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The history of Imperial Japan, from the Meiji Restoration through to defeat and occupation at the end of the Second World War, is central to any understanding of the way in which modern Japan has developed and will continue to develop in the future. This wide-ranging accessible and up-to-date interpretation of Japanese history between 1868 and 1945 provides both a narrative and analysis. Describing the major changes that took place in Japanese political, economic and social life during this period, it challenges widely-held views about the uniqueness of Japanese history and the homogeneity of Japanese society.