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Unformatted text preview: rchy was the press. A number of the embryonic newspapers of the early Restoration period had been staffed by
former shogunate officials hostile to the new Satsuma and Chòshû leaders
in the government. With the continued growth of a modern press, this
opposition was taken up by journalists who were largely former samurai
excluded from government by han cliquism. Many members of the emergent political parties, in fact, first got their start in journalism. Moreover,
many newspapers founded in the early Meiji period were intended by
their founders to serve as mouthpieces for specific political and social
views, almost invariably of an antigovernment tone. Hence, journalism in
modern Japan was in its early development distinctly a journalism of protest, and it was to a great extent for this reason that the Meiji oligarchs
so readily and frequently attacked journalists through the issuance of restrictive press laws.
The temper of the 1880s in Japan was markedly different from that of
the 1870s. For the first decade or so following the Restoration, the Japanese had pursued with great, and often indiscriminate, enthusiasm the
remaking of their country on Western lines. In the 1880s, they not only
modified their earlier, naive admiration for the West but also began to
reassess and find new value in their native traditions. For the oligarchs,
it became incumbent to enunciate a coherent ideology for the state they 248 Encounter with the West were in the process of constitutionally fashioning. The way in which they
did this can be seen most clearly in their policy toward education.
In its act of 1872, the Meiji government had proclaimed the goal of
universal primary education, and, during most of the remainder of the
decade, it had sought to provide training to Japanese schoolchildren that
stressed practical subjects and encouraged Western-style individualistic
thinking. But, by the beginning of the 1880s, the official attitude had
changed and the government now took deliberate steps both to reinstate
traditional moral training in the schools and to redefi...
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This note was uploaded on 02/08/2013 for the course ANTH 142 taught by Professor Hans during the Spring '13 term at UBC.
- Spring '13