1st Edition

Reflections of the Japanese Education System in Britain A Modern Utopia? 1858-1914

By Mari Hiraoka Copyright 2025
    256 Pages 26 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    This book explores British reflections of Japanese education between 1858 and 1914, by referring to accounts by British observers, derived from documentary sources such as newspapers, journal articles, published books and official reports. Hiraoka argues that British attitudes and comments on Japanese education reflect concerns about their own education system. International economics and politics of the time, as well as the voices of the Japanese, are also taken into account.

    British interpretations of the advantages of Japanese education are explained with two seemingly contradictory views: traditions inherited in Japan, and modern institutions newly introduced using the Western model. The book illustrates how this dual view of Japan affected the rise and fall of British interest in Japanese education over half a century. It also explores a broad range of phenomena – educational reforms, legislation and practice, science networks, exhibitions, international trade, and military affairs – to observe how Japanese education was viewed by the British. It consults a wide range of primary sources, most of which are published or digitally archived.

    Shedding new light on the transnational history of the educational relationship between Japan and Britain, this book will be an attractive base for future researchers in the fields of history of education, cultural history, and comparative education.

    0. Introduction 1. Old and New Japanese Education, 1858-1880s  2. Oyatoi Teachers and the Science Circles in Britain, 1870s-1880s  3. Japanese Education at the International Health Exhibition (1884) and the Issues of Technical Education in Britain  4. ‘Yellow Peril?’ Images of Japanese Commercial Education, 1890s-c.1900  5. ‘The Soul of a Nation’: Japanese Education as the Secret of National Strength, 1904-1910  6. Educational Interests and Decline in Attention, 1907-1914


     Mari Hiraoka completed her PhD in Education at the Institute of Education, University of London UK. She currently is Professor of Glocal Communication at Seisa University and History of Education at the Doctoral School, Japan. She has also been teaching at Seisa University Graduate School since 2023.