The guiding slogan of Meiji Japan was creation of a “rich country, strong military” capable of resisting the pressure of the expansionist Western powers. Central to accomplishing this was the introduction of advanced technology and promotion of rapid industrialization. The images here offer impressionistic highlights of Japan’s accomplishments in these areas, which led to the nation’s unexpected emergence as one of the world’s major powers by the turn of the century.
Each of these areas of technological innovation and rapid industrialization could provide a rich subject for visual illustration in and of itself. As it transpired, much of Japan’s early accomplishments in the area of heavy industry were explicitly war-related—a subject addressed in parts two and three of the Throwing Off Asia I Essay. The economic and industrial infrastructures that made modern warfare possible were integral to Japanese understanding of what successful “Westernization” entailed.