The Taiwan Expedition happened at a key moment in the transformation of Japan. In the early modern period, Japanese people interacted with foreign countries through idiosyncratic, unsystematic relationships. By the 1870s, they interacted with foreigners through new systematic relationships of trade and diplomacy that were defined according to European norms and that divided the world into societies that were civilized and those that were not. The recursive replication of Western imperialism in the Taiwan Expedition happened in the context of Japan’s subordination to Western powers in the unequal treaty system, and it asserted an ambivalent identity, of solidarity and antagonism, between Japan and the West. Japan’s recursive engagement with Western imperialism influenced modern Japanese thought at least until the end of World War II.