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PSCI319 research paper

PSCI319 research paper - Joe DeCrane PSCI 319 4.15.2007...

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Joe DeCrane PSCI 319 4.15.2007 Research Paper Meiji Restoration: The Meiji Restoration also known as the Meiji Ishinwas a series of events that led to enormous changes in Japan's political and social structure. It occurred in the latter half of the 19th century, a period that traverses both the late Edo period, often referred to as the Late Tokugawa Shogunate, and the beginning of the Meiji Era. This restoration made Imperial Japan a great power by restoring the power of emperor, as well as modernizing the country. This paper will look at that and many more aspects of the restoration period in Japan. The formation in 1866 of the Satsuma-Choshu Alliance between Saigo Takamori, the leader of the Satsuma domain, and Kido Takayoshi, the leader of the Choshu domain, built the foundation of the Meiji restoration. These two leaders supported the Emperor Komei, Emperor Meiji's father, and were brought together by Sakamoto Ryoma for the purpose of challenging the ruling Tokugawa Shogunate and restoring the emperor to power (3). When studied it seems that most scholars would agree with the fact that the Meiji Restoration was a direct response to the intrusion of Western powers, particularly the Americans under Admiral Matthew C. Perry. The main reason many scholars believe that Commander Perry’s intrusion was the start of the Restoration is that the power of the
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DeCrane 2 Tokugawa shogunate, which had been weakened by debt and internal division, had declined, and much opposition had built up in the early 19th century prior to his arrival. When the Tokugawa shogunate found themselves under pressure from the western powers in 1854, they submitted to the demands of the foreigners and signed treaties that ended Japan's isolation (4). The reason many claim this to be the beginning is that many Japanese either resented the west, or were afraid that powerful western states would come and take over. In response to the signing of the western treaties, many of the Satsuma and Choshu became angry. The powerful Choshu and Satsuma domains of western Japan tried to resist the foreigners on their own and were defeated. These domains, which were excluded from the Tokugawa governing councils because of their status as tozama , or outside daimyo’s, then demanded the creation of a new government loyal to the emperor to expel the foreigners(4). In Jauarary 1868, samurai from these domains, with the support of anti-Tokugawa court nobles, succeeded in raiding the palace and “returning” power to Emperor Meiji (4). Emperor Meiji, who’s given name was Mutsuhito, ascended the throne when he was a mere 15 years of age. Emperor Meiji was the “surviving son of Emperor Kōmei by the lady-in-waiting Nakayama Yoshiko, the daughter of Lord Nakayama Tadayasu, sometime minister of the left and a scion of the Fujiwara (3).” Emperor Meiji was born only eight months before the arrival of Commander Perry and the United States squadron of "Black Ships" in Edo Bay, and two years before the first of the treaties which the Tokugawa shogunate signed with Perry.
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