Effects of the Meiji Restoration

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The Effects of the Meiji Restoration The Meiji Restoration occurred when Japan restored rule away from the Shogunate and back to the Emperor. “The symbol of the new era was the young emperor himself, who had taken the reign name Meiji (“enlightened rule”) on ascending the throne after the death of his father in 1867” (Duiker 56). History within Japan as well as Japan’s relations with outsiders was greatly affected by this “restoration”. The Japanese became convinced that they would have to allow western thoughts to infiltrate their society in order to “escape from a “shameful inferiority” to the west which might have led them to the same fate of the Chinese and Indians” (Roberts 673). This restoration brought about significant changes to the Japanese culture in terms of social order of the entire country, education, and mass modernization. Japan was confident at home and ready to face the rest of the world. This made Japan unique compared to the rest of its Asian neighbours, since they were willing to adopt Western ideologies in order to develop into a nation equal to existing power countries. After the reinstatement of the Emperor, Japan was united under one ruler, however, the country was divided. A majority of the people understood what the benefits of modernization for Japan would be. There were groups who were against the Western ideology. One of these groups was the Samurai. Under the previous Tokugawa regime, the samurai were the highest of the four social classes. Japan’s new direction included abolition of the old ordered class system; “even the consultative assembly of samurai, though it continued in a modified form, was allowed to fall into disguise” (Beasley 102). This abolitions of feudalism resulted in a controlled taxation system. To ensure a steady income, the government imposed a new agricultural tax. This rate was “set at an annual rate of

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