In 1868, the Tokugawa Bakufu that had ruled Japan since its creation in 1603 came to an end, ushering in a new era known as the Meiji Restoration. This new era would see massive industrialization in Japan, modernization, and an influx of all things Western. To the West, and indeed to some Japanese, the end of the Tokugawa period signaled an end to an era that had represented backwardness, national seclusion, and refusal to change. Yet, less than 40 years into this new Meiji period, Japan had already defeated a great European power, Russia, in a war; an impressive feat, considering that the new regime was suffering armed revolts as late as 1877, and had no constitution until 1890. Clearly, either the Meiji leaders and people were capable of miracles, or the Tokugawa period contained aspects of modernity that allowed the great Meiji industrialization and modernization.
[...] In addition, as time went by and more and more schools opened up, tuition fees dropped, allowing more and more children to attend school. While the literacy rates were most certainly higher in great metropolises like Edo than they were in the countryside, Tokugawa Japan still had what was perhaps the highest literacy rate in the world by the end of the Tokugawa period. This high literacy rate no doubt helped to fuel the rapid industrialization of Japan during the Meiji period, as well as the great enthusiasm for the new education system established by the new Meiji government. [...]
[...] Nakane, Chie, Oishi, Shinzaburo, and Totman, Conrad, Tokugawa Japan: The Social and Economic Antecedents of Modern Japan, (University of Tokyo Press, 1990) 5. Howell, David L., “Proto-industrial origins of Japanese Capitalism,” in Smitka, Michael, ed., Japanese Economic History: 1600-1960, (Garland Publishing, Inc., 1998) 6. Lu, David, Japan: A Documentary History, Volume (M.E. Sharpe, Inc., 2005) 7. Passin, Herbert, Society and Education in Japan, (New York, 1965) McClain, James L., Japan: A Modern History, (W.W. Norton & Company, Inc., 2002), p McClain, Japan, pp. [...]
[...] The merchants who provided the food, cash, and supplies to small fishers had often allowed them to default on their loans for years or even decades due to the profit they would make from them, and the steady supply of fertilizer that they were guaranteed. After the introduction of larger pools of labor and the technology to make use of it, merchants found it much more productive to foreclose on the smaller operations and transfer the skilled workers to larger plants. Thus, as the Tokugawa period ended and the Meiji era began, Hokkaido saw a trend of merchant capital being invested in larger, more efficient industrial fisheries rather than the large amounts of small family based ones. [...]
[...] Unlike workers in other pre-industrial societies, the Edo era farmers were well adjusted to the concept of time, and of the relation between time and money. The system of having by-employment in nearly every village had also created the need for economic planning; farmers would need to plan out and follow rigorous schedules for when a specific task had to be done. Indeed, time was followed so strictly that there were predetermined amounts of time that were deemed appropriate for mourning, depending on the significance of the deceased. Due to the highly competitive nature of the farming, in which the limited amount of land could be easily lost or gained by another family, those who didn't use economic planning would be short lived. This theme of economic use of time and willingness to work hard to secure better futures gave the Tokugawa peasants an easier transition into factory life. [...]
[...] Oishi, and C. Totman, Tokugawa Japan, p C. Nakane, S. Oishi, and C. Totman, Tokugawa Japan, p C. Nakane, S. Oishi, and C. Totman, Tokugawa Japan, p C. Nakane, S. Oishi, and C. Totman, Tokugawa Japan, p Smith, Japanese Industrialization, p Smith, Japanese Industrialization, p C. Nakane, S. Oishi, and C. Totman, Tokugawa Japan, p Smith, Japanese Industrialization, p Smith, Japanese Industrialization, p Smith, Japanese Industrialization, p Smith, Japanese Industrialization, p Smith, Japanese Industrialization, p Lu, David, Japan: A Documentary History, Volume (M.E. [...]
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