World War II established in the public mind a Japan that was militaristic and expansionist. In the decades around 1900 Japan was moving towards democracy and constitutional monarchy. It took a series of assassinations and coups for the military to take control. Here’s a series of histories and memoirs from contemporary Japanese writers.
I was one of the first Japanese to visit foreign lands, and was able to do so only by stealth, escaping to Shanghai in 1863. The country was only just opened to foreign intercourse, and Japanese subjects were not yet allowed to leave the country. By Ito Hirobumi, Prime Minister.
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