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Meiji Restoration Essay

1026 words - 5 pages

Paul Seley
Global Studies II Honors
Mrs. Riley 1st
April 29, 2008
The Meiji Restoration: Life or Honor
The Meiji Restoration period in Japan is known to historians as the end of Japan’s isolationism, and its entrance into the world as a global player. Japan’s economy was greatly bolstered, and new philosophies and ideals from the west flooded in. These ideas opened minds to different ways of thought. Because of the new technology of the period brought about by other countries Japan was able to mass produce consumer and industrial goods. Along with production, this new technological age also led to huge advancements in warfare. No longer did the warrior use swords and armor, but ...view middle of the document...

The Sat-Cho rebellious armies attacked the shogun’s forces in Kyoto, causing the shogunate system to collapse. After the collapse, the Sat-Cho leaders proclaimed that the power of the emperor had been restored, and placed a young man by the name of Mutsuhito at the throne. However, soon after the rebellion led to fight against relations with the west, the leaders of the new empire realized that their country simply would not survive long if it continued to isolate itself. Japan regretfully came to the conclusion that their military was not strong enough to resist a full-scale war to keep its isolationist ideals. Therefore, Japan was forced into unfair economic treaties and sanctions.
These events led to a reform in Japan. Many things kept independent from other influences were now subject to change. Because of this new mingling of the west and east in Japan, Japan assimilated, and changed itself in many aspects. Western dress and music was customary in lavish parties, and even the emperor himself dressed in western attire. Like the early industrial revolution, workers in the coal mines and textile factories were horribly exploited. The conditions were deplorable and the hours were long, sometimes as long as 20 hour days. There were some positive aspects though; women’s rights were greatly improved. Women were now free to seek an education, and were able to have an inheritance. The younger generation was not free of this influence, in fact they were the ones who were most affected. It became popular to imitate the western style of dress, music, and social behavior. These are some of the few roles of Shogunate Japan that were changed
The role that was most altered, however, was not the common man, but the warrior, the solider. Before Japan was westernized, the warrior of Japan was depicted as the Samurai. However, after the Meiji restoration, the warrior was changed into the modern day foot soldier. The way of the samurai is classified as endless hours of training, and a lifestyle that...

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