19th Century Japan Analysis

1600 Words7 Pages
Japan endured several shocking transformations from the mid-nineteenth to the early twentieth century. Before the 19th century, this Nation was politically divided between many military leaders; the most powerful warlord, the shogun, ruled Japan almost as a dictator. People were also divided by hierarchical classes and contact was severely limited with the outside world by these authoritarian rulers. Japan was seen as an isolated country that engaged in diplomatic arrangements with very few country neighbors. As these domestic problems started flourishing even further, foreign American ships began to arrive in Japanese docks, demanding the opening of their ports. With this standing pressure, in 1854, Japan unwillingly signed the first of many…show more content…
It acquired a democratic elected parliament, a constitutional monarchy and possessed a modern military force that won two battles overseas. The new established government seek the elimination of class distinctions, the modernization of the country and the end of the Western power in Japan. The unification of the country was their main priority; by this mean, they eliminated the Warlords power and eradicated the hierarchical class system, making every citizen in Japan equal to one…show more content…
As a result of, the State had to come with another way to acquire income and profit, which was to reform taxation. Most of Japan’s economy was still based on agriculture, so land taxes were the most strong source of earnings. The Meiji government switched the former taxation system to one based on the “assessment of the land’s value” (Segal, 4). This implicated that even if the harvest was good or bad, its farmers had to pay the taxes anyway. Additionally, Meiji leaders committed to strengthen their currency, shrinking the money supply to avoid inflation and other methods to boost the economy’s power. Nevertheless, this new tax reform harmed the farmers, since they had to pay the same amount of taxes even if they had a bad harvest and they had to put the lower princes on their sellings as a consequence of the deflation. Meiji leaders focused their efforts in transforming the economy to an industrial one, where was promoted technological industrialization by importing new machinery and develop equipments. Old factories were bought by new private businessmen, helping the economy growth. Nonetheless, Japanese workers also helped the economy as well, women and men under very poor working environment, worked to produce many goods for exportation. This labor played a key role to pay for the new utilities and machinery to keep up with the quick industrialization Japan
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