Invented Histories: The Nihon Senshi of the Meiji Imperial Japanese Army


  • Nathan H. LEDBETTER Princeton University



Imperial Japanese Army, Military History, Invented Tradition, Meiji Period, Bushido


Nihon Senshi (Military History of Japan) was part of the new Imperial Japanese Army’s attempt to tie itself to examples from Japan’s “warring states” period, similar to scholars who created a feudal “medieval” time in the Japanese past to fit into Western historiography, and intellectuals who discovered a “traditional” spirit called bushidō as a counterpart for English chivalry. The interpretations of these campaigns, placing the “three unifiers” of the late sixteenth century as global leaders in the modernization of military tactics and technology, show the Imperial Japanese Army’s desire to be seen as a “modern” military through its invented “institutional” history.


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Author Biography

  • Nathan H. LEDBETTER, Princeton University

    PhD Student

    East Asian Studies Department

    Princeton University



29. 06. 2018



Modern Transformations

How to Cite

LEDBETTER, Nathan H. 2018. “Invented Histories: The Nihon Senshi of the Meiji Imperial Japanese Army”. Asian Studies 6 (2): 157-72.

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