The History and Present Situation of Japan

Examines the troubled liberalization and westernization of the Japanese political and social systems.

In the 19th and 20th centuries, the role of the emperor of Japan has gone through a change from the way the imperial ruler was originally developed, and after World War II the greatest change of all was brought about by the new constitution imposed by the American Occupation. The Meiji period in the 19th century was the beginning of the rapid development of economic life in Japan, a period of modernization and of the emergence of new elites based on expertise and technical knowledge. The Revolution of 1868 was a restoration to power of the Imperial dynasty, leading to the Meiji period lasting into this century. The leaders of the Restoration were young samurai of the great western fiefs who became a self-perpetuating oligarchy more influential in the Meiji government than the Emperor himself. They were united in their…

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