The relationship between modernization, Westernization, and national identity is a central question in the study of Meiji Japan. It forms a core component in works as diverse as Mark Ravina's The Last Samurai (Hoboken, N.J.: Wiley, 2005) on Saigō Takamori; Stefan Tanaka's New Times for Modern Japan (Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 2004), which examines time and modernization; and Gerald Figal's Civilization and Monsters (Durham, N.C.: Duke University Press, 1999), about the impact of modernization on folklore. David Wittner provides us with an examination of this issue from the perspective of technological choices and the materiality of civilization. In other words, he explains the mind-set of the Meiji oligarchy as it determined the path of progress. He makes the argument that all the things that historians have faulted the Meiji government for, such as inefficient use of finances, make perfect sense in the context of national pride and the pursuit...
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Book Review| May 01 2009
Technology and the Culture of Progress in Meiji Japan
Technology and the Culture of Progress in Meiji Japan. By David G. Wittner.
199pp. $150.00 (cloth).
Journal of Asian Studies (2009) 68 (2): 644–646.
Martha Chaiklin; Technology and the Culture of Progress in Meiji Japan. Journal of Asian Studies 1 May 2009; 68 (2): 644–646. doi: https://doi.org/10.1017/S0021911809001041
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