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Colin Barker


Origins and Significance of the Meiji Restoration

(February 1982)

Originally distributed 1982 as a mimeographed hand-out.
Copyright © Colin Barker 1982.
Published here in February 2019 by kind permission of the Estate of Colin Barker.
Transcribed by Colin Barker.
Marked up by Einde O’Callaghan for the Encyclopaedia of Trotskyism On-Line (ETOL).

This document originated as a student handout for a course at Manchester Polytechnic at the beginning of the 1980s. It contains a summary of the literature on the Meiji Restoration up to that date from a Marxist standpoint. Although much more literature has appeared since then, I believe that the summary given here is a valuable starting point. In addition, there are some interesting observations on the nature of pre-Restoration Japanese society and on the transition to capitalism that are of wider import.


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Last updated: 12 February 2020