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The Meiji Restoration And How Education Helped The Permanance Of The New Regime

730 words - 3 pages

As said by Albert Craig, "It was not a revolution, not a change in the name of new values but rather, a change carried out in the name of old values ..."The Meiji Restoration from 1868 created both an institutional and constitution structure that allowed Japan in the coming decades to be a stable and industrializing country.A perfect example of the reforms that were a significant contributor in achieving the new regime's goals and ensuring its permanence is in education.When the Emperor Meiji first came to the throne, his Government made it clear in the Charter Oath of April 1868 its intentions not to confront the foreign threat but to learn from it and incorporate its strengths. One of the main implementations of altering the nation's previous mindset from "Revere the Emperor, expel the Barbarians" to "Japanese spirit, westernlearning" was through the stressed free thought and the encouragement to explore the ideas of western culture. In 1871 a ministry of education was established to provide education to all people, regardless of social class or gender. Tokyo University, Japan's first modern university was established in 1877 and became a prominent employer of foreign experts. The people realized the superiority of the western culture particularly in areas of technological advancement and thus strived to gain knowledge. This enabled a process of modernization that was not only smooth and swift, but also gained the government popularity which ensured the permanence of the new regime.Initially western texts were direct translations, therefore exposing the people to ideas such as egalitarianism and individual rights. By the end of the 1870s the new regimehad realized the potential problem emerging from this for although they wanted the people to be encouraged to become strong and achieve,they didn't want this to affect the authority of the government. As Henshaw puts it "Their newly liberated energies needed to be harnessed."The ideal solution was Nationalism and by 1890 the education system of Japan became a tool for indoctrination into what Peter Duus calls "a kind of civil religion" with the Imperial Rescript on Education. This Rescript stressed two things. First, it stressed loyalty to the emperor and to a lesser extant to the...

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