Book Challenges Japan to Rethink Its Future

Alan Suemori
Special to The Hawai‘i Herald

In 1853, Commodore Matthew Perry swaggered into Tōkyō Bay, ushering in a new era of modernity that would change Japan forever. The shogun’s officials had never seen ships that could sail under their own power and when Perry disembarked, accompanied by a coterie of giant armed guards carrying the latest technological confections of the West, the Japanese were stunned. More importantly, Perry delivered an existential ultimatum that demanded open ports and free trade, setting the stage for the return of royal power and the collapse of the Tokugawa dynasty. The Meiji Restoration would ignite Japan’s love affair with all things Western, eventually consuming every aspect of the ancient kingdom in the volatile decades that followed.

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