Japan's Emergence as a Modern State: Political and Economic Problems of the Meiji Period


302 pages
Contains Index
ISBN 0-7748-0822-5
DDC 952.03'1





Edited by Lawrence T. Woods
Reviewed by Patricia Morley

Patricia Morley is professor emerita of English and Canadian Studies at
Concordia University and an avid outdoor recreationist. She is the
author of several books, including The Mountain Is Moving: Japanese
Women’s Lives, Kurlek and Margaret Laurence: T


This classic work by an important Japanologist was originally published
in 1940 by the Institute of Pacific Relations (IPR). As valuable now as
then, it examines the problems and accomplishments of the Meiji Era,
1868–1912. This 60th anniversary edition is edited by Lawrence Woods,
a professor of international studies at the University of Northern
British Columbia and past president of the Japan Studies Association of

E. Herbert Norman (1909–57) was born and raised in Japan as the son
of Canadian missionaries. As a member of the Canadian Department of
External Affairs and part of the Allied Occupation team, he was posted
to Japan, 1940–42, and returned there in 1946. Later, hounded by
Senator Joseph McCarthy as a communist sympathizer, he committed suicide
while posted to Egypt as ambassador.

Japan’s Emergence as a Modern State explores the roots of modern
Japan through this critical period. The ongoing repression of the common
people was managed through sanctioned violence, collaboration with big
business, and politicization of the civil service and military. The
central government was presented as the savior of national interests.
This anniversary issue includes 10 new essays (by Canadian, American,
and Japanese scholars) on Norman’s work and life. There is a new
preface, an introduction by the editor, and new forewords by three other
scholars. Norman places the Japanese experience in a broad perspective
based on a thorough analysis of modern Japanese history and on what the
editor calls “the emergence of modernity itself.” Woods and his
colleagues are struck more by the similarities than by the differences
between the concerns of Canada and Japan. Norman’s work remains of
primary importance in understanding contemporary Japan.


Norman, E. Herbert., “Japan's Emergence as a Modern State: Political and Economic Problems of the Meiji Period,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed July 24, 2024, https://cbra.library.utoronto.ca/items/show/8639.