Japan and the rise of the idea of race: The meiji era fusion of foreign and domestic constructions

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


The notion of race, and notably the anxiety over the global hierarchy of the races alongside doubts about the capacity for survival of the Japanese 'race', were a matter of unprecedented concern in Meiji era Japan. It was essentially a mere chance that the forced opening of Japan and the subsequent process of modernization carried out according to the Western model coincided with the rise of scientific racism in the West. Nonetheless, Japan had had its share of rudimental racial worldviews much earlier, including a certain degree of ethnographic knowledge of the Other and an indigenous sense of xenophobia. This chapter seeks to examine the interaction between the domestic and foreign views of race in Japan during the Meiji-era (1868-1912) and the way in which they amalgamated to form a national discourse surrounding self and the Other.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationSocial Commentary on State and Society in Modern Japan
PublisherSpringer Singapore
Number of pages18
ISBN (Electronic)9789811023958
ISBN (Print)9789811023941
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2016

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2016. All rights are reserved.


  • Blood purity
  • Meiji era Japan
  • Modernization
  • National identity
  • Race
  • Racism
  • Westernization

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Arts and Humanities


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