Lecture “Scots and the Making of Meiji Japan”– Report

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 On August 31st, Professor Masami Kita of Soka University, with the cooperation of the Japan Society of Scotland, gave a lecture on “Scots and the Making of Meiji Japan” at Dunfermline City Chambers in Fife. Professor Kita has carried out research into the history of Scotland and Japan in the last years of the Tokugawa period and the early Meiji period, and also the significant historical impact of Lord James Bruce, the 8th Earl of Elgin.
 Opening remarks were made by Lord Charles Bruce who is a descendant of the 8th Earl of Elgin.
 Professor Kita visited the University of Glasgow for the first time in 1975 and studied the history of the Bank of Scotland before going on to study the history of exchange between Japan and Scotland. During his talk, he discussed the remarkable accomplishments of Scots living in Japan in the last years of the Tokugawa period, such as Dr Henry Dyer, the first principal of Kobu-daigakukko (now the College of Engineering, University of Tokyo) and Thomas Blake Glover who helped lay the foundations of the shipbuilding industry in Nagasaki.
 He also looked at the role played by the 8th Earl of Elgin in the development of relations between Japan and Scotland after the late-Tokugawa period.
 After the lecture, the audience enjoyed the opportunity to ask questions and exchange opinions with Professor Kita which showed their interest in his research.