chapter  3
The British Role in the Meiji Restoration: A Re-interpretive Note
Pages 20

IT IS AN HISTORICAL commonplace that the renewal of Western diplomatic contact with Japan, after the Tokugawa seclusion, seriously disturbed the Japanese political system, and contributed to the Meiji Restoration. Undoubtedly foreign demands for commercial and diplomatic privileges, combined with the presence of warships and military garrisons, cut sharply into the minds of all politically conscious Japanese, and added to the bitterness of internal conflict. But in the past numerous historians have gone much further than these general statements, and drawn far more specific conclusions about the policies and impact of Britain in these crucial years.