Come the Black Ships

Divining the Machine, part eight

The 8th of July 1853 must have begun as a normal day in the Japanese capital, Edo. The pattern of those normal days had been set for two and a half centuries in a carefully-managed routine. Japan under the Tokugawa shôgunate, which began in 1603, was a strict feudal society, operating within long-defined, tightly-bounded hierarchies. It was honour-based…

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