What was the Meiji Restoration? How was Japanese life transformed during the forty-five years that followed? Discuss.

The Meiji Restoration was a political and social revolution in Japan in 1866-69, which ended the power of the Tokugawa shogun and returned the Emperor to a central position in Japanese politics and culture.
Transformation of Japan after Meiji restoration:
The Meiji restoration was a crucial period of transistion of Japan from a pre modern to modern society. The meji restoration affected all the social, political and economic aspects of Japan as well as its military.

  • Meiji restoration able to create a centralized and bureaucratic government
  • The feudal system was swept away, along with its strict class system.
  • Universal education was introduced to Japan. Schooling combined Western ideas with Japanese culture. So all of a sudden, Japan had a highly educated population with more social mobility.
  • The traditional samurai system was abolished, and a conscript military, on lines of the west, was created. Modernization of the military was started, which helped it to victory in the Sino- Japanese and the Russo-Japanese wars.
  • Adopted the slogan “Wealthy Country and Strong Arms” which proved to be a cardinal doctrine of Japan’s imperialist expansion
  • Contacts with the Europeans was encouraged. Even the govt was organized on Western lines. A Japanese Parliament called the Diet was setup on lines of the Dutch parliament
  • Trade also increased which leds to development of Banking and financial system

In the end, the Meiji restoration was extremely successful. Some of the changes brought are still followed in Japan. It made Japan the developed country it is today.


Leave a Reply