Philadelphia, America, and ‘the West’ in Meiji Japan

5 pm Keynote Address
“Philadelphia, America, and ‘the West’ in Meiji Japan”

Jordan Sand (Georgetown University)

What did Japanese who visited Philadelphia for the exposition of 1876 think of what they saw? This was the high period of “Civilization and Enlightenment” in Japan, commonly thought of as a time when Japanese adulated everything Western. So we might expect that they were awed and sought to imitate the United States. But the place of America and the West generally in the Meiji cultural universe was more complex than this. Focusing on architecture and public spectacle, this lecture will examine the perceptions and manipulations of Western-ness in Meiji elite and popular culture.

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