• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

The Nature and Characteristics of the Meiji Modernization

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

16. The Nature and Characteristics of the Meiji Modernization The samurai leaders, mainly Satsuma and Choshu men' who engineered and led the Meiji Restoration had no pre-conceived program of social and economic reforms in mind - i.e. the developments in the post-1868 period were not planned before the Restoration. The Meiji Restoration (1868) was essentially a political samurai movement aiming at the destruction of the Shogun's power so as to effect a new national unity in resistance to western encroachment. After the restoration, the task of national defence fell on that group of men who now dominated the government (the Meiji oligarchy). If they failed in resisting the western challenge, then, they might be attacked by their enemies as they themselves had attacked the shogun in the Bakumatsu period (1853-1868). ...read more.

Middle

Not surprisingly, the Meiji government gave special emphasis to the development of heavy and strategic industries (ship-building, building of arsenal etc.) immediately after the Restoration since they realized that the new western force could only be overcome by technological superiority (not cultural superiority). Because of the urgent need to get rid of the western threat, the Meiji modernization is a very 'speedy process'. The transformation of Japan from a backward and feudal society to a modern and technologically advanced one took place within a few decades whereas the political and economic transformation of Europe, for instance, took about 3 centuries (16th -19th). Moreover, because Meiji modernization is 'defensive' in purpose, its leaders saw to it that there should be as little reliance as possible on foreign capitals so as to prevent financial reliance and subordination to foreign powers. ...read more.

Conclusion

These new leaders, though realistic and practical in their outlook and accepting western technological superiority, were attached to traditional values. Their slogan was 'occidental technology and science but oriental ethics'. In other words, there was no change in the 'belief system' but rather a continuation of traditional values in the course of modernization. Though the new government had succeeded in building up a powerful facade based on the western model, yet, behind this facade, the spirit and mentality of the Japanese remained unchanged and uncontaminated by western culture. In a sense, the Meiji modernization is thus a 'conservative aristocratic revolution'. The Meiji modernized only those sectors (e.g. economic, military) which they themselves thought to be most essential to the well-being of the nation. Other people did not have voice in it. It was therefore a 'forced' or 'involuntary' process directed by the upper class of the former samurai. ?? ?? ?? ?? 2 Subject: Meiji Japan16 1 ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Politics section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related GCSE Politics essays

  1. Was the rise and development of nationalism in Meiji Japan a result of the ...

    In short, Shintoism had three elements: a religious devotion to the throne, a belief in divine mission and a concept of superiority of the Japanese race. These concepts were exploited by the Meiji oligarchs to fan up Japanese nationalism in the late 19ty century.

  2. The Interrelationship between the Meiji period and the Militarist Period

    Since the Diet could not control the cabinet nor could it influence the armed forces, it was not able to check the rise of militarism.

  1. BUSINESS ETHICS

    And when these political figures lack this moral principal called courage, like Daladier in France during the Second World War, it allow people like Hitler to come to power. As Machiavelli argues in "The Prince", "it is necessary for a prince who wishes to maintain his position to learn how

  2. Asian Values in Singaporean Perspective.

    on a mix of Neo-Confucian ideology and a grown social system that still persists in those parts of Asia that have been more or less influenced by Chinese traditions. In Indian and Malay societies somewhat similar traditional values can be found such as an emphasis on family and traditional values.

  1. Malta at the turn of the 19th Century.

    The Maltese reacted positively as for the first time that had a sort of say in the country. After all his achievements, Nelson made Ball the Governor of the Island, chief of all forces. He was awarded a promotion and now had to preside the National Congress.

  2. Prospects for India's development

    And the trend in India has been increasing over time. [Exhibits III.A.1 and 2]. The problem is that a coalition government's existence is at the mercy of small political parties' very specific interests. For instance, the 3/4 of Indian society that is agrarian will continue to use their political will

  1. Taiwan and its historical developments.

    The Japanese also had its effects, mostly through the Japanese language and educational system imposed on Taiwan. But with the restoration of political control to the Republic of China in 1945, Chinese influence increased and Chinese culture revived. In the 1950s, the government facilitated culture efforts through adopting different influences.

  2. Serfdom – Emancipation, etc

    They thought the Tsar a sort of martyr to the uglier necessities of human society, a 'sacrificial symbol of self-renouncement'. The naivity of Slavophil political thought is revealed by their hope that it would be possible to combine autocracy with freedom of the press.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work