Eto Shinpei

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  • Japanese: 江藤新平 (Etou Shinpei)

Etô Shinpei was a shishi (anti-shogunate rebel) and thinker of the Bakumatsu period.

He is known, in part, for a text written in 1856 which, while asserting his support of sakoku policies up until now, argued for an "opening" of Japan. He writes of the great power of the Western powers, especially England, which though a small island country like Japan, has managed to become one of the most powerful countries in the world; given the vulnerability of Japan, he writes, the country must seek not only the greatest talents in Japan, but the greatest talents in the world, in order to implement the military, economic, and other developments which will bring Japan national strength and wealth.


  • Marius Jansen, "Japanese Imperialism: Late Meiji Perspectives," in Mark Peattie (ed.), The Japanese Colonial Empire, 1895-1945, Princeton University Press (1984), 63.