A number of internal and external factors shaped Japan’s early civilization. However, the Meiji restoration stands out from the other factors. The Meiji era occurred between 1868 and 1912 (Huffman). Additionally, Meiji Restoration was a peaceful coup that occurred in 1868 (Huffman). According to the Photographic Book, the Meiji Era began when Tokugawa Shogunate was overthrown by the imperialist.
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The leaders of the imperial government were youthful Samurai (Photographic Book). After the coup, it took Japan forty-five years to become a modern state and a powerful colonial power (Huffman). Other highlights of the Meiji era include abolition of the Samurai class, expansion of Japan’s territory and development of a stronger military. This essay discuses the role of the Meiji government in shaping Japan’s early civilization.
The Meiji government planned to transform Japan into a competitive modern state. For that reason, leaders who advocated for radical changes in Japan prevailed. In 1868, the government declared its reform goals and promised to consult the people when necessary (Photographic Book). The Photographic Book adds that the regime also promised to seek extra knowledge from external partners. Additionally, the Meiji restoration was to provide leadership in abandoning outdated customs (Photographic Book).
According to Huffman, the Meiji government developed nationalism in Japan. However, nationalism could not have occurred without unification of all domains in Japan. Therefore, by 1871, Japan has a centralized system of government (Photographic Book). This occurred when the Meiji regime managed to convince all domains to surrender their powers to the central government (Photographic Book). Afterwards, the regime embarked on a campaign to instill national pride.
Japan journey to modernity was also initiated by the Meiji government. After unification of the domains, half of the Meiji leaders were sent on diplomatic assignments worldwide (Photographic Book). Historians refer to these diplomatic assignments as the Iwakura missions (Photographic Book).
These missions found out that the development in the western world had occurred within two centuries only (Photographic Book). From these findings, Japan felt that it was possible to achieve modernization and industrialization in a shorter time. Japan, then, embarked on reforming its entire economy. For instance, elementary education became compulsory and better taxation laws were formulated (Photographic Book). As a result, Japan became one of the most modernized states.
In 1876, the Meiji government halted its payments to the Samurai class. Furthermore, the regime brought to an end Samurai’s privilege to carry swords (Photographic Book). For that reason, there were a number of rebellions by the Samurai class. However, all the uprisings were successfully crashed by the government. As a result, Japan brought an end to the Samurai class.
The Meiji government should also be credited with the expanding. For instance, in the 1870s, the government captured and controlled islands adjacent to Japan (Photographic Book). This regime also drafted a plan to colonize Hokkaid and successfully captured Ryukyu and Bonin Island.
Through an agreement with Russia, Japan was also able to control Kuril Islands (Photographic Book). Furthermore, the Meiji government had a strong military. This military defeated China in the Sino-Japanese War in 1894. A decade later, Japan defeated Russia in the Russo-Japanese Wars.
In conclusion, the Meiji era saw Japan establish it’s self as one of the modern states in the world. In addition, Japanese people embraced the spirit of nationalism during this period. Furthermore, under the Meiji regime, Japan was able to expand and had a stronger military.
Photographic Book. Meiji Restoration. Web.
Huffman, James. 2008. The Meiji Restoration Era, 1868-1889. 2008. Web.