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Emporer Meiji and the Meiji Restoration

Page history last edited by PBworks 13 years, 10 months ago

Week 26: Civilizations in Crisis IDs 


Emporer Meiji was the 122nd emporer of Japan in the traditional order of succession.  His real name was Matsuhito, and he lived from November 3, 1852 to July 30, 1912.  He reigned from February 3, 1867 until his death.


At the time that he took power in 1867, Japan was an isolated, pre-industrial, feudal country ruled over by the Tokugawa Shogunate and the daimyo.  By the time of his death in 1912 Japan had gone through political, social, and industrial revolutions and had emerged as a great power on the world stage. 


Emporer Meiji was a symbolic leader of the Meiji restoration, which was a period of time when the Tokugawa shogunate was abolished by imperial forces after the Boshin war.  The Charter Oath, which was a five point statement describing the structure of the new government, abolished the shogunate and established a newly democratic Japanese government.  Although there was a parliament, they had no power over the country, and niether did Emporer Meiji.  Power had passed from the Shogunate to the Daimyo and the samuraii who had led the restoration. 


The Meiji Restoration is often thought of as a source of pride by the Japanese.  The industrialization which took place during the time period, which lasted from 1862-1869, allowed Japan to form as a preeminate power in the Pacific and a major world power in a single generation.


Emperor Meiji

photographed by Uchida Kuichi,1873

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