Reflection of Early 20th Century’s Japanese Society and Culture: Perspective of Bengali Women

Lopamudra Malek

Assistant Professor, Department of Japanese Studies, University of Dhaka, Bangladesh. E-mail:


The world knows Japan was secluded for consecutive 200 years during Edo Period, and after that, the renowned Meiji era started in 1868. Before this Meiji restoration, Commodore Matthew Culbreath Perry did several expeditions to Japan, and he wrote a book namely Narrative of the Expedition of an American Squadron to the China Seas and Japan Performed in the years 1852, 1853, and 1854, under the Command of Commodore M.C. Perry, United States Navy in 1862. This book was translated from English to Bengali as Jepan by Madhusudon Mukhopadhyay in 1863 and was the first book written in Bengali on Japan according to the existing materials found yet. This translation has opened the door of Japan to Bengal. On the other hand, India was partitioned in 1947, and till 1947, several renowned individuals went to Japan and the mass for specific purposes. Five women went to Japan before 1947, and all of them penned it as a memoir or travelogue. Hariprabha Takeda, Sarojnalini Dutta, Abala Basu, Shanta Devi, and Parul Devi. This article is all about these Bengali ladies’ perceptions of Japanese society and culture after the Meiji Restoration. Society and culture reflect the similarity and diversity of a country, and these were the write-ups where the records of those westernising Japan are available.

Keywords Meiji . Taisho . Women . Travelogues . Bangla . Japan . Seclusion . Books .Japanese .