Meiji Period

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Meiji Period 1868-1912

Meiji Period, also known as Meiji restoration, was a turning point for Japan as it created equality amongst all Japanese people. The new Japanese government (after the failure of the Tokugawa government) successfully broke down the boundaries between the social classes, established human rights such as the religious freedom, and took all the land that belonged to the former feudal lords (daimyo) and returned it to the government. With an effort to expand to acquire Western skills in all fields of technology, legislation and science, Japan sought all aspects of western culture and education. While receiving the skills and knowledge, Japan also received its first European style constitution in 1889. In order to carry out the expansion effort to turn Japan into an Industrial country, exchanges of educators and students within the Western and Eastern countries frequently took place. Foreign experts entered Japan to teach the Western culture, while some Japanese students migrated to the West to learn what the West had to offer. In 1880, 140 Japanese lived in the United States. Within ten years time, the number of Japanese living in the United States increased to 2038. This alarming figure triggered the United States government, which led to the implementation of the Immigration Act in 1924, targeting directly to Japanese Immigrants in the United States. While seeking westernization of all parts of society and culture, Japanese brought back the "Western style methods in painting, print-making, carving and architecture made their way." Just like the Bauhaus School in the United States, art schools were being founded in Japan and teachers from countries like Italy were brought in. Art movements were brought into Japan and modified according to the cultural preferences. Prior to the Meiji era, Japanese paintings called Ukiyo-e were made by the techniques of woodblock printing, which mainly involved the development of the artists in...
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