Masao Miyoshi describes Japan’s experiences with the West during the Meiji period

from 1868 to 1912, when Japan opened up to the rest of the world after over 200

years of self-imposed isolation, as a ‘nearly colonial encounter’.1 While other coun-

tries were experiencing colonial domination as a consequence of having been taken

over against their will, with new settlers imposing their way of life, Japan in the late

nineteenth century requested and commissioned Western-style industrialisation, mili-

tarisation, education and architecture, employing experts from Britain and elsewhere

to facilitate the desired changes. As a result, new concepts were introduced and

assimilated, in such a way that, as Yuko Kikuchi has pointed out,

Japanese cultural nationalism was heavily dependent on Occidental ideas.