Meiji Restoration

The Meiji Restoration was a revolutionary period during which Japan was transformed from a feudal state into a modern state. The opening of Japan’s ports to Western colonial fleets showed the weakness of Tokugawa and triggered nationalist movements. In 1867 pro-imperial daimyo suggested that Tokugawa Yoshinobu should give up his place and acknowledge imperial authority. He agreed to step down, but radicals seized his palace on January 3, 1868 and proclaimed restoration under Emperor Meiji.
The period when Meiji was restored Japan was a militarily weak country,primarily agricultural, and had little technological development. In an effort to change and strengthen Japan, the revolutionary leaders launched a series of economical and social reforms. Millions of people were suddenly free to choose their occupation and movewithout restrictions. The government started building railways and shipping lines, telephone and telegraph systems, shipyards, and many consumer industries. The government also introduced a constitution by creating an elected Parliament called the Diet to win the respect of Westerners and generate a good environment for national growth. Japan changed the entire legal system to make Westerns revise the unequal treaties which were signed in 1850;s. In 1894 Westerners agreed to revise the treaties and acknowledge Japan as an equal nation. The constitution ended distinctions between classes and made people concentrate in building a new nation. In addition, the government set up new universities and new schools to teach people the modern technology. Meiji hired western teachers to assist in Japanese schools. Students were sent to Europe and the United States to study modern science and technology. Meiji government created a strong military to fight foreigners and capture new territories. It was very essential to have a strong military to stay protected from foreign invasion and show its power to other nations. Japa…


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