The Emperor’s New Clothes: Transforming 19th Century Japan
Oriental Museum

An exhibition celebrating the 150th anniversary of the Meiji Restoration in Japan.


Normal museum admission prices apply.


The Meiji Restoration in 1868 was a major turning point in Japanese history. It marked the beginning of decades of extraordinarily rapid and momentous change.

Japan had been a mainly agricultural country with little technological development. It had largely isolated itself from the outside world for the previous 200 years. The new regime expelled the military government that had controlled Japan and restored direct rule to the 15 year old Emperor. The young Emperor was advised that the only way to establish Japan as a world power was to adopt Western systems of government, military, industry, trade, and even clothing.

This exhibition explores how Japan transformed into the modern nation we see today through the use of artefacts, woodblock prints and images from the Meiji Era. It also explores the lasting impact of the Meiji Restoration on Japanese economic and technological success.

This exhibition has been created by students studying for the MA in Museum and Artefact Studies at Durham University.

Oriental Museum, Elvet Hill, Durham, DH1 3TH