A Miracle of Industry: The Struggle to Produce Sheet Glass in Modernizing Japan

  • Martha Chaiklin


The history of the Meiji period often seems to have been written with slogans such as “civilization and enlightenment,” “prosperous country, strong army,” or “good wife, wise mother,” as if the vast and complex political and social changes that occurred between 1868 and 1912 could be tamed by imprisonment in precise phrases.1 Perhaps supreme in the hierarchy of slogans is “rapid modernization.” Few would question that Japan was able to industrialize, modernize, Westernize, and metastasize in an almost miraculously short period of time; yet, the very truth of this statement somehow demeans the struggle. Nowhere is this more apparent than in the sheet (or flat) glass industry, where the road to success was paved with huge capital losses by both the Meiji government and private entrepreneurs.


Foreign Trade Glass Window Sheet Glass Glass Production Glass Industry 
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© Martha Chaiklin 2005

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  • Martha Chaiklin

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