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Role of The Emperor in Meiji Japan

             Japan is a society whose culture is steeped in the traditions .
             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.

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