The Meiji Restoration is arguably the most significant event in the history of Japan. This is because it brought about major changes in both political and social circles, which culminated in the modernization of Japan…
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A number of reasons havce been put forward to justify that the Meiji Restorations was a revolution. Some of the justifications include the fact that the Meiji Restoration helped in ending the Tokugawa shogun while returning the Emperor to the Japanese central politics and culture. Law reports that the Meiji ‘revolution’ as some call it, also saw Japan change the way it relates with foreigners2. In this regard, he notes that after the restoration, Japan became more confident and home and ready to encounter the world for whatever cause. The restoration also helped in transforming Japan to a very powerful nation in the Asian continent both economically, politically and socially, all of which justifies that the Meiji Restoration was indeed a revolution. Law notes that, before the restoration of Japan, the Japanese people were under the control of the Tokugawa clan3. As a result, the Tokugawa clan control all the social, economic and political affairs of the country. However, it is reported that the Tokugawa rulers used to oppress the people of Japan, thereby denying Japan the opportunity of making any meaningful development. Therefore, with the emergence of Kurobune, Commodore Perry in the 1850s accompanied by other barbarians, a strong opposition to the Edo began in earnest4. Sonnu joi’s henchmen through the “Revere the emperor and repel the barbarians,” realized the inability of Shogun to remove the barbarians as a big opportunity to ‘restore’ the prominence of Kyoto once again according to Law5. Reports indicate that the most angered of all by the Shoguns were the ‘men of spirit’ or shishi as they are commonly referred to as in Japanese language. The shishi are said to be a segment of the samurai clan and are very aggressive in pursuing their objectives even it means using force. Law reveals that as the opposition was continuing to mount against the Tokugawa clan, another more opposition started to stir up6. This time the Chosu, Satsuma and the han clans began mobilizing their troops for the war. This resulted in the emergence of a revolution slogan “Enrich the country, strengthen the army” of the young Toshimichi Okubo of the Satsuma clan7. It is reported this move is what culminated in the emergence of the Maiji era. Law reports that the opposition armies soon began to modernize towards the end of the Shogunate, a move that continued even after the Meiji. Intense war continued between the opposition forces and the Tokugawa clan that had been under the control of Japan. However, since the opposition forces were more organized and appeared to have superior weapons than Tokugawa, then soon managed to topple Tokugawa in a coup de tat on January 3 1868, marking the end of their rule8. It was immediately after toppling the Tokugawa clan from power that the opposition legitimized the “Revolution” but instead adopted the term “Meiji Restoration”9. In this regard, the Meiji Restoration meant taking away rule from the Shogunate and taking it back to the Emperor, whose name was Meiji. Significance/Consequences of Meiji Restoration Meiji Restoration is highly regarded as a historical event that helped in transforming Japan to what it is today. In this regard, it has a lot of significance as far as the history the revolution of Japan is concerned. Firstly, the restoration leadership transformation from the Shogunate to the Emperor, which was remarkable as far as the history of Japan is concerned. This saw the rule change hand from the feudalist to a more democratic system of government for the people10. We are also told
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