The Soul of the Far East
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First published in 1908, this volume explored Japanese culture and society for British readers in the wake of the Anglo-Japanese treaty of 1902. Japan's recent victory over the Russian Empire in the Russo-Japanese war in 1904-5 had represented the first victory of an Asian power over its Western counterpart. Japan's resulting parity is reflected both in the treaty and in the author's conviction that Britain and Japan, though in many ways diametric opposites, could inform and enlighten one another. The two powers, Lowell argues, could work together to the benefit of both peoples. As the 1854 Convention of Kanagawa, in which Japan had abandoned isolation, remained recent, British awareness of Japan and its culture was still in its early stages. Percival Lowell sought to explore and communicate the culture of Britain's new allies through areas such as its language, social structures, art and religion along with 32 illustrations.