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Causes of the Showa Restoration- Sonno joi Restore the Emperor and expel the Barbarians was the battle cry that ushered in the Showa Restoration in Japan during the 1930sFootnote1 The Showa Restoration was a combination of Japanese nationalism Japanese expansionism and Japanese militarism all carried out in the name of the Showa Emperor Hirohito Unlike the Meiji Restoration the Showa Restoration was not a resurrection of the Emperors powerFootnote2 instead it was aimed at restoring Japans prestige During the 1920s Japan appeared to be developing a democratic and peaceful government It had a quasi-democratic governmental body the DietFootnote3 and voting rights were extended to all male citizensFootnote4 Yet underneath this seemingly placid surface lurked momentous problems that lead to the Showa Restoration The transition that Japan made from its parliamentary government of the 1920s to the Showa Restoration and military dictatorship of the late 1930s was not a sudden transformation Liberal forces were not toppled by a coup overnight Instead it was gradual feed by a complex combination of internal and external factors The history that links the constitutional settlement of 1889 to the Showa Restoration in the 1930s is not an easy story to relate The transformation in Japans governmental structure involved the historical period between 1868 and 1912 that preceded the Showa Restoration This period of democratic reforms was an underlying cause of the militarist reaction that lead to the Showa Restoration The transformation was also feed by several immediate causes such as the downturn in the global economy in 1929Footnote5 and the invasion of Manchuria in 1931Footnote6 It was the convergence of these external internal underlying and immediate causes that lead to the military dictatorship in the 1930s The historical period before the Showa
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