Meiji Restoration Evidence Sheet

Early Japan

1808 -Phaeton enters Nagasaki

1853 -Commodore Matthew Perry threatens for trade or there will be war

1854 -Treaty of Kanagawa : Opens Japan up (USA, France, Britain, Russia)

1858 -Harris Treaties opens 5 ports to USA

1864 -Choshu loyalists defeated (conservatives)

1866 -Sakamoto Ryouma (Satsuma) alliance with Choshu

1867 -Insurgents take over Imperial Palace

1868 -Emperor Meiji is restored


Meiji Restoration

80%  agrarian based country

⅓ price for Japanese gold → 1860 back to standard

Main exports – Silk, ceramics, paper, mining, textiles

Samurai Stipends take 50% of the government revenue

1868 -Male population is 40% literate

1871 -Iwakura Mission (Kido Koin, Iwakura…) 

1871 -Ministry of Education, Compulsory education

1871 – Yen backed by gold standard

1873 – Land Tax now 3%

1873 -Conscription Act

1873 – Dispute over korea

Beasley “the dispute over Korea in 1873 settled the pattern .. of politics for the best part of the generation”

1876 -10mil yen loaned to private entreprises

1877 Satsuma Rebellion

  – 18,000 rebels, 65,000 conscripts –> shows Japanese military prowess

– Led by Saigo Takamori

1877 – Rice prices rise from 5.7 to 12.2 (1880) per koku (monthly expenses are 20.75 yen)

1880 -30% of the industrial sector invested in silk

1882- Law preventing meetings


1889 – Meiji Constitution

  • 15 yen payment to vote → 1% population

1889 – Cabinet is formed

Military took up ¼ of the budget now

1890 Imperial Rescript

Emperor is only figurehead, privy council (next most influential) is not bound to the constitution

11,000 private schools open

1894 – British extra-territoriality ended

“Fukoku Kyohei” -Strong Country, Strong Military

Boeki Rikoku – mercantilism

Contrary to “Bunmei Kaika” Civilization and Enlightenment”

Pyle “No other nation carried out such a sweeping cultural revolution than did the modern Japanese”

Popular writer Fukuzawa “Gakumon no susume” (Encouragement of Learning) and “Bunreimon no gairyaku” (Outline of Theory of Civilization)

Pyle “Was characterized by implacable hostilities between the oligarchy and the parties”

1905 – Seiyukai Party “A turning point” -Reischauer

Controlled by Hara-Kei (non-oligarchy politician) , so now the oligarchy faces some competition. Biggest party in the Lower House of Peers

1904-1914 Railways doubled from 4700 to 7100 miles


1905-1913 Coal production doubled from 13 mil to 21.3 mil tons


1870-1910 1026 tons silk to 12460 tons of silk produced


Japan’s Foreign Policy

The Charter Oath – 1868,

1887 – Civil service exams

1899 -Triple Intervention, Port Arthur and Liaotung Peninsula

1902- Anglo-Japanese Alliance

-Protects Japan from war

-Ends British “Splendid Isolation” policy                                                                                                        

1905 – Russo Japanese War

2.5 mil Russians vs half the amount of Japanese

Treaty of Portsmouth: 1,000 casualties from Japanese riots

10 times the cost of Sino-Japanese War 

“In the long run, it was private initiative that produced the bulk of Japan’s economic modernisation and growth” Reischauer

Vs Pyle “Land Tax single most important reform of the Meiji Administration”

Sino Japanese war 1894 → 24 of each (torpedo and modern ships)

Treaty of Shimonoseki:

  • 200 Million Taels of indemnity
  • Control of the Formosa Islands and Liaodong Peninsula
  • Korea is independent
  • China opens 5 more ports to Japan and gives them most favoured nation status

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