Wild East: The British in Japan 1854-1868

Author(s): Joshua Provan 

ISBN: 9781781557563
Copies: 161
The story behind James Clavell’s Gaijin: a tale of samurai, imperialism, politics, war and gunboat diplomacy in the Wild East
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  • Gripping politics, assassinations, gunboat diplomacy and samurai

  • The dramatic beginning of Anglo-Japanese relations

  • The neglected story of the British and the birth of Japan

  • A glimpse of 19th century Japan through the eyes of its first visitors 

For over two centuries, Japan had been hidden behind a veil of seclusion. This changed when Commodore Perry arrived in 1853. Britain was fast to get in on the action; however, their sudden appearance had accelerated the pace of political change in Japan. The newcomers found themselves increasingly out of their depth in a power struggle that they did not understand.

The shogun and emperor were at each other’s throats and factions were jockeying for position. Britain’s first diplomats found themselves the targets of assassins and to their confusion discovered that the emperor had no legislative power and the shogun’s word was no longer law. Yet with the lessons of the opium wars still in recent memory, a slew of British soldiers, ambassadors, interpreters and adventurers attempted to protect imperial interests in Japan without causing outright war.

This is the story of the rocky beginning of Anglo-Japanese relations, a story of the ‘Wild East’, full of political schemes, gunboat diplomacy, assassins and samurai, set in the dying days of the Edo period and the twilight of the last shogun.

BOOK ISBN 9781781557563
FORMAT 234 x 156 mm
BINDING Hardback
PAGES 208 pages
ILLUSTRATIONS 33 colour illustrations



Joshua Provan is a book reviewer, history writer and blogger, the founder of Adventures in Historyland blog and contributes regularly to the Britannia Magazine on Facebook. His guest posts can also be found on several respected history blogs and websites. Although all of history fascinates him, he concentrates on British military history from the 17th to the mid-19th century. In addition, he has gained a reputation as a historical consultant and proof-reader, an online historical content advisor and a research consultant. He lives in the UK.