Manjirō and the Transformation of Japan

Room 136 Doudna Hall

Japan’s revolutionary transformation into a global power along a Westernized, industrial path, beginning in the 1860s with the Meiji Restoration, has been well documented. What has largely been forgotten about that process, however, is the vital role played by a remarkable Japanese named Manjirō. Born into a poor family in a small, isolated village, Manjirō became in the 1840s the first Japanese to live in the United States, and his knowledge of the West eventually proved crucial in Japan’s response to Western encroachment in the mid- to late-19th century. 

To explore how Manjirō became such an important – yet forgotten – figure in both Japan’s adoption of Western ways and technologies as well as its relationship to the United States, UW-Platteville’s College of Liberal Arts and Education will present a faculty forum, “Manjirō and the Transformation of Japan,” on Thursday, Dec. 7 in Room 136 Doudna Hall from 5-6:30 p.m.

At the forum, Dr. Adam Stanley, professor of history at UW-Platteville, will use the incredible true story of Manjirō’s experiences to illuminate the monumental changes that swept Japan in the 19th century.

Following Stanley’s discussion, Dr. Amanda Tucker, associate professor of English at UW-Platteville, will discuss the writing of Helen Waddell, which offers another important—but forgotten—perspective on the opening up of Japan during the Meiji period.

The forum is free and open to university students, faculty, staff and community members. Refreshments will be served.

The LAE Faculty Forum Series, a program instituted in the fall of 2004, is sponsored by UW-Platteville’s College of LAE. The purpose of the forum is to allow faculty to present information in their research areas. Presenters tailor their presentations to a general audience.