Places, Images, Times & Transformations

Taishō period

(1912-26). The reign of Emperor Taishō, which one Japanese historian has characterized as "an era of great possibilities." Some historians, employing the term Taishō Democracy," associate the period with the emergence of political and social trends that ultimately made possible the post-1945 democratization of Japan. Looking at a different set of trends, others have found it equally plausible to see in the Taishō period the roots of the radical nationalism, expansionism, and antiliberalism that later marked the 1930s and early 1940s. The historical legacy of the period, therefore, is an ambiguous one. (adapted from Japan: An Illustrated Encyclopedia. Tokyo: Kodansha, 1993)

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