The same tendency prevailed in art and literature, where Western styles were first imitated, and then a more-selective blending of Western and Japanese tastes was achieved. Over the course of just a few decades, these changes took Japan from being a semi-isolated island nation threatened by foreign imperialism, to being an imperial power in its own right. Such was the case in the development of a modern educational system that, though influenced by Western theory and practice, stressed the traditional values of samurai loyalty and social harmony. The Meiji Program of Economic Development. The reforms enacted during the Meiji emperor's rule brought about the modernization and Westernization of the country and paved the way for Japan to become a major international power. The Meiji Restoration. Their economy collapsed in the 1920s but began recovering in the early 1930s. It was because of some of these new laws that helped Japan become the country that it is today. The war lasted until May of 1869, but the emperor's, troops with their more modern weaponry and tactics, had the upper hand from the start. Prior to the 1868 Restoration, Japan was a militarily weak country with a feudal agricultural society, and was … Commodore Matthew Perry’s arrival at Edo Bay (Tokyo was once named Edo) in 1853 demonstrated to Japan the superior military power of the West. Those efforts at modernization required Western science and technology, and under the banner of “Civilization and Enlightenment” (Bunmei kaika), Western culture, from current intellectual trends to clothing and architecture, was widely promoted. The enacting of a constitution and formalization of a parliamentary system of government. They were constantly exploited and denied any freedom. It is named for Mutsuhito, the Meiji Emperor, who served as the figurehead for the movement. Not only did this change the fundamental aspects of Japanese society, but it also lead to many musical changes. In a wider context, however, the Meiji Restoration of 1868 came to be identified with the subsequent era of major political, economic, and social change—the Meiji period (1868–1912)—that brought about the modernization and Westernization of the country. The Meiji Restoration was a coup d’état that resulted in the dissolution of Japan’s feudal system of government and the restoration of the imperial system. The feudal system and all feudal class privileges were abolished. Szczepanski, Kallie. How did the social systems of Japan change during the Meiji Period? What Motivated Japanese Aggression in World War II? How did the Meiji Restoration change Japan? Ring in the new year with a Britannica Membership, This article was most recently revised and updated by, https://www.britannica.com/event/Meiji-Restoration, Lehigh University - The Meiji Restoration: Roots of Modern Japan, The abolition of the feudal system and all feudal class privileges, The construction of transport and communication systems. The government played a huge role in social change by creating new laws and a constitution. The Meiji Restoration is sometimes characterized as a coup d'etat or revolution ending the shogunal system for modern Western governmental and military methods. He sent his samurai army toward the imperial city of Kyoto, intending to capture or depose the emperor. Japan’s empire grew immensely thanks to the nation’s modernized military. In two short decades, Japan was transformed from a closed medieval society into one of the world’s most modern nations. The Meiji Restoration stands as one of the turning points of Japanese history. how did the meiji restoration change japan into a westernized country? The Satsuma and Choshu leaders sought to overthrow the Tokugawa shogun and place the Emperor Komei into a position of real power. By analyzing the documents provided, the effects that Japan’s Meiji Restoration had on the Japan and the rest of the world are made clearly evident. Japan's political elites realized that the U.S. and other countries were ahead in terms of military technology, and (quite rightly) felt threatened by western imperialism. The Meiji Emperor brought about the Meiji Restoration, which included the forming of a strong military. These changes took place mainly in the three years from 1866 to 1869, at the beginning of the Meiji period. A Japanese nation-state was seen as vital as a defense against foreign predation. (2020, August 26). Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/what-was-the-meiji-restoration-195562. In 1866, the daimyo of two southern Japanese domains—Hisamitsu of Satsuma Domain and Kido Takayoshi of Choshu Domain—formed an alliance against the Tokugawa Shogunate that had ruled from Tokyo in the Emperor's name since 1603. At the time a global political transformation was underway, involving the rise of nationalism and nation-states. Although the economy still depended on agriculture, industrialization was the primary goal of the government, which directed the development of strategic industries, transportation, and communications. During early industrialisation, women were worked in factories under poor conditions. rule by the Emperor of Japan. The emperor took the name Meiji ("enlightened rule") as his reign name; this event was known as the Meiji Restoration. Japan seized control of Korea, defeated Qing China in the Sino-Japanese War of 1894 to '95, and shocked the world by defeating the Tsar's navy and army in the Russo-Japanese War of 1904 to '05. The formation of a national army. The Meiji Restoration completely transformed Japan by modernizing the country. Women of Japan were given the same rights as men, but were not treated as equals. The Meiji Restoration was a paramount change in the structure of Japanese society from the top down that allowed Japan to heavily modernize in order to compete with European as well as American forces encroaching in the Pacific. Get a Britannica Premium subscription and gain access to exclusive content. With this change came a 3% land tax imposed on the farmers. They: In 1889, the emperor issued the Meiji Constitution, which made Japan into a constitutional monarchy modeled on Prussia. The Reign of the Meiji Emperor. The Meiji emperor proclaiming the Meiji Constitution in 1889. Adopting the slogan “Enrich the country, strengthen the army” (Fukoku kyōhei), they sought to create a nation-state capable of standing equal among Western powers. Please select which sections you would like to print: While every effort has been made to follow citation style rules, there may be some discrepancies. Today, however, Japan remains the third largest economy in the world, and a leader in innovation and technology—thanks in large part to the reforms of the Meiji Restoration. Japan underwent many changes after the Meiji Restoration. Those men were motivated by growing domestic problems and by the threat of foreign encroachment. Szczepanski, Kallie. The Meiji era (明治, Meiji, Japanese pronunciation: [meꜜː(d)ʑi]) is an era of Japanese history which extended from October 23, 1868 to July 30, 1912. The Meiji period was a time of political and social revolution. Meeting of Russian and Japanese generals during the Russo-Japanese War (1904–05) to discuss terms of the Russian surrender of Port Arthur (present-day Lüshun, China). The first problem to be solved was financing the national government budget. The first railroad was built in 1872, and by 1890 the country had more than 1,400 miles (2,250 km) of rail. Economic and social changes paralleled the political transformation of the Meiji period. ThoughtCo. The Reign of the Meiji Emperor When the Meiji emperor was restored as head of Japan in 1868, the nation was a militarily weak country, was primarily agricultural, and had little technological development. Yoshinobu mounted a brief civil war that ended with his surrender to imperial forces in June 1869. Japan underwent a vast array of changes after the Meiji Restoration. Rather than suffer a similar fate, some of Japan's elites sought to close the doors even tighter against foreign influence, but the more foresighted began to plan a modernization drive. By the end of the Meiji Era, these situations were less common. Meiji Restoration, in Japanese history, the political revolution in 1868 that brought about the final demise of the Tokugawa shogunate (military government)—thus ending the Edo (Tokugawa) period (1603–1867)—and, at least nominally, returned control of the country to direct imperial rule under Mutsuhito (the emperor Meiji). The leaders of the restoration were mostly young samurai from feudal domains (hans) historically hostile to Tokugawa authority, notably Chōshū, in far western Honshu, and Satsuma, in southern Kyushu. Blending Ancient and Modern to Build Anew. The Meiji Restoration : Change And Domitarianism In Japan 1119 Words | 5 Pages. Rather than a clash between modern and traditional methods, or between Western and Japanese practices, says Ravina, it was the result of a struggle to bridge those dichotomies and create new institutions that could evoke both Japanese uniqueness and Western progress. The Meiji Era: The Meiji Period would last from 1868 until 1912. The emperor took the name Meiji ("enlightened rule") as his reign name; this event was known as the Meiji Restoration. The early goals of the new government were expressed in the Charter Oath (April 1868). During the Iwakura mission, Japan brought back many ideas on how to modernize their country. She has taught at the high school and university levels in the U.S. and South Korea. Among those were: The Meiji period that followed the Restoration was an era of major political, economic, and social change in Japan. How did Japan change course in the late 1800s? The Meiji Restoration (1868) is called such because it "restored" direct imperial rule, i.e. Consequently, Tokugawa shôgun who ruled Japan in the feudal period was deposed and the emperor was restored to the supreme position. The Tokugawa period consisted of … These developments bore fruit in 1910s when Japan experienced an economic boom. His resignation officially transferred power to the young emperor, but the shogun wouldn't give up actual control of Japan so easily. The Meiji Restoration was a political and social revolution in Japan from 1866 to 1869 that ended the power of the Tokugawa shogun and returned the Emperor to a central position in Japanese politics and culture. • A personality cult was formed around the Emperor, who, according to the now official Shinto belief, was the descendent of … When the United States sends a naval delegation, led by Commodore Matthew Perry, to "open" Japanese ports in 1853, the Japanese are well aware of the "Unequal Treaties" that have been imposed upon China in the previous ten years (since the Opium War of 1839-42) as a result of the superior military power of the Western nations. The reforms enacted during the Meiji emperor’s rule brought about the modernization and Westernization of the country and paved the way for Japan to become a major international power. Among other accomplishments, during the Meiji period Japan adopted a constitution and a parliamentary system, instituted universal education, built railroads and installed telegraph lines, and established strong army and navy forces. The Meiji Restoration accelerated the industrialization process in Japan, which led to its rise as a military power by the year 1895, under the slogan of "Enrich the country, strengthen the military" (富国強兵, fukoku kyōhei) . The unequal treaties that had granted foreign powers judicial and economic privileges through extraterritoriality were revised in 1894, and with the Anglo-Japanese Alliance of 1902 and its victory in two wars (over China in 1894–95 and Russia in 1904–05), Japan gained respect in the eyes of the Western world, appearing for the first time on the international scene as a major world power. The daimyo and samurai started a revolt to bring the Meiji emperor to power. Meiji Restoration, in Japanese history, the political revolution in 1868 that brought about the final demise of the Tokugawa shogunate (military government) - thus ending the Edo (Tokugawa) period (1603-1867) - and, at least nominally, returned control of the country to direct imperial rule under Mutsuhito (the emperor Meiji). "What Was the Meiji Restoration?" ...The Meiji Restoration was a significant turning point in Japanese history because it led to revolutionary changes in Japan’s economic and political structures. The revolutionary changes carried out by restoration leaders, who acted in the name of the emperor, faced increasing opposition by the mid-1870s. Japan underwent a vast array of changes after the Meiji Restoration. How did the Restoration change Japan? Click to see full answer. Japan changed under the Meiji restoration when the formal privileges of the Samurai were ended. Also in 1871 a national army was formed, which was further strengthened two years later by a universal conscription law. While many upper-class Japanese did occasionally wear Western suits and dresses, most preferred the kimono. While many upper-class Japanese did occasionally wear Western suits and dresses, most preferred the kimono. Japan was well on its way to becoming a modern industrialized country. Education, social class, and women’s roles changed drastically when Japan began to modernize. Although the Meiji Restoration caused a lot of trauma and social dislocation in Japan, it also enabled the country to join the ranks of world powers in the early 20th century. The Meiji Restoration was a time for change and life of women was changing. Meiji Restoration: The Meiji Restoration began in 1867 when reform-minded activists led a coup against the Tokugawa Shogunate. None of these far-reaching reforms were put into place overnight. "What Was the Meiji Restoration?" Through him, they felt that they could more effectively meet the foreign threat. Dr. Kallie Szczepanski is a history teacher specializing in Asian history and culture. The first Diet was convened the following year, 1890. The Meiji Reformers wanted to modernize Japan in order to make it competitive in a changing world so as to compete with Western powers. The administrative reorganization had been largely accomplished by 1871, when the domains were officially abolished and replaced by a prefecture system that has remained in place to the present day. The three major sources of Western music in Japan were the church, the schools, and the military.…. Japan would go on to ever greater power in East Asia until the tides turned against it in World War II. Japan's economic powers are a major influence on the industrial factor of its country as well. Those precepts were codified in 1890 with the enactment of the Imperial Rescript on Education (Kyōiku Chokugo). Tokugawa Yoshinobu surrendered to Saigo Takamori of Satsuma and handed over Edo Castle on April 11, 1869. The modernization invoked by the Meiji restoration was so considerable that it is reasonable to call the latter a revolution. With this, many social changes occurred which assisted in the modernisation of Japan and its culture. Updates? Set out to improve manufacturing in Japan, which had been based on textiles and other such goods, shifting instead to heavy machinery and weapons manufacturing. On Jan. 27, 1868, Yoshinobu's troops clashed with samurai from the Satsuma/Choshu alliance; the four-day long Battle of Toba-Fushimi ended in a serious defeat for the bakufu and touched off the Boshin War (literally, the "Year of the Dragon War"). Nevertheless, though it was born in conflict, the Meiji Restoration did indeed open up Japan in myriad ways, and the country developed at a furious pace. While modern Japan and the Orthodox have worked together to maintain the country’s traditional and cultural sensitivity, they have cooperated with modernization in order to promote the advancement of their country. Also Know, what was the main goal of Japanese modernization? Omissions? Background to the Meiji Restoration Japan started investing in social and economic infrastructure during the Meiji Government. Question: How did Japan not change under the Meiji Restoration? Meiji prints enthusiastically portrayed the latest in Western fashions, leaving the impression that everyone embraced suits and dresses. The country was unified,replacing feudal domains. Wholesale Westernization was somewhat checked in the 1880s, however, when a renewed appreciation of traditional Japanese values emerged. The Meiji Restoration played a significant role in the modernisation of Japan. In addition, the new government carried out policies to unify the monetary and tax systems, with the agricultural tax reform of 1873 providing its primary source of revenue. Overview of the Tokugawa Shogunate of Japan, A Long History of Japanese Women Warriors, The Four-Tiered Class System of Feudal Japan, How the Samurai Ended During the Satsuma Rebellion. Commander Matthew Perry’s four gunboats in 1853 in Tokyo Bay, spurred the country to develop its military to match those of the U.S., Russia and … Another reform was the introduction in 1872 of universal education in the country, which initially put emphasis on Western learning. Telegraph lines linked all major cities by 1880. That was followed, after the end of the fighting, by the dismantling of the old feudal regime. Szczepanski, Kallie. Among those were: The abolition of the feudal system and all feudal class privileges. Finally in 1889 the Meiji Constitution, presented as a gift from the emperor to the people, was officially promulgated. Historian Mark Ravina has suggested that the leaders who created the events of 1866–69 did not do so only to emulate Western practices but also to restore and revive older Japanese institutions. By signing up for this email, you are agreeing to news, offers, and information from Encyclopaedia Britannica. Meiji prints enthusiastically portrayed the latest in Western fashions, leaving the impression that everyone embraced suits and dresses. At the same time, a growing popular rights movement, encouraged by the introduction of liberal Western ideas, called for the creation of a constitutional government and wider participation through deliberative assemblies. They felt that it was important to have a strong Emperor at the center of Japan's political organization to project Japanese power and fend off Western imperialism. Commodore Matthew Perry’s arrival at Edo Bay (Tokyo was once named Edo) in 1853 demonstrated to Japan the superior military power of the West. The perpetrators announced the ouster of Tokugawa Yoshinobu (the last shogun)—who by late 1867 was no longer effectively in power—and proclaimed the young emperor to be the ruler of the Japan. Be on the lookout for your Britannica newsletter to get trusted stories delivered right to your inbox. By 1906, school attendance was as high as 95%, and Japan boasted one of the highest literacy rates in the world. Iwakura understood that Japan would maintain sovereignty only if it embraced a certain degree of modernizatio… Let us know if you have suggestions to improve this article (requires login). Corrections? The reformers sought to bring far-reaching changes to Japanese society. The restoration event itself consisted of a coup d’état in the ancient imperial capital of Kyōto on January 3, 1868. During early industrialisation, women were worked in factories under poor conditions. A constitution was enacted, and a parliamentary system was formalized. The Meiji Restoration was a time for change and life of women was changing. The long-established multi-ethnic empires—Ottoman, Qinq, Romanov, and Hapsburg—were all deteriorating, to be replaced by nation states who asserted a specific cultural entity. The transformation was deep, comprehensive and complex, but for simplicity’s sake, here are seven ways in which the Meiji Restoration shaped modern Japan: 1 – Japan’s encounters with the colonial powers, beginning with the appearance of U.S. After all, mighty Qing China had been brought to its knees by Britain fourteen years earlier in the First Opium War, and would soon lose the Second Opium War as well. It brought momentous social, political and economic changes to Japan, and these changes became the foundation of the Japan we know today. The Meiji Restoration (明治維新) was a time of great change in Japan.In the Japanese language, Meiji-ishin is the term for the Meiji Restoration.The term describes a series of events that changed the shape of Japan’s political and social systems. When Commodore Matthew Perry of the U.S. steamed into Edo Bay (Tokyo Bay) in 1853 and demanded that Tokugawa Japan allow foreign powers access to trade, he unwittingly started a chain of events that led to Japan's rise as a modern imperial power. Our editors will review what you’ve submitted and determine whether to revise the article. By the early 20th century, the goals of the Meiji Restoration had been largely accomplished. A constitution, that was mainly based off of Western countries’ constitution. While modern Japan and the Orthodox have worked together to maintain the country’s traditional and cultural sensitivity, they have cooperated with modernization in order to promote the advancement of their country. … Western instruments and a formal music education were introduced, and as Japan became an imperial power military bands played a role in the shaping of Japanese society. Get an answer for 'Meijing Restoration How did the Meijing Restoration change politics in Japan? Agriculture in Japan also faced new changes during the Meiji Period. In 1885 a cabinet system was formed, and in 1886 work on the constitution began. The first action, taken in 1868 while the country was still unsettled, was to relocate the imperial capital from Kyōto to the shogunal capital of Edo, which was renamed Tokyo (“eastern capital”). Private firms were also encouraged by government financial support and aided by the institution of a European-style banking system in 1882. Discrimination against social classes ended, and the people had the freedom to practise any religion. All feudal class privileges were abolished as well. It is named for Mutsuhito, the Meiji Emperor, who served as the figurehead for the movement. On Nov. 19, 1867, Tokugawa Yoshinobu resigned his post as the fifteenth Tokugawa shogun. They were allowed to move freely and sell their products anywhere. The Meiji period that followed the Restoration was an era of major political, economic, and social change in Japan. Peasants, distrustful of the new regime and dissatisfied with its agrarian policies, also took part in revolts that reached their peak in the 1880s. They wanted to unite the country under a new, centralized government in order to strengthen their army to defend against foreign influence. In 1868 the Tokugawa shôgun ("great general"), who ruled Japan in the feudal period, lost his power and the emperor was restored to the supreme position. Members of the ruling samurai class had become concerned about the shogunate’s ability to protect the country as more Western countries attempted to “open” Japan after more than two hundred years of virtual isolation. What Was the Meiji Restoration? The ideas for the reforms largely came about as a result of trips that Japanese officials took to the United States and Europe. Once his power was secure, the Meiji Emperor (or more precisely, his advisors among the former daimyo and the oligarchs) set about refashioning Japan into a powerful modern nation. Politically, the shogun (military general, who was the real leader of Japan) was dissolved and replaced with the current diet (a parliamentary assembly). Politically, the shogun (military general, who was the real leader of Japan) was dissolved and replaced with the current diet (a parliamentary assembly). ThoughtCo, Aug. 26, 2020, thoughtco.com/what-was-the-meiji-restoration-195562. A constitution, that was mainly based off of Western countries’ constitution. When Meiji (coached by the Satsuma and Choshu lords) issued an imperial decree dissolving the house of Tokugawa, the shogun had no choice but to resort to arms. They were constantly exploited and denied any freedom. Itō Hirobumi, principal author of the Meiji Constitution. Five years after the emperor was restored to the throne, Meiji adviser Iwakura Tomomi led a delegation of nearly 50 government officials on an 18-month diplomatic mission to Europe and the United States. The Meiji Restoration, a significant era in Japanese history, saw the abolishment of the feudal system of the Tokagawa period. • With the restoration of Emperor Meiji (Mutsuhito), Japan experienced both modernisation and a return to traditional belief. By the end of the Meiji Era, these situations were less common. ...The Meiji Restoration was a significant turning point in Japanese history because it led to revolutionary changes in Japan’s economic and political structures. Among the many reforms that took place during the Meiji period, those regarding the school system have contributed the most to the enlightenment of the Japanese people. Saigō Takamori, leader of a major revolt against the Meiji government in the 1870s. The Meiji Restoration was a political and social revolution in Japan from 1866 to 1869 that ended the power of the Tokugawa shogun and returned the Emperor to a central position in Japanese politics and culture. The period of Japanese history after 1868 is often thought of primarily in terms of its Westernization. By 1906, school attendance was as high as 95%, and Japan boasted one of the highest literacy rates in the world. Those uprisings were repressed only with great difficulty by the newly formed army. The Meiji Restoration was a chain of events, triggered by an internal crisis and strong anti-Western sentiments, that ended the Edo period and thus the rule of the Tokugawa shogunate and restored practical imperial rule to Japan in 1868 under Emperor Meiji. Questions and answers about the Meiji Restoration. Their exports tripled and this enhanced the Japanese influence over other countries. Disgruntled samurai participated in several rebellions against the government, the most famous being led by the former restoration hero Saigō Takamori of Satsuma. First, the capital was moved from Kyoto to Edo, which became known as Tokyo. And it didn't happen in a vacuum. The Meiji Restoration: In 1868, Emperor Meiji created a massive reform in Japan that became known as the Meiji Restoration. Another change in Meiji Japan was for womens roles. Please refer to the appropriate style manual or other sources if you have any questions. Among the many reforms that took place during the Meiji period, those regarding the school system have contributed the most to the enlightenment of the Japanese people. The imperial line had existed since at least the mid-6th century, but for much of Japanese history the emperor had been virtually ignored and had no true power in government. The latter concern had its origins in the efforts by Western powers to “open” Japan, beginning in the 1850s after more than two centuries of near isolation, and the fear that Japan could be subjected to the same imperialist pressures that they observed happening in nearby China. The modernization of the Japanese army and navy during the Meiji period (1868–1912) and until the Mukden Incident (1931) was carried out by the newly founded national government, a military leadership that was only responsible to the Emperor, and with the help of France, Britain, and later Germany.. 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