The Meiji Restoration

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university of georgia|
The Meiji Period made Japan big!|
Midterm Question 2|
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christian driver|
10/23/2012|

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The Meiji restoration in Japan is known as the end of Japan’s isolationism, and its entrance into the world as a global player. However, the Meiji restoration is chiefly responsible for the development and advancement of Japan as an eastern world power. Japan’s economy was greatly bolstered and new philosophies and ideals from the west flooded in. These ideas opened minds to different ways of thought. The reason the Meiji restoration took place is due to the western powers and cultural and political turmoil. When the “black ships” arrived in Japan, the Tokugawa shōgun realized that they were technologically outclassed by the western nations, he agreed to treaties that put the west at an advantage, and Japan at a disadvantage. Many leaders were angered by these treaties and feared that Japan would share the same fate as many other Asian countries. Thus, the Meiji emperor was “restored” to power, but he did not rule directly. He was expected to accept the advice of the daimyo that had overthrown the shōgun, and it was from this group that a small number of ambitious, able and patriotic young men from the lower ranks of the samurai emerged, to take control and establish the new political system. At first, their only strength was that the emperor accepted their advice. In addition several powerful feudal domains provided military support. They moved quickly, however to build their own military and economic control. By July 1869, the feudal lord had been requested to give up their domains, and in 1871 these domains were abolished and transformed into prefectures of a unified central state. The abolition of feudalism made tremendous social and political changes possible. Because of the Meiji reforms millions of people were suddenly free to choose their occupation and move about without restrictions. By providing a new environment of...
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