Meiji Restoration began when Commodore Matthew Perry of the United States moved into the Edo Bay [Tokyo Bay] and demanded that Tokugawa Japan to agree to foreign powers access trade in the nation in 1853. Through this new trade establishments, a sequence of events stated led by the Japan’s rise as modern imperial power house. With time, the Japan’s political intellectuals realized that the U.S and other neighboring countries are ahead in terms of military technology and so they felt vulnerable to western colonialism.
Japan political elites felt that rather than suffer to similar fate like the mighty Qing China in the hands of British colony, they had to close their doors against foreign influence and come up with their own modernization plan. They had to restore the emperor and build a great Japan’s political organization to hold off the western colonialists and project Japanese power. In 1866, the Hisamitsu of Satsuma domain and Kido Takayoshi of Choshu domain formed an alliance to work against Tokugawa Shogunate.
These leaders sought to overthrow the Tokugawa Shogun and place their own Emperor Komei into power. Through him, it became easy to keep away the western colonizers. Komei died in 1867 and his young son Mutsuhito took over the throne as the Meiji Emperor in 1867. Tokugawa Yoshinobu resigned as the 15th Tokugawa Shogun transferring his power to young emperor who was stubborn to give up power easily. Presented with such chance, the Meiji Emperor issued a majestic ruling dissolving the house of Tokugawa a move that yielded good fruits.
The Boshin war broke up in 1868 when the Yoshinobu troops clashed with the samurai army from the Meiji emperor. The war lasted until May of 1869 and the Meiji Emperor’s armies had the artillery to win the war and the Tokugawa Yoshinobu surrendered to the Satsuma handing over the Edo Castle. This meant the Meiji Restoration was inexorable and ready for modernization. Besides, building unstoppable samurai army, the Meiji Restoration guaranteed incredible changes in the nation.
The Meiji Emperor set about great ways on transforming Japan into a more powerful modern nation. The empire abolished the four-tiered class structure and built a modern recruit army that used western-style uniforms, tactics and weapons in place of the samurai. The Emperor also ordered elementary education for both boys and girls. Improving manufacturing in Japan was the next set in his agenda. The emperor set out to transform textile manufacturing and other goods to heavy machinery and weapons production. By 1889, the Meiji construction exhibited on Prussia.
Within a few decade, the Meiji Restoration transformed Japan from a semi-isolated island country, under the threat of western domination to an imperial power house in its own will. To under more pain to the westerns, Japan seized control of Korea, won the Sino-Japanese war of 1894-1895 by defeating the Qing China and historically defeating the Tsar’s navy and army during the Russo-Japanese War of 1904-1905. In spite of the many traumas and social upset caused by the Meiji Restoration, Japan was transformed into a great nation and ranked among the world super powers. Today, japan remains the third largest economy in the globe and a voice to reckon in the innovation and technology field thanks to the Meiji Restoration.
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