Fall 2019 - HIST 206 D100

Japan Since 1868 (3)

Class Number: 4968

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    Sep 3 – Dec 2, 2019: Mon, 12:30–2:20 p.m.

  • Exam Times + Location:

    Dec 12, 2019
    Thu, 12:00–3:00 p.m.



A survey of Japanese history from 1868 until 1952 which will examine, among other topics, the establishment of the Japanese colonial empire, the wars with Russia, China and the United States, and the post-war Allied Occupation. Breadth-Humanities.


The History of Modern Japan

The History of Modern Japan offers a broad survey of Japanese history from the mid- nineteenth century through 1952, focusing on the major political, social, cultural and economic changes that followed in the wake of the Meiji Restoration of 1868. We will also examine the historical contexts that gave rise to the Meiji Restoration, including the nature of Tokugawa society and governance and the Tokugawa shogunate’s response to the intrusion of Western imperial powers. Questions that we will consider include: Why was Japan was able to modernize and industrialize as rapidly as it did? What weight should be given internal and external forces in explaining this rapid change? What were the social and political consequences of Japan’s rapid development? Why did a nation that had itself experienced the pressure of Western imperialism embark on a course of imperial expansion? And what led Japan to commit the resources it had developed at great cost to a war that would prove to be the single most destructive venture that it had ever undertaken? Topics include the nature of the Meiji Constitution and the structure    of Meiji government, Meiji imperialism, the role of women in Japan’s industrialization, Taisho democracy, the impact of the Pacific War on Japan and on other Asian nations, and the Allied Occupation.



  • Participation 20%
  • In-class Writing Assignments 30%
  • Midterm Exam 25%
  • Final Exam 25%



Andrew Gordon, A Modern History of Japan from Tokugawa Times to the Present, 4th ed. (Oxford University Press, 2019).

Assigned articles and materials available through Canvas or SFU Library databases.

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