The Effects of the Meiji Period: Japan*s Worldview

Traditional Japan vs.
 8.1.6 – How did the changes resulting from
adaptation affect Japan economically, politically and
socially during the Meiji period?
 8.1.6 – In what ways did changes resulting from
isolation in the Edo period compare to changes
resulting from adaptation in the Meiji period?
 8.1.6 – What challenges emerged for the Japanese
in maintaining traditional cultural aspects of their
society while undergoing rapid change?
 8.1.6 – How did Japan adapt to changes brought on
by the transition from feudal to modern models of
 Influential author, educator, and business entrepreneur
 Was born into a low-ranking samurai family
 Went on the Iwakura Mission
 Wanted American style democracy
 Learned English and Dutch
 Became authority on Western politics
 Owned a newspaper and was a supporter of women’s
 Wanted people to see change as positive
 Based off of the German system
 The Japanese leaders wanted a strong
cabinet and limited powers of parliament (not
as democratic)
 They named this new government
DAJOKAN, after a historical form of
government in Japanese history.
 Japanese leaders realized that they needed to
unify there country in order to build loyalty to the
emperor and the central state
 They abolished the hierarchal social order of
Japan (feudal system), which allowed people
freedom…from all walks of life.
 This strengthened national unity – now all
Japanese were obliged to be loyal to the
Emperor and the new state of government,
 Check out the chart on page 207 of your
 Created in 1889
 Was created because
 A) Most powerful European countries had
 B) Western countries would respect Japan if
Japan adopted a Western-style constitution
 C) Japan wanted unity – so a constitution
would cement that into society.
 Many Japanese couldn’t agree on what type
of constitution they wanted
 However, the new constitution was similar to
that of Germany, but…political change was
accompanied by tradition belief that the
emperor was a part of God in himself.
 The people of Japan thought that the
constitution was a gift from the divine
emperor, and were loyal – which helped unify
 Emperor’s powers were sacred and inviolable (not to be
challenged or dishonoured)
 Freedom of speech and religion
 Rights to privacy, property, movement, and legal rights
 Imperial Diet (government) would have a House of Peers
(royalty/nobility) and a House of Representatives (elected)
 Freedom of speech and freedom of the press (only lasted a
few years)
 Political parties were discouraged
 Having different perspectives didn’t fit with the Japanese
 Wanted to Japan to industrialize
 With the Unequal Treaties; Japan was
not allowed to raise taxes on foreign
goods or lower taxes on domestic
 Many domestic companies died out
 Many government run industries
were sold to private investors,
which made many small, powerful
 Except for military
 Some were worried about this
economic power, however it
strengthened support for the Meiji
 One of these small companies
was Mitsubishi…
 He was the Minister of Finance
 Brought capitalism to Japan
 Small business/farmers lost their
 During his role as the Minister of
Finance, industrial output increased
 By the end of the Meiji Era…
Japan’s national income had
doubled because of his policies
 Wanted to strong, centralized,
obedient army
 Wanted to be a colonial power with
strong leaders
 If had a strong army, could
renegotiate the unequal treaties
 Modeled army after Germany, and
navy after Britain
 Caused other countries to modernize
THEIR armies and navies as well
 Wanted to preserve independence
 Elementary was compulsory
 Could go to technical schools
 Had standardized education
 Taught strong morals, national identity, and
loyalty to the Emperor
 Developed universities which were
 Tokyo and Kyoto first universities created
 The adoption of Western ways and ideas
 Motto was: “Civilization and Enlightenment”
 Wanted to change unequal treaties by
earning respect from Western nations by
becoming a civilized country
 Created a newspaper so everyone could
learn about the new and improved ideas
 Westerners were not tolerant of Japanese
 Japanese officials outlawed any behaviour that was
found offensive to foreigners
 Japanese men used to wear loincloths in warm
weather; were ordered to wear a shirt
 1872 Japanese government outlawed tattooing
 Public bathing (Japanese ritual) was ordered to
close or be modified (to not be seen)
 Imperial court etiquette changed
 Did not have to take off shoes
 Mats on palace floor changed to carpet
 Emperor learned to shake hands
 Used to never touch people
 Emperor learned about smiling to company
 European style food was served at
There is no URL for the tattoo picture, it was taken
from another teacher’s powerpoint… was not able
to find it online!
 Japanese men encouraged to abandon kimonos
(wear trousers and suit coats instead)
 1870’s prominent Japanese men had cut their
hair short and grew beards/moustaches
 Uniforms were changing to match Western style
 Emperor Meiji often war Western style uniform
(he had ideals of modesty though… wore things
until they fell apart
 Backlash a hostile reaction to a trend
 Deer Cry Pavillion built – European style building
where Westerners were entertained
 European foods, Cuban cigars, card games,
billiards French orchestras, operas, dances, etc
 Made Japanese mad, because they adopted
these but were not getting the respect and
Westerners were not willing to change the
 Do you have any examples of this?
 Japanese had gone through rapid change
 Had started to feel embarrassed about their
 Japanese were proud and independent
people who realized their traditions, customs,
and beliefs were too important to lose
 Wanted to slow down Westernization
 “Western science, Japanese essence”
became the new motto
 Japanese felt Western nations were unified
because of a common religion
 Buddhism was discouraged, Shinto, the way
of the gods, became the official religion
 Buddhism eventually became accepted as
 A fad for Japanese things that the
Westerners had
 Shows Japan had influenced the West as
 Art was the main influence
 Started copying techniques
 Fans, kites, parasols, porcelain, kimonos and
woodblock prints were popular collection
 Were not able to renegotiate the unequal treaties
 Lobbyists started to express themselves (did not
happen much before)
 Emperor Meiji croaked (1912)
 Leading generals and wife committed sepukku
(ritual suicide)
 Some praised devotion, some thought it was
 Japan’s militarism became too much, led to
WWII when the two bombs were dropped (video
(very sad, some disturbing pictures)
 Were dropped by the USA in 1945
 Took Japan out of the war
 Was considered payback for Pearl Harbour
 Made a strong economy which
led to prosperity and
 Have a huge influence on other
countries around the world
 Are on the cutting edge with
 Levin, Phyllis, Teddy Moline, and Patricia
Redhead. Our Worldviews: Explore,
understand, connect. Toronto: Nelson, 2007

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