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Japan, 1853-1912

5. Foreign Policy

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About this Lecture


In this module we think about how the Meiji state managed to extricate themselves from the Unequal Treaties, and their development into a nation that was to be taken seriously by the Western powers.


In this course Dr Andrew Cobbing (University of Nottingham) explores Japan in the 19th century. We begin by thinking about what Japan was like under the Tokugawa shogunate, focusing in particular on the main social, economic and cultural developments from the early 17th century. In the second module, we think about Western intervention in Japan – why did the Tokugawa regime collapse so quickly after the arrival of Commodore Matthew Perry in 1853? In the following four modules, we look in turn at four key themes in the history of later 19th-century Japan: nationalism, modernisation, foreign policy and imperialism.


Andrew Cobbing is Associate Professor in History at the University of Nottingham. His research focuses on cultural relations between Japan and the West with particular reference to the experience of samurai travellers and the diaries they kept during their explorations abroad. His recent publications include Kyushu, gateway to Japan: a cultural history (2009) (as editor) and Hakata: the cultural worlds of northern Kyushu (2013).

Cite this Lecture

APA style

Cobbing, A. (2018, August 15). Japan, 1853-1912 - Foreign Policy [Video]. MASSOLIT.

MLA style

Cobbing, A. "Japan, 1853-1912 – Foreign Policy." MASSOLIT, uploaded by MASSOLIT, 15 Aug 2018,