An Outline of the Period Modern Japanese history can be divided into four periods:
SHARE For Japan, marks the th anniversary of the Meiji Restoration; the name given to the events of that saw the downfall of the Tokugawa shogunate or bakufu and the creation of a new government with a central focus on Imperial rule under the Emperor Meiji.
There are varying viewpoints regarding the character of the Meiji Restoration. Edo Castle — where the shogun resided — surrendered and was handed over without bloodshed. And although the Meiji Restoration marked the end of shogunate rule by the Tokugawa dynasty, it was members of the same samurai class as the shoguns themselves who ended it — albeit members of samurai clans from outlying areas such as the Satsuma and Choshu domains which correspond to the modern prefectures of Kagoshima and Yamaguchi.
It was also not the case that the lords of those feudal domains who drove the Tokugawa shogunate to its demise took over as the subsequent rulers in place of the Tokugawa clan.
In that sense, the Meiji Restoration was an internal power struggle between samurai of the same class, and the result of conflicts between samurai of outlying areas against the centrally based ruling samurai of Edo, and between samurai of higher and lower ranks. Although it may not have been a revolution in the sense that it was an internal struggle between members of the same warrior class, the Meiji Restoration did have some revolutionary elements, in the sense that it was a struggle between samurai in central and outlying areas, and between persons of higher and lower rank.
Viewed in international terms, another result of the Meiji Restoration was that Japan adapted to the times, in terms of becoming a modern nation. The Meiji government regarded Japan as a sovereign state, taking direct control over the entire country and working to revise unequal treaties, increase national wealth and military strength, and encourage the growth and development of new industry.
Naturally, the character of this new modern nation also included going on to seek resources and markets from the outside world. For this reason, some historians argue that the Meiji Restoration was the original starting point that eventually led to the Japanese invasion and occupation of surrounding Asian countries, although in Japan we do not seek to place original blame on the Meiji Restoration for these actions, but regard them rather as the result of subsequent Japanese politics and diplomacy.
In East Asia, the Meiji Restoration is held in comparatively high regard. During the s there were a stream of civil conflicts and insurgencies by fuhei shizoku discontented former samuraiand the new government found money to be tight as it struggled to deal with them.
It was only with the fiscal austerity measures instituted by Finance Minister Matsutaka Masayoshi during the s that Japan was eventually able to achieve and maintain a healthy fiscal situation. I would argue that the key reason why the Meiji Restoration is regarded positively by surrounding nations is that Japan emerged victoriously from both the Sino-Japanese and Russo-Japanese wars that followed.
History has since been told from the perspective of why Japan was able to adapt to the times and emerge as a modern nation during the midth century, and why other Asian nations were not able to quite replicate the feat.
For this reason, it no longer can necessarily be concluded that the fact that Japan was able to achieve the Meiji Restoration during the midth century is a true success story, and nor can the comparatively gradual handling of national adaptation exhibited by the Chinese Qing dynasty during that period be viewed as necessarily a failure.
In the 21st century, Japan is agonizing over how it should set its national targets. It seems unlikely that Japan can adapt to this new age simply with the mindset of catching up to — and surpassing — Western countries, or by becoming the leading country in Asia.
Having now marked the th anniversary of the Meiji Restoration, Japan must face the issue of how it will move on from that national identity that it created for itself starting those heady days a century and a half ago. Shin Kawashima is a professor at the University of Tokyo.Japanese women during the Meiji Restoration: (left to right) a painting depicting Meiji era women at work; prostitutes on display behind a cage in Yoshiwara, one of Tokyo's red light districts, circa (roughly six years before the practice, known as harimise, was stopped); Yoshiwara prostitutes in a brothel; Japanese women at work in a bamboo basket factory, circa ; also circa , women feeding silk .
The Meiji period (明治時代, Meiji-jidai), also known as the Meiji era, is a Japanese era which extended from October 23, , to July 30, This period represents the first half of the Empire of Japan, during which Japanese society moved from being an isolated feudal society to a Westernised form.
The Meiji government regarded Japan as a sovereign state, taking direct control over the entire country and working to revise unequal treaties, increase national wealth and military strength, and. s. Geisha. Geisha dressed in Kimono by unknown s. The meiji period brought an end to the Samurai warrior class in Japan.
In the Meiji government issued the Hatorei edict which prohibited wearing swords in public, previously an exclusive right of samurai during the Edo period. Featured. Samurai warriors. With Emperor Meiji’s ascension to the throne in , Japan theoretically restored power to the emperor, but because he was only 15 years old he had little governing power.
Instead, the power rested with the new government consisting of a small, close-knit cabinet of advisers. This new cabinet. Japan during the Meiji restoration was similar to Japan after World War II in that during these periods Japan. In the s, a major cause of European imperialism was the.
the leaders of the Meiji government decided to.