150,000+ ESSAYS

Find more results for this search now!
CLICK the BUTTON to the RIGHT!

Need a Brand New Custom Essay Now?  click here

Role of Japanese Emperor in Meiji Restoration

Role of The Emperor in Meiji Japan

Japan is a society whose culture is steeped in the traditions and symbols of the past: Mt. Fuji, the tea ceremony, and the sacred objects of nature revered in Shintoism. Two of the most important traditions and symbols in Japan; the Emperor and Confucianism have endured through Shogunates, restorations of imperial rule, and up to present day. The leaders of the Meiji Restoration used these traditions to gain control over Japan and further their goals of modernization. The Meiji leaders used the symbolism of the Emperor to add legitimacy to their government, by claiming that they were ruling under the "Imperial Will." They also used Confucianism to maintain order and force the Japanese people to passively accept their rule. Japanese rulers historically have used the symbolism of the Imperial Institution to justify their rule. The symbolism of the Japanese Emperor is very powerful and is wrapped up in a mix of religion (Shintoism) and myths. According to Shintoism the current Emperor is the direct descendent of the Sun Goddess who formed the islands of Japan out of the Ocean in ancient times.Footnote1 According to these myths the Japanese Emperor unlike a King is a living descendent of the Gods and even today he is thought of as the High Priest of Shinto. Despite the powerful myths surrounding Japan's imperial institution the Emperor has enjoyed only figure head status from 1176 on. At some points during this time the Emperor was reduced to selling calligraphy on the streets of Kyoto to support the imperial household, but usually the Emperor received money based on the kindness of the Shogunate.Footnote2 But despite this obvious power imbalance even the Tokugawa Shogun was at least symbolically below the Emperor in status and he claimed to rule so he could carry out the Imperial rule.Footnote3 Within this historical context the Meiji leaders realized that they needed to harness the concept of the Imperial Will in order to govern effectively. In the years leading up to 1868 members of the Satsuma and Choshu clans were part of the imperialist opposition. This opposition claimed that the only way that Japan could survive the encroachment of the foreigners was to rally around the Emperor.Footnote4 The Imperialists, claimed that the Tokugawa Shogunate had lost its imperial mandate to carry out the Imperial Will because it had capitulated to Western powers by allowing them to...

Sign In Now to Read Entire Essay

Not a Member?   Create Your FREE Account »

Comments / Reviews

read full essay >>

Already a Member?   Login Now >

This essay and THOUSANDS of
other essays are FREE at eCheat.

Uploaded by:  

Date:  

Category:   History

Length:   16 pages (3,589 words)

Views:   5765

Report this Essay Save Essay
Professionally written essays on this topic:

Role of Japanese Emperor in Meiji Restoration

View more professionally written essays on this topic »