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Fathil, Fauziah (2006) British diplomatic perceptions of modernisation and change in early Meiji Japan, 1868-90. PhD thesis. SOAS University of London. DOI: https://doi.org/10.25501/SOAS.00028679

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Abstract

In studying foreign images, it is generally necessary to examine the views of relevant actors, and few, if any, actors are more relevant than diplomats as they are directly related to foreign diplomacy or relations between countries. While many works have been written on popular images of Meiji Japan as perceived by Western visitors, very few have so far touched on images of Meiji Japan as viewed by British diplomats. Using mainly archive materials, this thesis aims to study British diplomatic views of political, economic and social change in Japan during the crucial early stages of that country's modernisation in the first half of the Meiji period. The thesis examines various patterns of diplomatic views as they witnessed the different changes that took place in Meiji Japan, most notably the diversity of views and images of the modernisation of the country. In addition, the thesis also addresses the question of whether British diplomatic views of Japan fit an 'Orientalist' interpretation of Western superiority and Oriental inferiority as popularized by Edward Said. Nevertheless, instead of discussing the issue of 'Orientalism' in depth, this thesis only attempts to test the validity of the Said's theory based on the views held by British diplomats. Given the various changing aspects of Meiji Japan covered in this work, it is hoped that this thesis will help to contribute to the study of Meiji Japan and the history of images of Japan in Western minds. And, since the diplomats' views and attitudes were based on close observation of contemporary conditions and often reflected the opinions of Japanese leaders, it is also hoped that this investigation will help to illuminate the background of British diplomacy and thus assist in providing a fuller understanding of British policy towards Meiji Japan.

Item Type: Theses (PhD)
SOAS Departments & Centres: SOAS Research Theses > Proquest
DOI (Digital Object Identifier): https://doi.org/10.25501/SOAS.00028679
Date Deposited: 16 Oct 2018 15:00
URI: https://eprints.soas.ac.uk/id/eprint/28679

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