

    124 Pages
    by Routledge

    2018 marked the 150th anniversary of Japan’s Meiji Restoration, a milestone that the government of Prime Minister Abe Shinzō has actively sought to highlight and celebrate. Whereas other studies have focused on the events of the Meiji Restoration itself, this volume reflects upon the politically charged history of commemorating Meiji, particularly in the twentieth century. This other history of Meiji remains largely unknown outside of Japan, even though it is particularly relevant in the aftermath of a wide range of government-sponsored celebrations marking the Meiji Sesquicentennial. At moments of official historical commemoration, it is natural enough to imagine a direct line linking the act of commemoration to the original event that is the ostensible focus of remembrance and celebration. In fact, the commemoration of Meiji today cannot be understood simply in terms of the relationship between the present and 1868, or even the longer Meiji period.

    The chapters in this volume highlight the politics of memory as they played out across a series of milestones over the twentieth century. Together they show the pressing need to look more closely at issues of commemoration as a key topic in their own right.

    The chapters in this book were originally published in Japanese Studies.

    1. Introduction - Commemorating Meiji: History, Politics and the Politics of History

    D. V. Botsman and Adam Clulow

    2. The Meiji Restoration and the Politics of Post-War Commemoration: 1968/2018

    D.V. Botsman

    3. The Empire Strikes Back? The 1968 Meiji Centennial Celebrations and the Revival of Japanese Nationalism

    Nick Kapur

    4. The 50th and 60th Anniversaries of the Meiji Restoration: Memory, Commemoration and Political Culture in the Pre-War Period

    Takagi Hiroshi (trans. D.V. Botsman)

    5. The Meiji Restoration as a Local Event: The Second Kiheitai in History and Memory

    Robert Hellyer

    6. The Meiji Restoration Seen from English-speaking Countries

    Anne Walthall

    7. Toba-Fushimi Revisited: Commemorating the Violence of the Restoration Moment

    D. Colin Jaundrill


    D.V. Botsman is Professor of History and former Chair of the Council of East Asian Studies at Yale University, and Focus Professor at Monash University. His publications include Punishment and Power in the Making of Modern Japan (2005) and Meiji 150 de kangaeru—Kindai ikōki no shakai to kūkan [Thinking Through "Meiji 150"—Society and Space in the Transition to Modernity], co-edited with Yoshida Nobuyuki and Tsukada Takashi in 2018. He is currently at work on a study of the meaning of freedom and emancipation in 19th century Japan.

    Adam Clulow is Associate Professor at the University of Texas at Austin and Adjunct Associate Professor at Monash University. He is the author of The Company and the Shogun: The Dutch Encounter with Tokugawa Japan (Columbia University Press, 2014) and Amboina, 1623: Fear and Conspiracy on the Edge of Empire (Columbia University Press, 2019). He is, most recently, the editor with Tristan Mostert of The Dutch and English East India Companies: Diplomacy, Trade and Violence in Early Modern Asia (Amsterdam University Press, 2018) and is the creator of The Amboyna Conspiracy Trial (www.amboyna.org) and the Virtual Angkor (www.virtualangkor.com) projects.

    "Commemorating Meiji will be of interest to historians and those considering monuments and memorials, as well as commemorative events and their impact on history. Overall, each chapter makes a significant, nuanced contribution to an emerging and growing field."
    -Alison J. Miller, Royal Studies Journal