Friday, May 19, 2023

Emperor Meiji

Meiji was born as Sachi No Miya on November 3, 1852, in Kyoto, Japan. He was the son of the emperor Komei. As a child, Meiji was called Mutsuhito.

After the death of Emperor Komei in January 1867, prince Mutsuhito, then only 15 years old, ascended to the throne as Emperor Meiji, which means “enlightened government.”

When Emperor Meiji began his rule in 1867, Japan was a splintered empire dominated by the shogun and the daimyos, cut off from the outside world, staunchly antiforeign, and committed to the traditions of the past.

During his reign Meiji approved many more changes. He made powerful landowners turn over their land to farmers. He ordered a new school system. He also ordered a modern system of government. A new constitution went into effect in 1889. The Japanese Diet, a national assembly, first met in 1890.

The Emperor gave strong signals to support the westernization and the military build-up of Japan. But in later years he also became an advocate for traditional Japanese values and customs, warning not to throw the cultural heritage of Japan completely over board.

Meiji played active roles in the prosecution of the Sino-Japanese War (1894–95) and the Russo-Japanese War (1904–05). In 1910 he issued an edict proclaiming the annexation of Korea to Japan.

By the time of his death in 1912, Japan had undergone an extensive political, economic and social revolution, and emerged as one of the great powers on the world stage.
Emperor Meiji

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