Commerce and Culture at the 1910 Japan-British Exhibition: Centenary Perspectives

This volume, intended to complement Hotta-Lister's original 1999 study, marks the centenary of London's 1910 great Japan-British Exhibition, which was held at White City, Shepherd's Bush, and attracted over eight million visitors during its six-month stay. While the initiative came from Britain, the Japanese Government was the major source of funding for the Japanese side of the Exhibition. Using the Anglo-Japanese Alliance as its springboard, Japan - at the time a new colonial power - hoped to bring about a greater understanding of its cultures and traditions and thereby stimulate trade and commerce between the two countries. In the event, the Japanese press, unlike the British press, took umbrage at what they considered the trivialization of Japanese culture, thus in part frustrating the positive cultural, commercial and political outcomes that were hoped for. Eighteen months later, Emperor Meiji died and the Great War of 1914-18 followed soon after, thereby relegating the exhibition - its origins, composition, relevance and impact - to oblivion until recent times. The papers in this volume, therefore, drawn from four 'centenary conferences' held in London and Tokyo, offer an important spotlight on the exhibition's legacy - specifically in the contexts of commerce and culture. The contents include the following themes: The Exhibition and domestic conditions in Britain and Japan; the Exhibition and Japan's economic background; selling the 'backward' Japanese economy; imperialism and the Exhibition; the Japanese media and the Exhibition; the arts of Britain and Japan; Ainu in London; Japanese fine art; the human legacy; Japanese gardens. This book has wide inter-disciplinary relevance for students in modern East Asian Studies, but especially in the context of colonial and economic history, inter-cultural exchange and Anglo-Japanese relations.