Japanese Meiji Period

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University of Toronto St. George
East Asian Studies
Ken Kawashima

Japanese Meiji Period (1868-1912): 1867-1868: + Tokugawa era end in Meiji Restoration + Emperor Meiji moved from Kyoto to Tokyo which became new capital; his imperial power was restored + actual political power transferred from Tokugawa Bakufu into hands of a small group of nobles and former samurai + Japan forced to sign unequal treaties with Western powers -> treaties granted Westerners one-sided economical and legal advantages in Japan + Japan wanted to regain independence and become a respected nation in the world, determined to close the gap to Western powers economically and militarily = drastic reforms carried out in all areas. Reformations: + stabilize new government -> formal feudal lords (daimyo) had to return all their lands to emperor – achieved in 1870 and followed by restructuring of country in prefectures + education system reform introduced compulsory education after one-two decades of intensive westernization, revival of conservative and nationalistic feelings took place: principles of Confucianism and Shinto including worship of emperor emphasized and taught at educational institutions + Japanese scholars sent abroad to study Western sciences and languages while foreign experts taught in Japan… transform agrarian economy of Tokugawa Japan into a developed industrial one. - transportation and communication networks improved via large government investments - government supported prospering of businesses and industries, especially large and po
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