looking outward

Sunday, February 13th, 2005

Christopher Coonce-Ewing answers a question here

Japan did go from dynastic (the Tokugawa Shogunate) to Imperial, though the “empire” at the time of the Meiji restoration was only Japan. Japan, under Meiji was concerned with western powers encroaching upon them, as the British had done at the end of the Opium war with China. As such, Japan wanted to not only control their own territory but to establish their own imperial territories outside of Japan (Korea, parts of China) that would serve as a buffer zone to deter the west. After fighting the Russo-Japanese war in 1905, and winning, they were able to show the west that Japan was a force to be reckoned with.

So… yes. The Tokugawa rule was focused on Japan with an isolationist view. Meiji looked to the west to gain what they could from them and then strove to build their own empire.

Of course, there’s a lot more to this story of modern Japan. And I’m looking forward to probing for more especially given the “encroachment hypothesis” Chrstopher puts forth. But how did the daimyo’s lose their power and how did the consequences of this loss resurface before the Axis? Why was there a grasp for western social structures then a counter movement back to more conservative traditions? Cool stuff this.


One response to “looking outward”

  1. Christopher says:

    The daimyo’s lost their power when the Tokugawa shogunate was overthrown by the Meiji. They (the daimyo) were then told that they would now be employees of the new government (as basically governors). Shortly after that the prefectures they governed were redrawn and many who were not loyal to the Meiji were simply removed.

    The goal of westernizing was in an attempt to quickly gain the respect of the western nations and to avoid being “colonized” by those nations. They later shift into a revival of older beliefs happens as a result of attaining their western equality and then a desire to bring back more of the older belief systems.

    At least that’s what I’ve got so far in class