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Rediscovering AmericaJapanese Perspectives on the American Century$
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Peter Duus

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780520268432

Published to California Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520268432.001.0001

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Modan America

Modan America

(p.87) Chapter 3 Modan America
Rediscovering America

Peter Duus

Kenji Hasegawa

University of California Press

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

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