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Restore the Emperor Expel theBarbariansThe Causes of the Showa Restoration Sonno joi Restore the Emperor and expelthe Barbarians was the battle cry that ushered in theShowa Restoration in Japan during the 1930sFootnote1 The ShowaRestoration was a combination of Japanese nationalismJapanese expansionism and Japanese militarism all carriedout in the name of the Showa Emperor Hirohito Unlike theMeiji Restoration the Showa Restoration was not aresurrection of the Emperors powerFootnote2 instead it was aimed atrestoring Japans prestige During the 1920s Japan appearedto be developing a democratic and peaceful government It hada quasi-democratic governmental body the DietFootnote3 and votingrights were extended to all male citizensFootnote4 Yet underneath this seeminglyplacid surface lurked momentous problems that lead to theShowa Restoration The transition that Japan made from itsparliamentary government of the 1920s to the ShowaRestoration and military dictatorship of the late 1930s wasnot a sudden transformation Liberal forces were not toppledby a coup overnight Instead it was gradual feed by acomplex combination of internal and external factors The history that links the constitutional settlement of1889 to the Showa Restoration in the 1930s is not an easystory to relate The transformation in Japans governmentalstructure involved the historical period between 1868 and1912 that preceded the Showa Restoration This period ofdemocratic reforms was an underlying cause of the militaristreaction that lead to the Showa Restoration Thetransformation was also feed by several immediate causessuch as the downturn in the global economy in 1929Footnote5 and theinvasion of Manchuria in 1931Footnote6 It was the convergence of theseexternal internal underlying and immediate causes that leadto the military dictatorship in the 1930s The historical period before the Showa Restoration1868-1912 shaped the political climate in which Japan couldtransform itself from a democracy to a militaristic stateThis period is known as the Meiji RestorationFootnote7 The MeijiRestoration of 1868 completely dismantled the Tokugawapolitical order and replaced it with a centralized system ofgovernment headed by the Emperor who served as a figureheadFootnote8However
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