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THE MEIJI RESTORATION The Meiji restoration refers to the re-emergence of an emperor in Japan This change in power came after the fall of the Tokugawa Shogunate which was caused by the uprising of a group of Samurai who were pro-modernization in Japan This group known as the oligarchy had seen the modern black ships of Commander Perry who came from America seeking trade relations with Japan The oligarchy became convinced that they would have to let the West infiltrate their society in order to avoid the fate China had seen under the hands of imperialism The oligarchy saw the need for Japan to learn from the West and gain enough knowledge to be able to remain independent They overthrew the Shogun and elected a new emperor an emperor for all of Japan Meiji meaning enlightened ruler was the sixteen-year-old boy they chose for this position He was small young and nave the perfect puppet for the oligarchy to exercise their power through He ruled for forty-four years but Meiji was merely a symbol of power for a new united Japan rather than an actual head of state The Meiji restoration effected Japan profoundly Every facet of Japanese life was altered in some way from economics to education Japan was now united under one rule the population however was divided The majority of the people understood Japans need to modernize but there were also groups of nationalists working underground against the Westerners The Samurai too were disgruntled with the breaking down of the class system They had been in a position of power for so long that they were not prepared to become a working part of society Samurais had been given everything all their lives on a silver platter now they were forced to work for their own food money etc Many Samurai committed suicide because they could not cope with these new pressures that they faced This abolition of feudalism resulted in
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