At the heart of the monograph lies a structural contradiction inherent in the e orts of Meiji Japan to incorporate itself into a global economy. e book traces two moves of government. Japanese peasants were o ered to the global market by government-sponsored migration to work the plantations of Hawaii and Australia as ‘free labourers’ from the mid-1880s. Simultaneously, the Japanese government attempted to implement laws to prevent Japanese women going abroad and ‘making do’ as itinerate vagrants and prostitutes. is double move was driven by two contradictory ends. One aim was the quest for ‘freedom’ crystallized around government e orts to promote Japanese trade and industry in a global economy and to secure the ‘free’ movement of Japanese labourers to places of work abroad in the face of race restrictions placed on coloured labourers in North America, colonial Australia and Dutch East Indies to name a few locations. e other governmental aim was ‘restrictions’, which coalesced around administrative endeavours to demarcate acceptable and unacceptable forms of work that the Japanese could pursue abroad: a peasant woman could accept work as a cook or domestic servant but not as a sex worker.