With these stirring lines Takekoshi Yosaburō opened the preface to the 1893 edition of his Shin Nihonshi {History of New Japan). It is difficult to imagine a more enthusiastic celebration of the Meiji Restoration than one likening it to the epochal founding of the Chou dynasty. Yet those who read beyond the confident affirmation of the preface soon encountered a rising note of anxiety, concern, even alarm in the pages that followed. For it was clear that however highly Takekoshi regarded the ideals of the “great revolution of the Restoration,” he also saw them in jeopardy. “Today,” he wrote, “slightly more than twenty years since the Restoration, the general public has begun to tread the path of unrighteousness. Ministers in power err in their policies, and those in opposition err in their views, and together both make pronouncements that give comfort only to themselves. That is why the author has taken up his brush in indignation to narrate a general outline of the changing times since the Restoration.” The revolution, in short, was a revolution betrayed, or at least unfulfilled.

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