Between 1968 and 1912, Japan was going through a reformation called Meiji Restoration in order make the country strong as western countries. It had caused changes in many parts of Japan such as society, government, military, etc. Some of these changes still can be seen in the Japanese society today such as emperors are honored by Japanese citizens and seen as a special figure. Since this reformation had a great impact on development of Japan, it can be consider as a very important part of Japanese history.This study will seek to answer the question: To what extent did the Meiji Restoration succeeded to reform and strengthen Japan? In order to answer the question, the investigation will analyze military reform and economic reform caused by Meiji Restoration. Also, the investigation will analyze some counter-arguments against Meiji Restoration. When these events are analyzed, historical evidence and historiography from books and websites are also given.
Section B: Summary of Evidence
Choshu and Satsuma clans gathered together to defeat the Tokugawa Shogunate during the Bakumatsu period. This was the Boshin War. (1868-69)
Tokugawa shogunate was defeated and Emperor Meiji (Mutsuhito) became the new leader of Japan.
Meiji Restoration began at 1868 and ended by Emperor’s death in 1912.
The new government tried to reform Japan through the rule of Meiji which means “enlightened rule” and they tried to reform Japan and tried to make it strong as the western countries.
Emperor has announced his goals and aims of Meiji Restoration through Charter Oath:
By this oath, we set up as our aim the establishment of the national wealth on a broad basis and the framing of a constitution and laws.
Deliberative assemblies shall be widely established and all matters decided by open discussion.
All classes, high and low, shall be united in vigorously carrying out the administration of affairs of state.
The common people, no less than the civil and military officials, shall all be allowed to pursue their own calling so that there may be no discontent.
Evil customs of the past shall be broken off and everything based upon the just laws of Nature.
Knowledge shall be sought throughout the world so as to strengthen the foundation of imperial rule.
By this reformation, Meiji Constitution was created by the government and all of the laws were renewed.
Emperor gained control of the government and shogun and daimyos lost their power. Also, emperor were seen became the commander of the military and head of shintoism. He was seen as a god-figure.
Due process was introduced for punishing the criminal
Citizens were allowed to have many rights (freedom of speech, freedom of religion, etc) unless the emperor allows it
This reformation changed the system of Japanese military which samurai lost their power and they weren’t be able to hold their swords anymore. Instead, Japan started to develop western weapons and draft system was adopted into Japanese society....