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Meiji Restoration

            The Meiji Restoration was a period in Japan when massive changes occurred in ancient Japan. The goal of the Meiji Restoration was summarised in the motto, " A rich country, a strong military". In 1868 the Tokogawa shogun ("great general"), who ruled Japan in the feudal period lost his power and the emperor was restored to the supreme position. The emperor Mutsuhito took the name of Meiji ("enlightened rule") as his reign name, this event was known as the Meiji Restoration. Many historical events have made Japanese society today, however the Meiji Restoration was the most significant event that happened in the last millenium of Japanese history. The Meiji Restoration lasted from 1898, to 1912 (the death of the emperor), and during this time the modernising revolution of Japan took place, politically, socially, and economically.
             The Choshu and Satsuma samurai clans had been developing their relationships with the Western Powers, particularly Britain, and using these contacts to strengthen and modernise their armed forces. The shogun knew he was loosing power, and could see what was going to happen to him, so there was an "imperial restoration" of a sort. However, this solution was unacceptable tot he radical samurai officers of Choshu and Satsuma. They were determined to strip the Tokugawa Shogunate of the powers and material possessions, and to take the political initiative themselves. They moved warriors into the imperial capital at Kyoto, and seized power on 3rd January 1868 through an attack on the Shogunal palace. The ensuing civil war was brief and decisive. The armies of the Shogun met those of the Choshu and Satsuma later in 1868. After a three-day battle, the battle was in large part won and lost through treachery: a substantial section of the Tokugawa forces changed sides. Now, a new regime was established, an empire without a Shogun. The new government soon had control of the entire country.

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