Art & Design

Book Launch: Japan Story: In Search of a Nation, 1850 to the Present

31 October 2018, London

As Japan celebrates 150 years since the Emperor Meiji entered his new capital – ‘Tokyo’ – in the autumn of 1868, Christopher Harding explores the modern nation’s extraordinary powers of radical reinvention, then and since. Japan Story looks too at a surprisingly wide range of people who were opposed to what they thought that Japanese modernity was becoming, at various points across this long and eventful period. Their lives and activism – from protest painting to mental health, citizens’ groups to anime and the avant-garde – make up a still under-appreciated modern Japanese tradition of resisting mainstream visions of the country’s identity and future.


In the 1850s and 1860s, that identity was crafted by a clique of rebel samurai, set upon building a modernized nation under a restored Emperor. After World War Two, it was the work of an American Occupation and then an ‘iron triangle’ of elite politicians, government bureaucrats and big business – reinventing Japan as an economic superpower in time for the 1964 Tokyo Olympics. Today, in the wake of 2011’s triple catastrophe of earthquake, tsunami and nuclear incident, and as Japan prepares to host the 2020 Olympics, Harding asks whether a third great transformation may be on the way and whose vision for the country will win out.



Free but booking is essential.

31 October 2018, 6:00pm
Daiwa Foundation Japan House, 13/14 Cornwall Terrace, Outer Circle, London NW1 4QP

Tel:020 7486 4348

The Daiwa Anglo-Japanese Foundation