The Emperor’s New Clothes: Transforming 19th Century Japan

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An exhibition celebrating the 150th anniversary of the Meiji Restoration in Japan. This exhibition has been created by students studying for the MA in Museum and Artefact Studies at Durham University.

An exhibition celebrating the 150th anniversary of the Meiji Restoration in Japan. The Meiji Restoration in 1868 was a major turning point in Japanese history.

It marked the beginning of decades of extraordinarily rapid and momentous change. Japan had been a mainly agricultural country with little technological development. It had largely isolated itself from the outside world for the previous 200 years. The new regime expelled the military government that had controlled the island and restored direct rule to the 15 year old Emperor. The young Emperor was advised that the only way to establish Japan as a world power was to adopt Western systems of government, military, industry, trade, and even clothing.

This exhibition explores how Japan transformed into the modern nation we see today through the use of artefacts, woodblock prints and images from the Meiji Era. It also explores the lasting impact of the Meiji Restoration on Japanese economic and technological success, as well as the relations between Japan and the North East between the 19th and the 20th centuries.

Venue: Oriental Museum

The Emperor’s New Clothes: Transforming 19th Century Japan

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