Published on March 27, 2008
The Meiji Restoration: The Meiji Restoration Asia’s “Success Story” in the Age of Imperialism Tokugawa Japan: Tokugawa Japan Since 1600, Tokugawa Japan had followed a policy of isolationism Shoguns had closed Japan off to foreign traders and missionaries and did not allow Japanese to travel overseas Tokugawa Japan: Tokugawa Japan Many Japanese felt this was the best way to preserve Japanese culture and independence But as European colonialism spread throughout Asia, it became obvious that Japanese isolation could not last forever Japan Opened: Japan Opened In 1853, a fleet of American ships commanded by Commodore Matthew Perry sailed to Tokyo demanding the Japanese open their ports for trade Japan Opened : Japan Opened The reluctant shogun was forced to accept several unequal treaties very much like the ones that existed between the Chinese and British (Treaty of Kanagawa) Soon other European powers moved in and created similar treaties with the powerless Japanese The Meiji Restoration: The Meiji Restoration Many Japanese resented the growing dominance of Europeans, who they viewed as barbarians As a result, the shogun was overthrown in 1867 and replaced with the Japanese Emperor The Meiji Restoration: The Meiji Restoration This “restoration” of the Emperor is perhaps the most important turning point in Japanese history For the next 44 years, Meiji reformers successfully transformed Japan from a “backward” country into one of the richest and most powerful nations in the world The Meiji Restoration: The Meiji Restoration Rather than reject the west as most Asian nations had done, the Japanese sought to learn from Westerners and eventually beat them at their own game Members of the Japanese government were sent abroad to study the government, economies, technologies, militaries, and customs of the west Government Reform: Government Reform In 1889, a new constitution modeled after Germany was set up Limited suffrage was given to males and legislature was created, but the Emperor had autocratic, or absolute, power Military Reform: Military Reform A new military system was set up as well to replace the old samurai system All able men were required to serve and the newest weaponry was adopted By 1890, Japan had a powerful army and navy capable of expelling foreigners Economic Reform: Economic Reform Following the lead of Britain and the United States, the Japanese built thousands of railroads, mines, and factories in the late 1800’s Economic Reform: Economic Reform By the turn of the century, Japan was one of the top industrial powers in the world And like those powers, Japan now desired to create an empire of its own Industrial Output 1900 The Sino-Japanese War: The Sino-Japanese War Being a small island, Japan lacked many natural resources essential to industrial growth like coal and iron In 1894, Japan fought and defeated China in order to gain more land and resources, annexing Korea and Taiwan The Russo-Japanese War: The Russo-Japanese War Ten years later, competition over Korea and Manchuria led to war between Russia and Japan After gruesome fighting, the Japanese surprised the world by defeating Russia It was the first time in modern history that an Asian power had humbled a European nation and the event forced the Western world to recognize Japan as a major global power Japanese Empire in 1910: Japanese Empire in 1910 Japan Before and After: Japan Before and After Japan Before and After: Japan Before and After Japan Before and After: Japan Before and After How was Japan able to modernize so quickly?: How was Japan able to modernize so quickly? Adaptability Homogeneous Society Nationalism Quiz: Quiz What is isolationism? Whose expedition opened up Japanese ports to trade? Identify two ways that Japan Westernized. Why did Japan pursue a course of imperialism? What two countries did Japan go to war with, and defeat at the turn of the century?