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Why was the Shogunate overthrown?

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Introduction

WHY WAS THE SHOGUNATE OVERTHROWN? Sneha Rupani 11AJB The shogunate in Japan was overthrown for many reasons, the long term reasons being the increasing economic and social problems of the rising expenditure and the samurai discontent. Other causes like the arrival of Perry and the signing of unequal treaties like the Harris treaty led to the downfall of the shogunate because they showed the Bakufu's weakness and weakened them further eventually causing the downfall of the shogunate. The Choshu and Satsuma alliance and the young samurai activist helped in overthrowing the shogunate. A long-term reason the shogun was overthrown was because of the increasing problem that their expenditure was rising faster than their income. Their income was based on the land tax from their domains and rice production. The shogun was not able to effectively tax the increased production in the agriculture or commercial sector and the expenditure was increasing because of inflation and as the "government became more complex" Pyle also argues that "the alternate attendance system continued enormously expensive for the daimyo." ...read more.

Middle

of the anti-Tokugawa movement which led to the downfall of the Bakufu, the ambition of the young samurai could be seen as the most ambitious. The change in the Japanese society and economy made life became more "complex and diverse" and Japan couldn't be put back into the system of the early Tokugawa and this led to the eventual downfall of the shogun. The shogun was overthrown because the Bakufu were still dealing with their unresolved problems when, as Pyle argues, a "catalyst" of foreign crisis sped up the reaction to the domestic problems in Japan, thus the declining power of the bakufu led to the downfall of the shogun. The arrival of the Perry in Japan was the start of the sort term causes of the downfall of the Shogun. The Bakufu first showed their signs of weakness when they consulted the daimyo about Perry's demands. This showed the weakness of the bakufu as they were unable to make decisions themselves and it proved to be time wasting as the result was a variety of responses. ...read more.

Conclusion

The samurai also wanted to increase Japan's military and scientific knowledge after the attacks of Choshu in 1864 where they were exposed to much higher technology of Britain, France, Holland and the US. The final event that led to the downfall of the shogun was the alliance of the Satsuma and the Choshu, both domains had a tradition of hostility against the Tokugawa and their mutual interest in preventing a reassertion of the Tokugawa brought them together against the Shogun. This was vital as both domains were among the largest in production capacity and a large number of supporting samurai. "They were extremely strong domains, and their strength was enhanced by financial solvency" In a conclusion, as Beasley suggests the shogun's failure to solve the problems of Japan's relations with the west was the cause that eventually led to the downfall of the shogunate. The other causes such as the discontent of the samurai and the fact that expenditure was above income were long term causes which led to the downfall of the shogun but were not immediate causes like the shogun's failure to solve the problems with the relationships with the west and the alliance of the Choshu and Satsuma domains. ...read more.

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