Chapter

<i>Modan</i> America

Peter Duus and Kenji Hasegawa

in Rediscovering America

Published by University of California Press

Published in print January 2011 | ISBN: 9780520268432
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520950375 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1525/california/9780520268432.003.0004
Modan America

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This chapter discusses how the Japanese viewed the outside world after the victory of America and its allies in World War I. It reports that the war “to make the world safe for democracy” had toppled the autocratic regimes such as imperial Germany, which Meiji leaders had sought as models, and had thrust the United States to the front of the world stage. The chapter points out that America had become a cultural, economic, and diplomatic force which had to be reckoned with as never before, and notes that it was no accident that in 1918, the year the war ended, the first professorial chair in American studies was established at Tokyo Imperial University. It observes that although naive notions of America as a republic of virtue had faded, the political values associated with American democracy—individualism, equality, freedom, public debate, and fair play—still attracted intellectuals across a wide spectrum.

Keywords: World War I; democracy; autocratic regimes; Germany; Meiji leaders; American studies; Tokyo Imperial University

Chapter.  17224 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: History of the Americas

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