To What Extent Was Socialism Involved in the Meiji Restoration

Topics: Samurai, Empire of Japan, Shogun Pages: 3 (1321 words) Published: June 22, 2013
To what extent was socialism involved in the Meiji Restoration? The Meiji Restoration was one of the fastest and most effective political, social and economic overhauls of an entire country. In merely one generation Japan as a country unified and became one of the most powerful countries in the world. Yet were the changes fundamentally socialist or just incorporated aspects of socialism? When viewing it at as a whole, the Meiji Restoration did exhibit ideas from the majorly state socialism but in retrospect it was not fundamentally socialist. The political, economic and social reforms all demonstrate that the overlying ideals had aspects, but were not entirely socialist. Socialism was also involved in the formation of the new government, particularly the in the creation of the oligarchy. During the Tokugawa Shogunate, the entire country was effectively ruled by one man and the government was decentralised. The Meiji Restoration however changed the governmental model, using some socialist methods. Initially after mutiny of the Shogun, the few leaders of the Revolution had no formal title, but with the creation of the Meiji Constitution they were known as the Genro. At first the new government would look like a monarchy, the form of government would in essence be an oligarchy. The Genro would control almost all the national and international matters and focus on a nationalised economy. This meant that the government was centralised and had a few ruling to benefit all which as the essence of state socialist values. However the socialist values only reached up to a certain extent as the political reforms were also not based on absolute power and authority to the Emperor. Although the reforms were essentially socialist the end result was not and went against socialist values. The economy was based on different types of taxation for each level of government, meaning that the Shogun did have sufficient control over the money rather just the daimyo. This system...

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