2018 marks the 150th anniversary of the Meiji Restoration. The event, with which Japan ended its 250 years of seclusion policy in 1868, marks the beginning of a comprehensive process of social transformation in the country. It has entered into Japanese and world history as the beginning of the modernization and westernisation of Japan and has attracted considerable attention.
Japan became the model for a successful adaptation of Western institutions and concepts in the non-European world. “Learning from the West” appeared as a model for the success of modernization and development, and made Japan a “Western” country. The processes of the appropriation and rejection of Western models in Japan, which will be discussed at the conference, show patterns which can also be observed in modernization efforts in other countries, as well as the reaction of Western countries. The Meiji restoration and the functionalization of the West shall be analyzed against this broader background. Public lectures by prominent speakers will complement a more academically-oriented section at this symposium.