HIST 118 ESSAY - Whitney Taylor HIST 118 MWF 10:00 Memories...

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Whitney Taylor HIST 118 MWF 10:00 Memories of Silk and Straw In reading Junichi Saga’s Memories of Silk and Straw I have come to the conclusion that the transition from the ways of the old village to the ways of the modern village was quite a smooth transition for most people. While some people, who were very traditional, were opposed to a lot of the new customs and ways, most took it in stride and continued on in this new way of life. They kind of had an attitude of “like it or not, [we’re] now a very different country” (Saga 167). Some people were worried that “now that life [had] become much easier, it [seemed] people [were] never satisfied, never grateful” (Saga 190). But eventually, the people accepted this new, modern era and used it to their advantage to turn their country into a formidable world power. This book addresses a lot of things that took place mostly during the Meiji Restoration. In this “turbulent era,” as described by Conrad Schirokauer, “reactions to the West varied widely. Some Japanese had an absolute hatred of anything western, [but] there were others who were determined to learn from the West” (Schirokauer 138). The opening of Japan occurred because of an armed mission by Commodore Matthew C. Perry in 1853. Treaties were formed with America, and soon France, Denmark, and Russia had also negotiated agreements. The Shogun realized the importance of modernization and eventually led the rest of the country to believe the same thing. If they had not realized this they may have suffered the same fate as China. The men who eventually overthrew the shogunate and started the Meiji Restoration had a few policies that they believed in. They wrote up the Charter Oath to set up some form of
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purpose for the new age. It called for some sort of democratic government, promotion of the economy, an open military, enactment and acceptance of international law, and an open opinion on foreign ideas and policies. “Although the government was reorganized to provide for an assembly, power remained with the original leadership. In contrast, the end of seclusion, the acceptance of international law, and the openness to foreign ideas” (Schirokauer 142) that were stated in the articles did take place. The government then went about the risky work of dismantling the han. The daimyo were slowly forced to give up their domains to the emperor.
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This note was uploaded on 05/16/2008 for the course HIST 118 taught by Professor Mochizuki during the Fall '08 term at Kansas.

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HIST 118 ESSAY - Whitney Taylor HIST 118 MWF 10:00 Memories...

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