View your list of saved words. (You can log in using Facebook.)
Overthrow of Japan's Tokugawa shogunate (seeTokugawa period) and restoration of direct imperial rule (through the Meiji emperor) in 1868. In the 19th century the shogunate's policy of isolation was challenged by Russia, England, and the U.S., making Japanese feudal leaders aware of Japan's vulnerability to superior Western firepower. After the visit of Commodore Matthew Perry, the country was forced to sign a series of unequal treaties, which, as in China, gave Western nations special privileges in Japan. In response, young samurai from feudal domains historically hostile to the Tokugawa regime took up arms against the government. In January 1868 they announced the restoration of the emperor to power, and in May 1869 the last Tokugawa forces surrendered. The revolutionaries had the emperor issue the Charter Oath, which promised a break with the feudal class restrictions of the past and a search for knowledge that could transform Japan into a rich country with a strong military. The restoration ushered in the Meiji period, a time of rapid modernization and Westernization. See alsoChoshu; Ii Naosuke; Okubo Toshimichi; Saigo Takamori; Satsuma; Tosa.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on Meiji Restoration, visit Britannica.com.
Seen & Heard
What made you look up Meiji Restoration? Please tell us what you were reading, watching or discussing that led you here.