The Meiji Restoration In Japan

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Some Japanese greatly disliked the increased presence of foreigners and the concessions that the government was making for them. This discontent soon grew into internal civil rebellions and a coup d'etat. In January 1868 a new government was established in the name of the Meiji emperor.
The Meiji Restoration brought about some radical changes. The government abolished the old caste distinctions of samurai-townsman-farmer and introduced compulsory education. Thus the Meiji Restoration began its efforts in modernising the country. There were also a number of important changes in language policies. The language monopoly held by the authorities disappeared, and various language academies flourished. At first, the only people to enjoy the fruits
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Proposals to adopt the Latin alphabet were made as early as the 1870s. The Rōmajikai羅馬字会[Romanisation Club], which actively promoted the use of Latin script in Japan, was particularly popular and by the 1880s had around 10,000 members. One of the highlights of their activity was the 1885’s introduction of a new romanisation system, which later came to be known as the Hepburn romanisation. In 1872 Mori Arinori (1847-1889) promoted the more radical idea of kokugo haishi eigo saiyōron国語廃止英語採用論 [Abolish Japanese, Adopt English]. Mori Arinori was among the first Japanese to be sent overseas to England to study Western knowledge and technology in 1865. He returned to Japan in 1868 and in 1885 was named Japan's first minister of education. In a letter to the professor W. Dwight Whitney, one of the most famous American linguists of his day, Mori described the Japanese language as “inadequate to the growing necessities of the people ... and too poor to be made, by a phonetic alphabet, sufficiently useful as a written language.” The proposal was rejected by the Ministry of Education in…show more content…
The ideas of return to traditional Japanese values and heritage were further fuelled by the Japanese military victories against China and Russia around the turn of the twentieth century. Peculiarly, despite these nationalistic tendencies, the English language did not lose its flair. The ensuing Taisho period saw an unparalleled spread of English loanwords owing to new forms of mass media. While many of the previous Meiji Era loanwords pertained to abstract notions related to Westernisation or modernisation, many of the Taisho loanwords concerned everyday popular culture or practical life. The Taisho period saw the borrowing of such widely used words as takushī タクシー [taxi], rajioラジオ [radio], and sararīman サラリーマン[salaried man, male white-collar office worker]. Among the roughly 1,500 common loanwords used during the last year of the Meiji Era (1912), about 75 percent were from English. Moreover, during this time, linguistics as a science emerged in Japan, and increased attention was devoted to English and English-language

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