Conducts research and collects data on the global history of labour, workers, and labour relations

Industrializing Japan

21 February 1855
Japan-USA-Treaty of Peace and Amity
Wikimedia Commons

The Treaty of Peace and Amity between the US and Japan, ratified on 21 February 1855, opened up Japanese ports to the United States. The new Meiji leaders decided that in order to avoid becoming dependent on foreign powers, as happened with China, the nation ought to become rich and strong by adopting western technology and ideas. This decision had far-reaching consequences for cross-cultural migrations also, as it stimulated migration to foreign countries and migration from rural areas to cities within Japan. As in 19th century Europe, modernization greatly stimulated the decision to go and find (temporary) work in industrializing cities as well as abroad. Most of the Japanese migrants came from prefectures with maritime communities.

Read more? Leo Lucassen, Osamu Saito and Ryuto Shimada, 'Cross-cultural migrations in Japan in a comparative perspective' in: Globalising Migration History (Leiden 2014)