For Japan's survival: A reconsideration of the Myth of Shiga Shigetaka (1863-1927) as a conservative intellectual

Masako Gavin

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[Extract] The late 1880s saw"an upsurge in ideological activity" in Japan.1 Widespread media coverage of the unequal treaties had contributed to a sense of national humiliation and increased public
awareness of Japan's situation. The treaties which were signed at the
end of feudal period with the Western powers without obtaining the
imperial permission ended the 270 years of self-imposed agrarian seclusion and forced Japan into free trade at selected ports with the tariff
autonomy waived. They were also unequal because the U.S. had extraterritorial privileges and treatment as a most favored nation. As well as economic conflict and increased tension towards the West,
this resulted in a strengthening of reverence for the Emperor. Negotiations were held by the Ministers of Foreign Affairs, Terashima
Munenori (1833-1893), Inoue Kaoru (1835-1915), and Okuma
Shigenobu (1838-1922), but all in vain. Inoue proposed to offer the
establishment of mixed courts, whereby a certain number of foreign
judges would sit on the Japanese bench, further willing to make concessions on what the Japanese called naichi zakkyo (mixed residence); it
would open the whole country for foreigners to reside, to own property, and to carry on trade in the interior. 2 The second generation of the
Meiji, who had received "Westem"education, such as Shiga Shigetaka
(1863-1927), criticized the government's indiscriminate Westernization
of Japan and its spineless attitude to the Western powers.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5-27
Number of pages23
JournalEast Asia
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 1999


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