History / Asia / Japan
History / Military / Naval
Political Science / International relations / Diplomacy
In fifteen short years from 1853 to 1868, Japan's collision with the countries of Europe and America destroyed the old feudal system and replaced it with an embryonic democracy under the benevolent eye of the Emperor. Here is the fascinating and at times, bloody, story of those years.
Discover why the Emperor was - and is - revered by the Japanese.
Find out how the shōguns had taken power from the Emperors.
Learn why many Japanese resented the Treaties they had signed with the West.
Encounter the enthusiastic and frequently dishonest trade between rapacious merchants—Japanese and Western—in the fledgling port of Yokohama.
Uncover how the brutal death of a young Englishman was the start of decisive action by the Royal Navy.
Observe how the straights of Shimonoseki were kept open by a great punitive expedition by western gunboats under Royal Naval command.
See calm diplomacy on both sides leading to the normalisation of relations between Japan and the West and the establishment of friendly trading and cultural relations.
Above all, enter into the heady ferment of the bakumatsu as two great worldviews clash.