Meiji at 150 Podcast

In the Meiji at 150 Podcast, host Tristan Grunow (UBC) interviews specialists of Japanese history, literature, art, and culture.  Topics covered will range from the position of the Meiji Restoration and Meiji Period in each scholar’s research, to how they view the significance of the Restoration in Japanese and global history, and finally to how they teach the Meiji Period in their classrooms.  Follow us to hear about the recent research of prominent scholars of Japan along with their pedagogical approaches to one of Japan’s most transformative periods.

Click here to view the Meiji at 150 Podcast Episode Guide

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Episode 105 – Dr. Miriam Wattles (University of California-Santa Barbara)


In this episode, Dr. Wattles sketches the political potential of artists and artistic production, from early manga artists in the Tokugawa period to activist artists today. We discuss early Meiji portraiture and changing women’s employments, editorial cartoons and manga critical of the government and society, and jail cartoons from an immigrant detention center outside Tokyo today.

Episode 104 – Dr. M. William Steele (International Christian University)


In this episode, Dr. Steele questions narratives of the Meiji success story by reviewing modern Japanese history from the bottom-up. We discuss how common people experienced and reacted to the events of the Restoration, locate lingering Edokko antipathy for the Meiji government along with sympathy for the Tokugawa, evaluate commoner agency in the Restoration, and finally review examples of resistance to Westernization.

Episode 103 – Dr. Catherine Phipps (University of Memphis)


In this episode, Dr. Phipps revisualizes the Meiji era through a global lens, complicating narratives of Meiji Japan “following” or “catching up” to the West and reinserting Japanese developments into global processes. We discuss recent commemorations of the Meiji Restoration sesquicentennial around the world, rediscover commercial ties between Japanese special trading ports and the Asian mainland, and question when Japan officially “opened.”

Episode 102 – Dr. Dan Orbach (Hebrew University of Jerusalem)


In this episode, Dr. Orbach revisits prewar Japanese military disobedience starting on the eve of the Meiji Restoration. We discuss the shishi of the Bakumatsu years, the Taiwan Expedition and samurai rebellions in the 1870s, the assassinations of Queen Min in 1895 and Zhang Zuolin in 1928, and finally the wave of domestic terror and military coups in the 1930s.

Episode 101 – Dr. Kirsten Ziomek (Adelphi University)


In this episode, Dr. Kirsten Ziomek highlights the diversity of the prewar Japanese empire by surveying native reactions to Japanese colonialism in four locations: Hokkaidō, Taiwan, Micronesia, and Okinawa. We discuss Japanese administrative adaptations to local conditions, the scholarly advantages of using non-traditional sources including oral interviews, pictures, and material objects, the agency of native colonial subjects, and imperial tours to Tokyo.


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Upcoming Guests:

Miriam Wattles (UCSB)

More to Come!

The Meiji at 150 Podcast is hosted, produced, and edited by Tristan Grunow, with editorial assistance from Joshua Linkous. All music is arranged and performed by Tristan Grunow. Website constructed and maintained by Tristan Grunow.