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Unformatted text preview: Early Modern Background Japan in 19th century- a highly urbanized, well-educated society. Edo, the capital, larger than London in the same period. A feudalistic system that was nonetheless run by a central government-- the bakufu, run by the Tokugawa shogun and the Senior Council composed of daimyo (domain lords). Each domain had its own army and a great level of autonomy in terms of politics. Social units divided into samurai, farmers, artisans and merchants. Samurai did not own lands but were paid bushels of rice (koku) as if they were landowners. Closed door policy: Nagasaki port the only acknowledged channel for transaction with Euro-American nations. Despite the bakufus ban, scientific and other types of information flowed in. Commercialization and urbanization: Erosion of the samurai status, still being paid in kind (i.e. bushels of rice), and rise of the wealthy merchants in the local areas. Breakdown of social control: increasing migration to the cities, border control weakened. The bakufu and domain govnts refused to accept the reality of money economy. Reforms usually meant less spending, currency manipulation, rather than embracing money. Merchants developed guilds and entered into monopoly relationship with the domain govnts and the bakufu. Pressures from Western imperialists: Dutch and British, to open the trade. Tokugawa authorities practiced attack and expunge policy but Japans decentralized political system did not work well for planning comprehensive coastal defense. Chinas loss in the Opium War (1840-1843) a big shock. 1844. Dutch kings letter to the bakufu. 1846. James Biddles aborted attempt to open the trade. 1853. Commodore Matthew Perry arrives at Uraga Port, Edo Bay. Abe Masahiro (Head Councilor) consults all daimyo lords, an unprecedented initiative. 1858. Signing of the commercial treaty with American minister Townsend Harris. Meiji Restoration Emperor Kmeis secret edict to Mito, the hotbed of (Emperor-centered) Loyalism. Revere the Emperor and Expel the Barbarian ( sonn ji &#2; &#0; &#0; &#0; ) Movement. Not a coherent political program, but with a wide appeal among the young lower- ranking samurai, looking for a cause. Tokugawa Nariaki (Mito domain lord) and a coalition of the daimyo lords, looking for ways to reform the shogunate....
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- Fall '10