Modern Japan: 1868 to Present

A kneeling woman, wearing a colorful kimono, fastens the sandle of another woman, also wearing a colorful kimono, who stands above her.

“On Tōkaidō Highway,” ca. 1872. This image is in the public domain.


MIT Course Number


As Taught In

Spring 2017



Cite This Course

Course Description

Course Features

Course Description

This course surveys Japanese history from the establishment of the Tokugawa shogunate in 1603 to the present and explores the local and global nature of modernity in Japan. It highlights key themes, including the emergence of a modern nation-state, the rise and fall of the Japanese Empire, the development of mass consumer culture and the middle class, and the continued importance of historical memory in Japan today.

Related Content

Hiromu Nagahara. 21H.155 Modern Japan: 1868 to Present. Spring 2017. Massachusetts Institute of Technology: MIT OpenCourseWare, License: Creative Commons BY-NC-SA.

For more information about using these materials and the Creative Commons license, see our Terms of Use.