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1The Meiji era (1868-1912) is often viewed in an overly simplistic light, with Japan seen as having entered the modern world abruptly in 1868, suddenly transforming its ways of life, values, culture and language. The three papers collectively entitled “The Changing Consciousness of Modern Japan” each show the magnitude of these transformations. The first, written by Pascal Griolet, demonstrates how a new written language came to the fore amid a range of radical suggestions; the second, by Christian Galan, shows the first attempts to reform the country’s education policy; the third, by Emmanuel Lozerand, describes the emergence of literary criticism in the 1880s. At the same time, however, these studies collectively demonstrate the gradual way the changes came about, illustrating that the solutions chosen were the result of intense local debate and that it was only at the end of a process spanning several decades that a new critical and modern way of thinking emerged. Recognising the time required for these transformations also means recognising how far-reaching they were, and distancing the twentieth century from the Edo period.

2These texts have been supplemented with papers by Michel Vieillard-Baron and Catherine Garnier, who present two further approaches by French Japanese Studies to the issues of language and literature.

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Electronic reference

Michael Lucken, EditorialCipango - French Journal of Japanese Studies [Online], 2 | 2013, Online since 28 June 2013, connection on 28 May 2024. URL:; DOI:

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Michael Lucken

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