Global Studies II Honors
Mrs. Riley 1st
April 29, 2008
The Meiji Restoration: Life or Honor
The Meiji Restoration period in Japan is known to historians as the end of Japan’s isolationism, and its entrance into the world as a global player. Japan’s economy was greatly bolstered, and new philosophies and ideals from the west flooded in. These ideas opened minds to different ways of thought. Because of the new technology of the period brought about by other countries Japan was able to mass produce consumer and industrial goods. Along with production, this new technological age also led to huge advancements in warfare. No longer did the warrior use swords and armor, but guns and artillery. However, all of these advancements came at a price. In order for Japan to survive in this new advancing world, it had to abandon some of its culture. Japan had to make the choice to loose some of its cultural identity in order to stay afloat in the stormy sea that the world had become.
The Meiji restoration all began with arrival of Commodore Matthew Perry in Edo Bay. Perry went to Japan with a letter from President Millard Fillmore requesting for better treatment of shipwrecked Americans, and the opening of trade relations between America and Japan. After six months had passed, Perry returned for an answer. H got it in the form of the Treaty of Kanagawa. The treaty called for the return of shipwrecked Americans, and the opening of two major ports to foreign traders. Although there was some controversy within Japan whether to accept the treaty, the pressure of Perry’s military presence ultimately swayed the final decision. Once the United States opened relations with Japan, other countries soon followed.
This new turn of events stirred up some controversy within Japan, especially with the two territories of Satsuma and Choshu. These two territories soon created a new alliance called the Sat-Cho alliance. The Sat-Cho rebellious armies attacked the shogun’s...