MEIJI PERIOD OF JAPAN
With the MEIJI PERIOD started the emergence of modern JAPAN . It ranged from 1868 AD to 1912 AD . Now the Emperor was a nominal Supreme power . And the Imperial family moved in 1869 AD from KYOTO to EDO , which was renamed as TOKYO . The former SAMURAI of CHOSHU and SATSUMA were the real power holders in the new establishment as the Emperor was only of fifteen years of age in 1868 AD . Leaders like OKUBO TOSHIMICHI and SAIGO TAKAMORI from SATSUMA and KIDO TAKAYOSHI , ITO HIROBUMI and YAMAGATA ARITOMO from CHOSHU wanted to make JAPAN a modern nation state like that of the Western Imperial Powers . For that a lot of political and social changes were required to be taken in the JAPANESE political and social systems as such . So , the MEIJI government abolished the EDO class structure and replaced the powerful feudal domains with PREFECTURES . As a result JAPAN was divided into 47 PREFECTURES which ranked immediately below the national government . They included 43 PREFECTURES proper , 2 urban PREFECTURES , one circuit and one metropolis . In 1868 AD itself the MEIJI government created the first PREFECTURES to replace the urban and the rural administrators . The urban PREFECTURES were called FU and the rural PREFECTURES were called KEN . In 1871 AD , all the remaining feudal domains were also transformed into PREFECTURES , so that the PREFECTURES could subdivide the entire JAPAN as such .
The MEIJI government promoted westernization in large scale . As a result hundreds of advisors having expertise in the field of education , mining , banking , law , military affairs and transportation were hired from the western countries to remodel the JAPANESE governmental institutions . Aim was to modernize Railways , Telegraph lines , Universal education system etc . It instituted comprehensive tax reforms and the ban on Christianity was lifted . Apart from that JAPAN adopted the Gregorian Calander for the first time . Now the JAPANESE people preferred western clothing and western hairstyles . A JAPANESE popular writer FUKUZAWA YUKICHI openly advocated westernization . Moreover , western science , especially the western medical science , were being promoted during the MEIJI period . KITASATO SHIBASABURO established the world famous Institute of Infectious Diseases in 1893 AD . Similarly , writers like NATSUME SOSEKI , FUTABATEI SHIMEI and MORI OGAI who tried to introduce EUROPEAN literary stiles in the JAPANESE prose fictions . NATSUME SOSEKI was the most famous writer of the MEIJI period who wrote satirical , autobiographical and psychological novels combining both the newer and older JAPANESE styles . Women in this field were not left behind as ICHIYO HIGUCHI ( 1872 to1896 ) wrote mostly short stories and poetries during the MEIJI PERIOD . She was the first professional female writer of the modern JAPANESE literature . She was also an extensive diarist .
In 1889 the MEIJI Constitution was promulgated under the leadership of the first Prime Minister of JAPAN , ITO HIROBUMI . The new constitution established an elected lower house called the HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES and upper house called the HOUSE OF PEERS . But the power of the lower house was restricted as only two percent of the people were eligible for vote and the legislation proposed in the house was required to be passed in the unelected upper house as such . And both — the cabinet and the military were directly responsible to the Emperor and not to the elected legislature . Though the JAPANESE government promoted a form of JAPANESE nationalism under which SHINTO became the state religion and the Emperor was declared as a living God , yet the government institutions developed rapidly during the period . The Freedom and People’s Rights Movement led by ITAGAKI TAISUKE and OKUMA SHIGENOBU demanded for the greater popular participation in politics . Thus , the MEIJI PERIOD OF JAPAN saw how the democratic set up in the JAPANESE society and politics had started taking shape as such .
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