How Did The Oligarchs Modernize Japan?

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Through out the Meiji period, the ruling Oligarchs made serious strides in bringing Japan from an almost medieval stage of development to a modern developed nation state. Almost all of the decisions these powerful men made in bringing their country forward were not made with the peoples best interest in mind, but rather in the Oligarchs lust for power and profit. When the Meiji rulers took over from the Tokugawa rulers, they knew they had to industrialize their country as fast as possible in order to keep up with Western technologies. For the most part the rulers used private companies to modernize the country. The private zaibatsu (10-15 extremely powerful corporations) ,the heads of which had direct ties to the ruling Oligarchs, directed the economy towards pure profit at the expense of workers rights. This modernization policy helped the ruling class expand the economy rapidly while still realizing vast profits. Not only in the economy was the Oligarchs hunger for power apparent, the way the government worked was to the direct benefit of the select few men in power. The elite men in power very shrewdly gave the public a sense that the…show more content…
Most of the ex-samurai families were initially in a great position to wield power in the new government, since they tended to be the land owners. There were some exceptions however, since in the new economy profit meant power, the merchant class did see a rise in influence in the new political system. Unfortunately this new power applied only to the very wealthy merchants who could make vast profits trading with other countries. The Oligarchs ended up opening the government somewhat to ‘commoners’ but only so far that they tended to pick people from the old ruling families since they tended to be the best educated, in effect keeping power in the Elites

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