Empire and Alienation: The 20th Century in Japan

History 118C

Spring 2014
Day & Time: 
MW 4-530P
After nearly two centuries of decline, China is quickly resuming its former position as the political, economic, and cultural center of East Asia. During the interim, that position was held by Japan. Having become the first non-Western society to successfully modernize itself in the late nineteenth century, twentieth-century Japan emerged as a fully modern power that exerted a transformative influence on East Asia and the world. After a brief overview of Japan’s nineteenth-century modernization, we will survey Japan’s twentieth-century history from the 1905 Russo-Japanese War through the Interwar, Pacific War, and Cold War periods. Special attention will be given to the particular forms of capitalism, imperialism, colonialism, fascism, democracy, and modernism that emerged as a result of Japan’s historical path to modernity. Taking a broader view, we will also assess the permanent imprints Japanese modernity has left on East Asia and the world.

Course Books

A Modern History of Japan: From Tokugawa Times to the Present (Third Edition) by Andrew Gordon Oxford University Press. ISBN: 978-0199930159 Required