• 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. Asian Values in Singaporean Perspective.

    During different times of Chinese history there was state intrusion into the family especially in the area of what constitutes moral behavior. This shows that any wish in making traditional Asian culture more receptive for Democracy can only fail, which does not mean Democracy cannot develop, based on either values

  2. Serfdom – Emancipation, etc

    This was thought to be the prelude to a general forced emancipation - and it is possible that Alexander saw it as such. But so loud was the outcry that the Emperor went no further along that line. Only a handful of serfs was liberated under this law but a

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

    bishop or he wanted to keep Gozo free from the British and the National Congress. In October 1798 after the arrival of Nelson, the French surrendered Gozo and concentrated on Malta. In Malta the last months of 1798 were radical, as the Maltese were not only short of ammunition and

  2. BUSINESS ETHICS

    If we take the example of generosity, the idea is a moral concept, which means that we have a duty to give back a part of what we received. On the other hand, the effort of giving this generosity is the concern of virtues and it is not limited to give money but also give time, comfort and shared competences.

  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. Taiwan and its historical developments.

    Antiques were shipped from China and displayed in museums. Western influences were evident through symbolism, surrealism, existentialism, Freudianism, modernism, and even nihilism. Popular movements in art and literature also impacted Taiwan's culture, and many Western works and concepts became part of the language spoken in Taiwan.

  1. How could the Walpolean oligarchy be at once exclusive and stable?

    As the Tories were ideologically committed to support the King as far as possible, they could not resort to unparliamentary means to attack Walpole. The policy that Walpole adopted towards foreign policy was also ideologically close to the Tories, for he too favoured peace over war.

  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.

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