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Changes in Japan. Background Meiji Restoration 1868 -end the rule of Tokugawa Shogunate -power was in hands of Oligarchs -started the Meiji Modernization 1868. Meiji Modernization 1868 -slogans: “Rich country, Strong Army”, “Colonization and Industry” & “Civilization and Enlightenment”

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Changes in japan


Meiji Restoration 1868

-end the rule of Tokugawa Shogunate

-power was in hands of Oligarchs

-started the Meiji Modernization 1868

Changes in japan

Meiji Modernization 1868

-slogans: “Rich country, Strong Army”,

“Colonization and Industry” &

“Civilization and Enlightenment”

-carried out reforms-constitutional,

Economic, education, military, legal reforms

-very successful-Japan as “the Britain in

The East”

Changes in japan

  • 1. A constitutional monarchy mixed

  • with Japanese traditions

  • Emperor

  • Army & navy

  • Genro

  • The Privy Council

  • Diet-House of Peers & House of

  • Representatives

  • Prime minister & Cabinet

Changes in japan

The Meiji Constitution 1889

-Ito Hirobumi & mission

-Prussian model with monarchy as the


-practised until 1945

-[study the chart on p.197]

Changes in japan

Comment on Meiji Constitution:

-many shortcomings!

1. Emperor enjoyed too much power

2. Genro (elder statesmen) retained control

Over policies through giving advice to


Changes in japan

  • 3. Diet was powerless. The House of Peers

  • Was dominated by genros.

  • 4. There was

  • limited suffrage (2% only men paying tax

  • Could vote)

  • 5. The prime minister was responsible to

  • The emperor

  • Superficially democratic & gave rise

    To crises in 1912-3.

Changes in japan

The Taisho Political Crisis 1912-3


-rise of middle educated class

-ideas of liberty and democracy popular

-”Organic Theory” & “Theory of Universal

Manhood Suffrage” emerged

Changes in japan

Organic Theory:

-the emperor was an organ

-government should be responsible to that

Organ, but the government responsible

To the citizens.

Changes in japan

Theory of Universal Manhood Suffrage:

-Universal Suffrage League

-general election to the cabinet

-vetoed by House of Peers (Genro) & the

League was dismantled in 1921.

Changes in japan

The Crisis

-Taisho became the new emperor

-the prime minister rejected the military

Ministry’s request for increased military


-Army minister resigned, prime minister

Resigned & new cabinet dissolved.

-Katsura Taro (warlord) was appointed

As the New prime minister and formed a

New Cabinet.

Changes in japan

Opposition to Katsura

-public & political parties & “Movement

To Protect Constitutional Government”

Called Katsura to resign.

-Katsura urged Taisho to issue an edict

To suppress the opposition.

-the Diet condemned Katsura and was


-When the Diet reopened, 6000 people

Supported the Diet. Katsura dissolved

The Diet.

Changes in japan

-The Diet cast “non-confidence” vote

Against the prime minister.

-Unable to pacify the mass, Katsura

Resigned and his cabinet dissolved.

Changes in japan

  • Significance of Taisho Crisis:

  • First time the prime minister

  • And cabinet was overthrown by mass->

  • Saw the importance of mass support to the

  • Cabinet.

  • 2. Saw the importance of army->affect the

  • Cabinet without its support. rise

  • Of army’political status and rise of

  • Militarism in Japan in the 1930s.

Changes in japan

2. Rise of political parties

-industrialization-> industrialists &

professionals, middle class & intellectuals

discontented with fake democracy

-many oligarchs died

-world democratic trend

-Hara Kei the first civilian prime minister

responsible for the Diet.

-1920s, party rule

Changes in japan

3. Foreign policies & expansions

-for raw materials & overseas market

-not very aggressive

-1900-Allied Expedition, 1902-Anglo-

Japanese Alliance, 1904-Russo-Japanese

War, 1910-colonized Korea


Changes in japan

  • The Anglo Japanese Alliance 1902

  • Motives of Japan:

  • Revenge [Liaodong] after the

  • “Triple Intervention”in 1895 (Sino-

  • Japanese War)

  • 2. Conflict with / Threat from Russia in

  • Korea and Manchuria

  • 3. Strengthened her power against Russia

  • In the future.

Changes in japan

  • Motives of Britain:

  • Needed an ally to protect her interest

  • In China and to check Russia in the Far

  • East.

  • 2. Found being isolated in Europe

  • [Triple Entente & Triple Alliance 1897]

  • 3. Challenge from Germany

Changes in japan

  • Significance of the Alliance:

  • To Britain:

  • Ended her isolation policy

  • Got an ally

  • To Japan:

  • Dared to challenge Russia with strong

  • Backing->sped up Russo-Japanese War.

  • 2. Raised Japan’s international status

  • [first alliance between an Asia and

  • A European country]

Changes in japan

  • The Russo-Japanese War 1904-5

  • Events leading to the war

  • The Russian Expansion of Manchuria-endangered the interest of Japan

  • The Anglo-Japanese Alliance 1902

  • Battle of Tsushima Straits

Changes in japan

  • Treaty of Portsmouth

  • -no indemnity was paid

  • -signed with the mediation of Roosevelt

  • -p.204

  • Significance:

  • Impact on Japan—rising status

  • Impact on Russia—great humiliation-

  • 1905 Russian Revolution

  • 3. Impact on China—suffered most

  • 4. Impact on Korea---became independent

  • more likely under Japan’s conquest

Changes in japan

The First World War 1914

-an ally of Britain

-consolidated her world power status

-occupied the German base in Shandong [Jiaozhou Bay]/ Act to revenge on Germany in Triple Intervention in 1895.

Changes in japan

The Twenty One Demands 1915

-with Yuan Shikai

-5 groups (notes)

-Britain & US protested->Japan deleted 5th group.

-Yuan accepted in return for Japan’s support to

his monarchical Movement

-Japan replaced Britain as the most influential

power in China.

Changes in japan

Group 1: transfer of German rights in

Shandong to Japan

Group 2: special interests in Manchuria

And Mongolia

Group 3: Mining rights in Changjiang


Group 4: no cession or lease of Chinese

Coastal territories to any power

Group 5: Japanese interference into

China’s internal affairs

Changes in japan

  • Secret Alliances with other powers 1916-7

  • To keep Japan on the side of Triple

  • Entente

  • Russia recognized 21 Demands

  • Britain & France recognized her interests

  • In Shandong and in ex-German colonies

  • 3. US signed Lansing Ishii Agreement ,

  • Not to oppose Japanese special claims

  • In China

Changes in japan

  • Paris Peace Conference 1919

  • Significance on Japan’s diplomatic status

  • The powers agreed to transfer the

  • Rights in Shandong to Japan. The ex German

  • Pacific Island became the mandated territory

  • Of the League of Nations, under the control of

  • Japan.

Changes in japan

2. She became a respected member of

International community. Japan was

Recognized as one of the permanent

Members of the League.

Changes in japan

Washington Conference 1921


-settle the problem in East Asia

-develop a new order of peace in East Asia

-deal with the Shandong problem

-set up a new balance of power

-end the Japanese-American naval

arms race

-terminate the Anglo-Japanese Alliance

Changes in japan

Four Power Pact (text)

Five Power Pact

Nine Power Pact

Changes in japan


-limit the number and tonnage of its capital ships

-observe the open-door policy of the US on China

-not to renew the Anglo-Japanese Alliance

-agreed to respect the integrity of China and

Withdraw troops from Shandong.

Changes in japan

Impact on Japan

-Her expansion was temporarily checked

-attack on the “weak-kneed” diplomatic


-paved for the rise of militarist


Changes in japan

  • Think About?

  • What do you think of the condition of

  • The following in early 20th century:

  • Freedom

  • Freedom of women

  • Education standard

  • Urbanization

  • Workers’ condition

Changes in japan

  • Background:

  • No class division [shogun-daimyo-

  • Peasants-artisans-merchants]

  • 2. Highest rate of literacy->middle

  • Educated class

  • 3. Rising status of women

  • 4. Urge for democracy

Changes in japan

C. Social Conditions

1. A society of limited freedom

-”Peace Preservation Law” to suppress

any ideas that threatened the

reign of the emperor.

2. Higher education standard in Asia

-1907, 6 years of education

-school system of primary, secondary

and universities.

Changes in japan

3. Rapid urbanization and great

differences between cities and villages

-big industrial cities, e.g Yokohama,

Nagoya, Osaka, etc.

4. Poor livelihood and social unrest

-workers (cotton mill) & tenant peasants

(land tax 4%-17.5% in R-J War time)

Changes in japan

The Rice Riot 1918

-government’s policy favoured Zaibatsu

-mass protested against the increase in the

Price of rice

-showed the power of mass

Changes in japan

The Labour Organization

-Suzuki Bunji, Christian socialist formed

“Friendly Society” in 1921, advocating

Harmonious relationships between

Employers and employees.

-By 1918, number of members rose to 30000.

Changes in japan

-after 1919, more labour organizations


-the capitalists and government suppressed


-they became more radical.

-”Friendly Society” was split into two factions

And renamed as “Japan Federation of

Labour” in 1921.

Changes in japan

The Women’s Movement

-1911, “Bluestocking Society”

& magazine “Bluestocking”

To spread idea of women’s liberation.

-Three key actresses gained popularity

And changed the old concepts.

Changes in japan

-1920, “New Women’s Association” was

Formed & magazine “Women’s Union”.

They asked for amendment to Article 5

To allow women joining political parties

And activities.

-it was finally dissolved.

Changes in japan

  • The Taisho Democratic Movement

  • -divided into two camps: political parties

  • & the popular movement and its leaders

  • -1924, unified under the Kato cabinet

  • 1925 “General Election Law” allowed

  • The proletarian party to participate in

  • Elections.

Changes in japan


-Meiji Modernization-Industrial


-mainly government run industries and

Light industries

-later the government sold the non-

Military industries to private enterprises

At low prices, e.g. Mitsubishi, Yasuda,

Mitsui, Sumitomo, etc.

Changes in japan

B. Economic Conditions

1. Economic ups & downs

-economic ups & downs related with

foreign wars

-victories--financial problems/


bonds and increased taxes. Tax increased

by 50% in R-J War and by 100% in second


Changes in japan

-After R-J War, Japan seized railway

and mining rights in Manchuria--angered

Chinese--boycott Japanese goods.

-During WWI, occupied Shandong and

controlled railways + dominated

the chinese market and sold necessities

to the western powers.

Changes in japan

-After WWI, entered dark age during

the 1920s + Great Depression 1929 (silk

export dropped)--unemployment

Changes in japan

2. Rapid Industrialization

-benefits from the victories in S-J &

R-J War: Korea, Manchuria & Taiwan

-foreign land brought sufficient food

supply and lessened the demand for food.

-helped develop light industry: raw

materials and market. E.g. silk export and

Japanese cotton.

Changes in japan

-helped heavy industry: mining and railway

rights, production of warships and

steamships, sea transport, shipbuilding and

chemical industries.

-enterprises increased from 400 (1868)

to 8000 (1903)

-->Japan became industrialized country.

Changes in japan

3. Further extension of the influence

of Zaibatsu

-the government had sold most industries

(non strategic) to Zaibatsu.

-Zaibatsu developed capital intensive

industries such as finance, trade or

transport, etc.

-By 1913, 75% of industrial & commercial

capital was controlled by Zaibatsu.

Changes in japan

“Monopolized Capitalism”

Think about?

Suggest one form of monopolized

Services in Hong Kong.

First Bus, Kowloon Motor Bus,

City Bus

Changes in japan

-20th century industry focused on heavy

Industry, military industries and the

Nationalization of railways.

-WWI, Japan increased its export and earn

Foreign profits. “Monopolized Capitalism”


Changes in japan

  • Characteristics of Capitalism in

  • Japan:

  • The rise of privileged capitalists

  • -colluded with the government to get

  • Protection

  • -had great influence in industrial

  • Development.

Changes in japan

2. Limited Scope of heavy industry

-heavily depended on foreign technology

-light industry [textile industry] overtook

The heavy industry.

3. The focus on capitalism and military


-because industry was driven by national

Capital and external wars.

Changes in japan

4. The basis of semi-feudal agriculture

-signified the exploitation of labour class

And serious disconnection between industry

And agriculture.

-but it guaranteed a cheap labour force.

Changes in japan

Significance of Monopolized

Capitalism: led to emergence of Zaibatsu

2. It affected the life of peasants/ agrarian

Industry became undervalued. It

Brought poverty and

Weakening of people’s purchasing power.

3. Domestic market had no room for

Expansion economic fear and downturns

Changes in japan

Japanese economy in & after WWI

-Japan exported the products to developing

Countries, US & Europe.

-Military supplies to Britain and Russia


-Shipping and shipbuilding industries grew.

-Light industries, machinery industry,

Chemical industry developed.


Changes in japan


-3rd largest shipping country in 1919.

-steel production increased by 7 times

Electricity increased by 2.8 times.

-light industry accounted for 70% of the

National economy.

Changes in japan


-consequence of political reform &

Affluence of capitalism

-learnt the western culture & believed

In the importance of traditional values

And ideas. “Rokumeikan”

-developed science and humanities

Changes in japan

Think about?

What is the traditional values of

The Japanese?

(How did we view their

Emperor? Did they love western culture?)

What is their traditional religion?

Changes in japan

1. Preservation and traditional cultures

-confucian beliefs such as loyalty to the

emperor, filial piety to parents


-nationalism (details) in

Imperial Rescript on Education 1890 &

National Textbook System

Changes in japan

2. Absorption of western culture


-western education

-magazines & newspaper

-affected their way of clothing, architecture.

Changes in japan

The promotion of national loyalty:

-the idea of loyalty and obedience &

Belief in traditional ideas and values

-1886, the ministry of education decreed

The school based on nationalism.

-1890, The Imperial Rescript on Education

“goodness, righteousness, piety and loyalty”

Changes in japan

-1907, compulsory education to 6 years.

-higher education expanded.

Changes in japan

Achievements in Humanities

Achievements in Science


Changes in japan

Concluding Remarks:


“how to be equal such power as the US

in terms of national strength or even

to surpass her?”

“joining the families of European nations”


“becoming better than Britain and the US”

Changes in japan

-1932, Takahashi’s progressive financial

Policy-expanding armaments and military

Production-focused on heavy and military


-1933, Japan withdrew from League and

Occupied north-eastern part of China.

Changes in japan

2. Initiation of the Pacific War and

invasion of SE Asia

-isolated China to cut off military

back up from Indochina

-natural resources, e.g. tin, oil

-Attack on Pearl Harbour

Changes in japan

Entry into the WWII

-1941 Dec 7, attack on Pearl Harbour

brought the US into the war.

-dropping of atomic bombs on 6, 9 Aug 1945.

-Japan surrendered on 15 Aug 1945