150 Anniversary of

​   The Meiji Restoration

In 1868, Tokugawa Shogun, who had been ruling Japan, lost his power and his solider “Samurai” government was demolished and the emperor was restored to the supreme position. This was not only a political transformation that created a more democratic government, but also a cultural and industrial revolution. Meiji Restoration (Meiji-ishin) laid foundation to modern Japan, which then significantly developed to become one of the most influential counties in the world as we know today. UCL alumni who came from Yamaguchi Prefecture (Choshu-Five) and Kagoshima Prefecture (Satsuma-19) had a significant contribution during this development. This year, we celebrate 150 Year Anniversary of Meiji Restoration.

We will have two special lectures. Prof. Andrew Cobbing is associate professor of university of the Nottingham. He is a world expart of Japanese history around 150 years ago. Ms Lesley Downer is a novelist of great renown in the UK, who wrote several novels based on the historical background of Japan around 150 years ago. The novels include “Geisha” and "The Shogun's and Queen". Also, high school students from Kagoshima prefecture will present about the past, current, and future of Kagoshima.

After the lectures, we will have Kagoshima Reception.

Please join us to commemorate one of the most important historical turning point of Japan and enjoy special lectures, Japanese food and “Shochu” (Japanese alcohol).




31st, July 2018
15:00 - 15:30 (Registration)
15:30 – 18:00 (special lectures)
18:00 – 20:00 (Kagoshima Reception)


Gustave Tuck Lecture Theatre at UCL Main campus (Lectures)
South Cloister at UCL Main Campus (Reception)
University College London, Gower Street, London WC1E 6BT




Opening by Prof. Shin-ichi Ohnuma (UCL)

Lecture "Wakaki-Satsuma in 1868"
Dr. Andrew Cobbing (University of Nottingham)

Presentation by High School students from Kagoshima

Lecture "Lecture "When East and West Collided: Flashpoints on the Road to the Meiji Restoration""
Ms Lesley Downer (Novelist)

Kagoshima Reception


Ms. Lesley Downer

I’m an author, novelist and journalist. My mother was Chinese and my father a professor of Chinese, so I grew up in a house full of books on Asia. I ended up almost by accident in Japan and became fascinated by the country, its culture and its people. I lived there on and off for some fifteen years and have written many books, non-fiction and more recently fiction, about it. It has been an ongoing love affair.

Dr. Andrew Sobbing

150 years ago, there was a civil war in train, people did not yet know the outcome, and many young Satsuma went off to fight far away in Tohoku. The Satsuma students, meanwhile, were also busy: some of them (e.g. Hatakoeyama, Mori, Sameshima) still abroad at a Christian colony in New York State. Others were already back, and quickly taking up appointments with the new Meiji state, such as Machida Hisanari governing in Nagasaki, Godai ditto in newly opened Osaka. In short, no one at that point knew the outcome of the Meiji Restoration, but they were all responding in different ways to seize their futures. That's my theme.


University College London

Kagoshima Prefecture


Hideyuki Miyahara, General Coordinator

email: hmiyahara@japanatuk.com

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