His father was a then deposed member of the Tokugawa military class in Japan. He developed a keen interest in English and photography at this time. He studied the collotype printing process and copper plate process at the Albert Type Company in Boston.
This article was originally written for Japan Society's previous site for educators, "Journey through Japan," in Change was the currency of the Meiji era — Sources of the Meiji Restoration To understand the dynamism of the Meiji years, one must begin with the factors in the Tokugawa era — that made Japan a unique and sophisticated nation.
Even the Europeans, who had participated in some of the sixteenth century conflicts, were tightly controlled in these years, with most of them excluded from Japan altogether and the Dutch alone allowed to maintain a limited trading presence at Nagasaki, nearly 1, miles away from the capital.
The system also encouraged the growth of important national institutions. Thousands of schools tied to temples, government offices, and private scholars gave Japan a literacy rate of perhaps 40 percent for boys and 10 percent for girls in the early s, ranking it near the top of the world.
They also provided a leadership class committed to the Confucian ideal of public service. Industry and trade flourished, even as the samurai class and the Tokugawa government languished economically, giving Japan high levels of capital accumulation.
At the same time, a set of specific developments historians would call them contingencies made late-Tokugawa Japan ripe for change. And perhaps most important, the balance between Tokugawa and domain governments began shifting, with large and distant domains such as Satsuma in southern Kyushu and Choshu on western Honshu experiencing political and economic growth even as the shogunate sunk ever more deeply into a kind of inflexibility caused in part by old age.
Opposition to the Tokugawa arose from several quarters. They were too much on the outside to topple the government, but their terrorist acts disrupted the tranquility of political centers in ways that had not been seen for centuries.
More directly threatening to the Tokugawa were the growing challenges after the late s from establishment scholars and political leaders of major domains. The shogunate reacted as aggressively as any regime-under-attack might be expected to, but by the mids, Choshu was in the hands of an anti-Tokugawa administration, and by lateShogun Tokugawa Keiki concluded that the best way to preserve order was to resign as shogun and create a system in which he likely would share power as the chief among a council of leaders.
The Transition to Meiji, — The government that came into being in had three overriding characteristics: By Japanese leadership standards, these men were mere juveniles—unbound by the networks and mores of traditional leadership. This, perhaps, is what made them so pragmatic; they developed policies without the restraints of ideology or custom—or of any overriding vision of where Japan should go.
Confucian tradition discouraged commerce, but they moved Japan as forcefully and quickly as possible into the world of international commerce.
Whereas they once had supported the idea of national seclusion, sometimes fanatically so, now they made the West their model and pursued internationalization with a vengeance.
Samurai and nobles all, they abolished the class and status systems and disbanded the feudal domains. The tenuousness of their power was illustrated by the Boshin War, a violent conflict between the new regime and the Tokugawa followers, which raged for a year and a half after the Restoration.
It was little wonder that journalists predicted the imminent collapse of the Meiji government well into the s. All of this meant that the first Meiji years were characterized by a seat-of-the-pants, try-this-try-that style of governing.
No one seemed, however, to know just what that meant initially, as the government grappled with inadequate revenues, challenges from imperialist nations, threats from the regional domains, conspiracies by disgruntled samurai across the nation, and a complete lack of precedents for the organizational structures the modern era demanded.
One result was that the government structure was reorganized repeatedly in the first years. Another was that membership in the leadership faction kept shifting. Still a third was that policies were revised often.
At the same time there was a single, clear direction: And always there was a commitment to making Japan a modern nation, accepted as an equal by the world powers.
Internationalization showed up in two ways. First, the new leaders studied Western models with a zeal born of deep fear that weakness might invite invasion. They sent missions to the West, including a member group headed by head of state Iwakura Tomomi in —, to negotiate and to study institutions such as banking, schools, political systems, and treaty structures.
They also dispatched young people to study in European and American educational institutions. The treaties of the s had limited the tariffs Japan could charge on imports to an average of about five percent and had required that foreigners who committed crimes in Japan be tried in the courts of the foreign consulates a system called extraterritoriality.
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Beside being humiliating, the restrictions deprived Japan of both sovereignty and tariff revenues, money desperately needed for modernization programs.
As a result the government sought endlessly to secure fairer treaties during the s.
The British consistently blocked reform, however, and extraterritoriality was not ended untiltariff limits until The Meiji Restoration transformed Japan into something new: a modern nation-state. We'll look closely at the causes, the major accomplishments, and the effects of the Meiji Restoration.
Hiroshima: On August 6, , an American B bomber named the Enola Gay left the island of Tinian for Hiroshima, Japan. This section recounts the first atomic bombing. The Meiji Restoration (明治維新, Meiji Ishin), also known as the Meiji Renovation, Revolution, Reform, or Renewal, was an event that restored practical imperial rule to the Empire of Japan in under Emperor barnweddingvt.comgh there were ruling Emperors before the Meiji Restoration, the events restored practical abilities and consolidated the political system under the Emperor of Japan.
Essay: The Meiji Restoration The Meiji restoration refers to the re-emergence of an emperor in Japan. This change in power came after the fall of the Tokugawa Shogunate, which was caused by the uprising of a group of Samurai who .
(This essay is excerpted and modified from Teaching About Women in China and Japan, by Lyn Reese, found in Social Education, NCSS, March ) (the Ch’ien T’ao poem is from Kenneth Rexroth & Ling Chung, Women Poets of China, New Directions Book, ).
Remember, the syllables are counting the Japanese poem by English syllable standards, not the English translation. Anyway, by Japanese standards this is a perfectly straightforward, well-structured haiku, but from the English syllable perspective it's not.