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The Meiji restoration and the dawning of Japanese modernity

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  1. Thesis.
  2. Background.
    1. The Meiji Ishin - known as a Restoration.
    2. Okubo and Saigo.
    3. Different arguments for the motives and reasons for the Meiji Restoration.
    4. The leaders of the restoration.
  3. The Meiji generation.
    1. the case of Japan - the feudalistic samurai.
    2. Uniting a country that would involve all of its citizens.
    3. The anti-foreign sentiment.
  4. The leadership of the new regime.
  5. the Constitution of 1868.
  6. The skills that the service samurais possessed.
  7. Conclusion.

The Meiji Ishin, or Meiji Restoration culminated in 1868 in the abolition of the feudal Tokugawa bakufu and made way for the modern, Westernized Japan. The mid nineteenth century was a time of vast development around the world, and Japan was falling behind the industrialized nation states of the West. New political forces were developing in the different regions of Japan, and these new leaders had ambition and vision to take their beloved country and transform it into a nation state that could defend its interests. These new political forces were mostly made up of samurai who had an interest in strengthening Japan's international status. The new leaders did not differ that much from those who opposed the Restoration, as all sides were in favor of Fukoku kyohei (rich country, strong army). The new Meiji leaders thus decided what course Japan would take into the future. The irony in this of course is that the same samurai who were defeated in the Satsuma rebellion, were partially responsible for establishing the Meiji Restoration. Even though there was disagreement on policy, which caused the break between samurai, what brought them together in the first place? What were their motives to overthrow the Tokugawa bakufu?

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