It is probably fair to say that the West is enamoured with the culture and history of Japan. Samurai and ninja permeate our on-screen entertainment, TV shows and films full of references and wakizashi. Our anti-heroes always seem to have a touch of the ronin about them and our restaurants have somehow come to the culinary conclusion that it is ok to serve raw fish. However, we seem focussed on the deeper past of Japan, unable or unwilling to break the romantic wall and investigate for ourselves how the country moved from the feudal heroes portrayed in our media to the militaristic society we faced in World War II. This brutal deconstruction and subsequent modernisation of an entire nation makes for a fascinating study, the events before and after the Meiji Restoration ripe for interpretation with more than a touch of pathos.