Westernization in Japan mainly started from the end of 1860's or the beginning of 1870's. The new government, which had overthrown the Tokugawa government, decided to introduce the Western civilization.
The first train was constructed between Shinbashi (a town in Tokyo) and Yokohama in 1972. It is said that people were afraid of taking it at first. This funny conversation at that time has been passed on:
A: I heard you had taken the Oka-joki (old Japanese name of a steam locomotive).
B: Yeah, I took it.
A: What a brave man you are! How was that?
B: I was very surprised! A telegraph pole and something like that flew toward us!
A: It's dangerous!
B: Yeah, dangerous! But the Oka-joki dodged them quite well! After that a mountain flew toward us. But the Oka-joki dodged it again. Finally, the sea flew toward us!
I don't know whether this conversation was real or not. Someone might make it as a joke. But I think it represents the surprise of people at that time well.
The first telegraph line in Japan was installed in 1869. Some people could not understand the concept of telegraph and it is said that they hung letters and luggage over the telegraph line to send them.
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"How to Westernize (or not to)" has been a big theme for the Japanese society. The theme has still influenced the Japanese society consciously and unconsciously. Westernization in Japan mainly started from the end of 1860's or the beginning of 1870's. The new government, which had overthrown the