The Rise And Development Of Nationalism In Meiji, Japan Was A Result Of Government Modernization Efforts

724 words - 3 pages

The Rise and Development of Nationalism in Meiji, Japan was a Result of Government Modernization Efforts

The rise and development of nationalism in Meiji Japan was a result of
government modernization efforts.

The ban on Christianity was lifted and the Meiji government practiced
religion toleration. Foreign missionaries were allowed to propagate
Christianity and carry out educational and medical work. However,
Christianity made little headway among the Japanese. By 1900, less
than 1% of the population became Christians.

With the Meiji Restoration, in order to carry out the modernization
programme, the Japanese government made Shinto as the state religion
so as to push forward their reforms more easily. Though the government
patronized the spread of Shintoism for obvious political reasons,
Shinto studies emphasized the divine and mystical origin of the
Japanese Emperor. They taught that the Sun Goddess was the founder of
the state and Tenno was the first emperor of Japan. Because of this
divine origin, the Japanese race was braver, more virtuous and
intelligent than all the other races. As children of gods, the
Japanese were entrusted with a divine mission to ‘save’ the rest of
the world.

In short, Shintoism had three elements: a religious devotion to the
throne, a belief in divine mission and a concept of superiority of the
Japanese race. These concepts were exploited by the Meiji oligarchs to
fan up Japanese nationalism in the late 19ty century. They made
Shintoism, the state religion, and they wrote in Article One of the
Meiji Constitution that Japan ‘should be over and governed by a line
of Emperor unbroken for ages eternal’. By using in their service the
symbol of the Emperor, they were able to push forward their reforms,
to appeal to the people’s emotions and to emphasize the imperial
loyalty. This emperor-centred nationalism was so successfully
implanted that...

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