This unique book portrays the evolution of Meiji Japan through the life of crusading journalist Edward H. House (1836-1901). In chapters that alternate between history and biography, James Huffman, shows how one man bridged continents-shaping American attitudes, influencing Japan's movement toward modernity, and providing a contemporary critique of imperialism. Huffman also captures the human drama of House's life: his early bohemianism, the mystical way Japan drew him, the painful struggle with gout, the joy and torment of adopting a Japanese girl, his fight for women's education, and the vicissitudes of friendship with Mark Twain. Meticulously researched, the book draws on House's voluminous writings and on hundreds of letters between House and major figures in both America and Japan, including Mark Twain, U.S. Grant, John Russell Young, Edmund Clarence Stedman, Okuma Shigenobu, and Inoue Kaoru. With its lively, accessible prose and seamless interweaving of the life of House with the history of the Meiji era, this book will be welcomed by students, scholars, and general readers interested in modern Japanese history and in America's nineteenth-century foreign relations.