The restoration hasn’t gone completely unmarked, at least in Kyushu. I noticed a big poster at Narita Airport the other week using the anniversary to advertise flights to Saga Prefecture — you can see it towards the bottom of this page:

https://www.lccstyle.com/news/23183

And the anniversary was all over Kagoshima when I went there last December; see http://www.meijiishin150countdown.com

Best wishes,

Jonathan Lewis
Hitotsubashi University

On Jul 1, 2018, at 7:11, Peter Duus <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

 
An interesting question.  Back in 1968, the 100th anniversary year, the government ran a public opinion survey asking what event had been the most important or most significant historical event in the past century.  A majority of respondents said the defeat in 1945 -- not the Meiji Restoration.
 
Defeat was not only an event that most adults could remember, it was one that had a direct and positive impact in shaping the Japan they lived in.  The Meiji Restoration was not, at least in the same immediate way, and many regarded it as an event that set Japan on the path to ultranationalism, imperialist expansion, and nationalist disaster rather than democracy and burgeoning economic prosperity. Certainly that was the emphasis in history textbooks during the late 1950s and 1960s.
 
The Meiji Restoration never seems to have caught on in popular cultural imagination the way the French or American Revolution have in their cultures.  There never has been a Meiji Restoration Day with parades and fireworks as there has been a Bastille Day or a Fourth of July. And it is difficult to think of major literary works (except for Shiba Ryotaro's popular historical novels) -- or even movies -- about it.
 
NHK occasionally pays attention to the Restoration in its Sunday evening taigai drama series.  Not surprisingly,the first time was in 1968 with Sakamoto Ryoma as hero. He shows up as central character in one or two later ones too. So do Katsu Kaishu, Tokugawa Yoshinobu, and Saigo Takamori (this year's hero).. But these TV dramas are less about the founding of modern Japan than about patriotic heroism in a rather simple-minded way,.
 
Peter Duus
From: Richard Katz <[log in to unmask]> 
Sent: Friday, June 29, 2018 10:34 PM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: [NBR's_Japan_Forum] Why no celebration of Meiji Restoration 150th anniversary?
 
One day, a few  months back, I suddenly realized it was the 150th anniversary of the Meiji Restoration and yet I had heard nothing of any kind of commemoration or celebration in Japan. To me, it seems the founding of modern Japan, on a par with, say, the French Revolution for France. I’ve asked a few friends and they tell me that there are different views about its merits and demerits, that it just one of a number of milestones in Japanese history, etc They did not exhibit any of the emotional attachment that attaches to me that the American or French Revolutions have for their citizens—despite all the legitimate controversies that apply to these events, particularly the reign of terror. I don’t know enough about the UK or Italy or Germany to compare.
An interesting question.  Back in 1968, the 100th anniversary year, the government ran a public opinion survey asking what event had been the most important or most significant historical event in the past century.  A majority of respondents said the defeat in 1945 -- not the Meiji Restoration.
 
Defeat was not only an event that most adults could remember, it was one that had a direct and positive impact in shaping the Japan they lived in.  The Meiji Restoration was not, at least in the same immediate way, and many regarded it as an event that set Japan on the path to ultranationalism, imperialist expansion, and nationalist disaster rather than democracy and burgeoning economic prosperity. Certainly that was the emphasis in history textbooks during the late 1950s and 1960s.
 
The Meiji Restoration never seems to have caught on in popular cultural imagination the way the French or American Revolution have in their cultures.  There never has been a Meiji Restoration Day with parades and fireworks as there has been a Bastille Day or a Fourth of July. And it is difficult to think of major literary works (except for Shiba Ryotaro's popular historical novels) -- or even movies -- about it.
 
NHK occasionally pays attention to the Restoration in its Sunday evening taigai drama series.  Not surprisingly,the first time was in 1968 with Sakamoto Ryoma as hero. He shows up as central character in one or two later ones too. So do Katsu Kaishu, Tokugawa Yoshinobu, and Saigo Takamori (this year's hero).. But these TV dramas are less about the founding of modern Japan than about patriotic heroism in a rather simple-minded way,.
 
I’d love to hear from experts about why this is the case, about how it is taught in the schools, etc.
 
Richard Katz


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