The Global Asia Research Center holds a special online workshop by Jordan Sand, Professor of Japanese History at Georgetown University.

Title: Meiji-Taisho Japan and ‘Bourgeois Culture’

Lecturer:Jordan Sand (Professor of Japanese History, Georgetown University)

Date & time:July 27(Tue) 2021, 13:00-15:00


Eligible participant: students, faculty members and public.

Contact: globalasia-office [at]


Marx famously wrote in the Communist Manifesto that “the bourgeoisie have subjected the country to the rule of the towns.” In capitalist countries, social and cultural modernization, together with economic modernization, were driven by the bourgeoisie. But who were “the bourgeoisie”? Early Japanese translators of Marx had trouble deciding. The problem of definition persisted through much of the twentieth century. Yet after the 1970s, as Japan appeared to be on the road to becoming a classless society, and Marxist historiography fell out of favor, the entire question of class in history was forgotten. This presentation will argue for reconsidering the concept of class as a tool for cultural history. It will show how changes in the family, in domestic space, and in urban space during the Meiji and Taisho periods can be understood through the lens of “bourgeois culture.”