Term Paper: History of Meiji Empire and the Consequent

Pages: 5 (1638 words)  ·  Style: MLA  ·  Bibliography Sources: 6  ·  Topic: History - Asian  ·  Buy for $19.77

¶ … history of Meiji Empire and the consequent role and influence that Meiji regime had on succeeding government and their policies. The article also supports Sugimoto's thesis on presence of cultural fragmentation and diversity within Japanese society, the western influence on the social, political and economic growth is also discussed. The role of Kata Factor and its adoption by the Japanese society are also discussed.

Meiji Era began after the 265-year-old feudalistic rule of Tokugawa Shogunate.

The Era was termed as 'enlightened rule', with the commitment towards giving maximum possible autonomy to the people of Japan.

The introductory reform was the proclamation of FIVE OATH CHARTER in 1868; the chartered was based on the concept of western state. The charter was the key towards providing autonomy to the Japanese, and introduction of democratic system, first of its kind in Japan.

Its five provisions consisted of 1. Establishment of deliberative assemblies

2. Involvement of all classes in carrying out state affairs

3. Freedom of social and occupational mobility

4. Replacement of "evil customs" with the "just laws of nature" and 5. An international search for knowledge to strengthen the foundations of imperial rule.

Meiji Era contributed towards the political progress in Japan, at the same it also followed friendly foreign policy towards West, and renewed its commitment towards all the treaties signed with Western political forces.

Meiji Era was responsible for bring progress on Economic, Economic and Educational front, the living standards of a normal Japanese changed positively.

The few state elements however objected towards grant of maximum political autonomy to the local people. They viewed American democratic system to be 'too liberal'; Britain democratic practices were rejected because it subdue the authority of Monarch. Spanish and French democratic setup was considered as cause of despotism. The democratic system introduced in Japan was much 'controlled', the political parties participated enthusiastically in discussion and solution of local problems, however their authority was limited.

ECONOMY:

Japan, under the Meiji leadership observed significant rose of its exports and production activities. The import of Raw materials was increasing, and export was finished goods increased manifold; the economic system can best be termed as Mercanistilic. The state introduced reforms in banking, trade and commercial laws. The concept of unified currency was adopted i.e. yen. The state formulated an effective strategy towards bringing industrial reforms in the country. The industrial activities were expanding, and Japan was emerging out to be the Asia's industrial giant.

The pace of Japanese economic reforms was comparable with the Britain's economic progress during the Elizabethan regime.

The state's economic policies were supported by the local investors and entrepreneurs. Local investors made possible used of the offerings and incentives, and invested heavily in different sectors i.e. textiles.

This process of modernization was closely monitored and heavily subsidized by the Meiji government, enhancing the power of the great firms such as Mitsui and Mitsubishi.

Services of foreign economists and professionals was acquired to initiate economic stability and progress based on European and American style

EDUCATION:

The legal frame work promulgated by the Japanese leadership stressed upon the need of proper and continuous education which will benefit the nation.

Knowledge shall be sought throughout the world so as to strengthen the foundations of Imperial rule.' (Last article: Charter of Oath 1868).

Meiji leadership introduced an educational system based on European and American standards. Foreign faculty and professionals were brought in Japan, almost 3000 professionals were employed in variety of specialized field i.e. science, English and engineering. The Japanese students were encouraged to qualify for admission in North American and European universities, on the expenses of the state.

The Educational policy played vital role towards the bringing social, economic and political reforms in the country. The local students adapted according to the Western norms.

SUGIMOTO's THESIS:

Japanese society is considered to be rich cultural society, which reflects its traditional, stratificational and regional stretch. Japan too has cultural groups on the grounds of economic standards of people. Within these different local cultures, there are few groups who are welcoming towards any change introduced, this is the reason because of which the Japanese adapted to Western culture without any constrains or regret.

The local Japanese culture can be categorized into, 'Mass culture, Alternative culture and Folk culture'(Sugimoto's: Introduction to Japanese society).

Mass culture, culture that has been under the influence of media and market. The culture has been dependant upon the progress in mass communication, local consumer market and social activities on domestic and international level.

Alternative culture, culture that was practiced by those who were much uncomfortable with the local traditions and cultural activities.

Folk culture, it's the traditional old culture of Japanese people; however it is as diversified as the country's geographical stretch.

Sugimoto believes that 'Japan has frequently been portrayed as a uniquely homogeneous society both racially and ethnically'(An Introduction to Japan), this has been much advantageous for Japanese society. Although such differences can be source of political and social reservations, but due to the influence of mass communication, western life style, the effects of these differences are negligible. The social, political and economic stability of Japan is credited with its racial and ethnic homogenity. However what we observe is that the homogeneity is much linked with the mental understanding of the people, rather than cultural uniformity. Classes prevails, however the fragmentation has not deeply influenced the political and economic standing of the nation because its citizens respect and honor the notion of right and wrong irrespective of cultural division. In the Japanese society we don't have any cultural clash and struggle for dominance rather people are found honoring each others cultural, social and traditional teachings.

Another reason for the existence of cultural harmony among the Japanese nationals is because Japanese society is much exposed to the international community on an unprecedented scale. The reason for developing interest in the Japanese society by international community is because of sustained and progressive economic policies initiated and practiced by the Japanese government. The growing Yen left no choice to the foreign companies but to invest and establish their institutions in Japan, and come along with the local Japanese population.

Japan is undergoing transformation in its cultural standing because of the influence of international agencies, and the presence of cultural divisions within Japanese hardly discourages the progress. Sugimoto terms the ongoing development in Japan as 'irreversible globalization' (An introduction to Japanese society).

Taking an account of Japanese society, Sugimoto is right to term it pluralistic, either on economic or geographical grounds. An ordinary citizen of Japan practices down-to-earth cultural styles, considered more informal, less traditional, vulgar and equally flexible regarding adaptation to cultural interference. The organized sub-cultural people spend a living featuring hedonism, intemperance, and over indulgence.

The various forms of Japanese culture ranges include colorful agrarian festivals, and local folk dances.

KATA FACTOR

Kata means 'forms'(Boye De Mente: The Kata Factor), it can be related to cultural forms, traditional forms, economic forms, social forms, political forms. Boye de Mente highlights the fact that Japan's rise to economic prominence during 50's and 60's and later in 70's was based great deal on their traditional characteristics and behavior and also on totally different world. Kata i.e. forms have been inherent feature of Japanese society, the Japanese society has firm attachment to its forms and standards, and even after the influence of Americans and West, Japanese society has an element of uniqueness and individualism due to its strong adherence to its cultural, social, political, economic traits.

Boye writes that 'The world has changed enormously since then and so all the positive sides of the Kata factor were very beneficial to the Japanese during the twenty five-year postwar era because it required absolute dedication to hard work, to doing all the things the Japanese were good at doing at the… [END OF PREVIEW]

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