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    Legro, Jeffrey W. 2009. The Plasticity of Identity under Anarchy. European Journal of International Relations, Vol. 15, Issue. 1, p. 37.

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  • Print publication year: 1989
  • Online publication date: March 2008

7 - Japan's turn to the west

Summary
Japan woke up from two hundred years of national isolation in the last half of the nineteenth century to realize one goal: the establishment of a modern nation-state, and symbolizing the country's turn to the West. Chinese books, including Chinese translations of Western works, were imported every year from Ch'ing China. The travels of the superintendent of the Nagasaki outpost of the Dutch East India Company enabled conveying of information to Japanese doctors and astronomers, thus facilitating direct contact with representatives of European civilization. With an eighty-year history of Dutch studies behind them, many Japanese grew dissatisfied with relying solely on books to learn about the West. The travels of Yoshida Shoin and Niijima Jo were a part of the late Tokugawa phenomenon, an urge to experience the West directly. Japan's use of foreign employees in late Tokugawa and early Meiji times presents an interesting and useful perspective on the larger "turn to the West" policy.
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The Cambridge History of Japan
  • Online ISBN: 9781139055093
  • Book DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/CHOL9780521223560
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