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Feudalism to Modernity: Japan's Transition

In: Historical Events

Submitted By reborn4102
Words 663
Pages 3
Question: What steps did Japan take to reform its system of feudalism to a more modern form of government? The 18th through 19th century was truly an imperialistic era orchestrated by military superiority by the West. In the interest of avoiding battles they undoubtedly would have lost, East Asian nations signed lopsided treaties that benefited the West. Not only did the treaties open East Asian ports for trade, a demand the West insisted on, but in some cases they included land cessions to the West. The Japanese, having witnessed the demise of the once great Qing Dynasty, were determined to avoid the same destructive folly in their homeland. Japan embarked on a thorough introspection and restructuring that resulted in a modern form of government. Japan was in a new era and they would soon become East Asia’s greatest power. The Shogunate unintentionally sparked the beginning of the restoration period in Japan when he reversed the nation’s long standing sakoku—closed door policy. Many of the samurai and nobles thought the Shogun was showing weakness when he conceded to America’s demands and signed an unequal treaty favoring the West. The first step towards reform began when Japanese troops seized the Imperial Palace and convinced the young Emperor that the Shogun must be overthrown in order to usher in a new imperial era of leadership in Japan. This led to the Boshin War which was a civil war led by imperial forces to uproot the Shogun and his supporters. The Shogun submitted in 1869 partly because he too began to realize that a centralized form of government was necessary if Japan had any hopes of avoiding the same demise as China. With the civil war over the Japanese officially began restoration of their government. The Meiji leaders composed the Charter Oath; a document that pronounced the general policy of the new government. It was an all-inclusive document…...

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