Japan, Meiji Period

Meiji restoration

Meiji restoration, The term refers to both the events of 1868 that led to the "restoration" of power to the emperor and the entire period of revolutionary changes that coincided with the Meiji emperor's reign (1868–1912). The power of the Tokugawa shogunate, weakened by debt and internal division, had declined, and much opposition had built up in the early 19th cent. The intrusion of Western powers, particularly the Americans under Admiral Matthew C. Perry, precipitated further discontent. Under pressure, the Tokugawa shogunate submitted (1854) to foreign demands and signed treaties that ended Japan's isolation. The powerful Choshu and Satsuma domains of W Japan tried to resist the foreigners on their own and were defeated (1863). These domains, excluded from the Tokugawa governing councils because of their status as tozama, or outside daimyo, then demanded creation of a new government loyal to the emperor to expel the foreigners. In Jan., 1868, samurai from these domains, with the support of anti-Tokugawa court nobles, succeeded in a palace coup that abolished the shogunate and "returned" power to the emperor. The court was moved from Kyoto to Tokyo, where a centralized administration was created. The new Meiji government moved quickly to discard the feudal system and launch a series of reforms that profoundly changed Japanese society. These reform programs—administrative, economic, social, legal, educational, and military—were carried out under the slogan "fukoku Kyohei" (enrich the country and strengthen the military). The government adopted many policies designed to create a modern economy and society. Students were sent to Europe and the United States to study modern science and technology, while foreign experts were hired to help establish factories and educational institutions. In 1889 the Meiji Constitution was adopted. In the late Meiji years, Japan won the Sino–Japanese war in 1895, defeated Russia in 1905, abolished the treaties with the West, and became a world power.

See K. B. Pyle, The New Generation in Meiji Japan (1969); W. G. Beasley, The Meiji Restoration (1972); C. Gluck, Japan's Modern Myths: Ideology in the Late Meiji Period (1985); M. Umegaki, After the Restoration: The Beginning of Japan's Modern State (1988).

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright© 2018, The Columbia University Press.

Japan, Meiji Period: Selected full-text books and articles

A Modern History of Japan: From Tokugawa Times to the Present By Andrew Gordon Oxford University Press, 2003
Librarian's tip: Part 2 "Modern Revolution: 1868-1905"
The Making of Modern Japan By Marius B. Jansen Belknap Press, 2000
Librarian's tip: Multiple chapters on Meiji Japan.
Intellectual Conscience and Self-Cultivation (Shuyo) as Imperatives in Japan's Modernization: Mori Ogai, Youth (Seinen, 1910-11) By Frentiu, Rodica Review of European Studies, Vol. 5, No. 2, June 2013
PEER-REVIEWED PERIODICAL
Peer-reviewed publications on Questia are publications containing articles which were subject to evaluation for accuracy and substance by professional peers of the article's author(s).
The Uneven and Combined Development of the Meiji Restoration: A Passive Revolutionary Road to Capitalist Modernity By Allinson, Jamie C.; Anievas, Alexander Capital & Class, Vol. 34, No. 3, October 2010
PEER-REVIEWED PERIODICAL
Peer-reviewed publications on Questia are publications containing articles which were subject to evaluation for accuracy and substance by professional peers of the article's author(s).
A Political History of Japan during the Meiji Era, 1867-1912 By Walter Wallace McLaren George Allen & Unwin, 1916
Japan's Emergence as a Modern State: Political and Economic Problems of the Meiji Period By E. Herbert Norman International Secretariat, Institute of Pacific Relations, 1940
The Empress' New Clothes and Japanese Women, 1868-1912 By Hastings, Sally A The Historian, Vol. 55, No. 4, Summer 1993
PEER-REVIEWED PERIODICAL
Peer-reviewed publications on Questia are publications containing articles which were subject to evaluation for accuracy and substance by professional peers of the article's author(s).
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