Parouse.com
 Parouse.com



The Empire of Japan (大日本帝國, Dai Nippon Teikoku, literally meaning "Empire of Great Japan")[10] was the historical nation-state[nb 2] and great power that existed from the Meiji Restoration in 1868 to the enactment of the 1947 constitution of modern State of Japan.[6]

Japan's rapid industrialization and militarization under the slogan Fukoku Kyōhei (富國強兵, "Enrich the Country, Strengthen the Armed Forces") and Shokusan Kōgyō (殖産興業, "Promote Industry") led to its emergence as a world power and the establishment of a colonial empire following the First Sino-Japanese War, the Boxer Rebellion, the Russo-Japanese War, and World War I. Economic and political turmoil in the 1920s led to the rise of Militarism in Japan">militarism, eventually culminating in Japan's membership in the Axis alliance and the conquest of a large part of the Asia-Pacific in World War II.[13]

Japan's armed forces initially achieved large-scale military successes during the Second Sino-Japanese War (1937–1945) and the Pacific War"> Pacific War. However, after many Allied victories and following the Soviet Union's declaration of war against Japan on August 9, 1945, and subsequent invasion of Manchuria and other territories, and the Hiroshima and Nagasaki">atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the Empire surrendered to the Allies on August 15, 1945. A period of occupation by the Allies followed, and a new constitution was created with American involvement in 1947, officially bringing the Empire of Japan to an end. Occupation and reconstruction continued until 1952, eventually forming the current nation-state whose full title is the "State of Japan" in Japanese (simply rendered "Japan" in English).

The Emperors during this time, which spanned the entire Meiji and Taishō, and the lesser part of the Shōwa era, are now known in Japan by their posthumous names, which coincide with those era names: Emperor Meiji (Mutsuhito), Emperor Taishō (Yoshihito), and Emperor Shōwa (Hirohito).

Terminology

The historical state is frequently referred to as the "Empire of Japan", the "Japanese Empire", or "Imperial Japan" in English. In Japanese it is referred to as Dai Nippon Teikoku (大日本帝國),[10] which translates to "Empire of Great Japan" ( Japanese language text">Dai "Great", Japanese language text">Nippon "Japanese", Japanese language text">Teikoku "Empire").

This meaning is significant in terms of geography, encompassing Japan and its surrounding areas. The nomenclature Empire of Japan had existed since the anti-Tokugawa domains, Satsuma and Chōshū, which founded their new government during the Meiji Restoration, with the intention of forming a modern state to resist Western domination.

Due to its name in kanji characters and its flag, it was also given the exonym "Empire of the Sun".

Background

After two centuries, the seclusion policy, or sakoku, under the shōguns of the Edo period came to an end when the country was forced open to trade by the Convention of Kanagawa in 1854. Thus, the period known as Bakumatsu began.

The following years saw increased foreign trade and interaction; commercial treaties between the Tokugawa shogunate and Western countries were signed. In large part due to the humiliating terms of these unequal treaties, the shogunate soon faced internal hostility, which materialized into a radical, xenophobic movement, the sonnō jōi (literally "Revere the Emperor, expel the barbarians").[14]

In March 1863, the Emperor issued the "order to expel barbarians". Although the shogunate had no intention of enforcing the order, it nevertheless inspired attacks against the shogunate itself and against foreigners in Japan. The Namamugi Incident during 1862 led to the murder of an Englishman, Charles Lennox Richardson, by a party of samurai from Satsuma. The British demanded reparations but were denied. While attempting to exact payment, the Royal Navy was fired on from coastal batteries near the town of Kagoshima. They responded by bombarding the port of Kagoshima in 1863. The Tokugawa government agreed to pay an indemnity for Richardson's death.[15] Shelling of foreign shipping in Shimonoseki and attacks against foreign property led to the bombardment of Shimonoseki by a multinational force in 1864.[16] The Chōshū clan also launched the failed coup known as the Kinmon incident. The Satsuma-Chōshū alliance was established in 1866 to combine their efforts to overthrow the Tokugawa bakufu. In early 1867, Emperor Kōmei died of smallpox and was replaced by his son, Crown Prince Mutsuhito (Meiji).

On November 9, 1867, Tokugawa Yoshinobu resigned from his post and authorities to the Emperor, agreeing to "be the instrument for carrying out" imperial orders.[17] The Tokugawa shogunate had ended.[18][19] However, while Yoshinobu's resignation had created a nominal void at the highest level of government, his apparatus of state continued to exist. Moreover, the shogunal government, the Tokugawa family in particular, remained a prominent force in the evolving political order and retained many executive powers,[20] a prospect hard-liners from Satsuma and Chōshū found intolerable.[21]

On January 3, 1868, Satsuma-Chōshū forces seized the Kyoto Imperial Palace">imperial palace in Kyoto, and the following day had the fifteen-year-old Emperor Meiji declare his own restoration to full power. Although the majority of the imperial consultative assembly was happy with the formal declaration of direct rule by the court and tended to support a continued collaboration with the Tokugawa, Saigō Takamori threatened the assembly into abolishing the title shōgun and ordered the confiscation of Yoshinobu's lands.[22]

On January 17, 1868, Yoshinobu declared "that he would not be bound by the proclamation of the Restoration and called on the court to rescind it".[23] On January 24, Yoshinobu decided to prepare an attack on Kyoto, occupied by Satsuma and Chōshū forces. This decision was prompted by his learning of a series of arson attacks in Edo, starting with the burning of the outworks of Edo Castle, the main Tokugawa residence.

Boshin War

The Naval Battle of Hakodate, May 1869; in the foreground, Kasuga and Kōtetsu of the Imperial Japanese Navy

The Boshin War (戊辰戦争, Boshin Sensō) was fought between January 1868 and May 1869. The alliance of samurai from southern and western domains and court officials had now secured the cooperation of the young Emperor Meiji, who ordered the dissolution of the two-hundred-year-old Tokugawa shogunate. Tokugawa Yoshinobu launched a military campaign to seize the emperor's court at Kyoto. However, the tide rapidly turned in favor of the smaller but relatively modernized imperial faction and resulted in defections of many daimyōs to the Imperial side. The Battle of Toba–Fushimi was a decisive victory in which a combined army from Chōshū, Tosa, and Satsuma domains defeated the Tokugawa army.[24] A series of battles were then fought in pursuit of supporters of the Shogunate; Edo surrendered to the Imperial forces and afterwards Yoshinobu personally surrendered. Yoshinobu was stripped of all his power by Emperor Meiji and most of Japan accepted the emperor's rule.

Pro-Tokugawa remnants, however, then retreated to northern Honshū (Ōuetsu Reppan Dōmei) and later to Ezo (present-day Hokkaidō), where they established the breakaway Republic of Ezo. An expeditionary force was dispatched by the new government and the Ezo Republic forces were overwhelmed. The siege of Hakodate came to an end in May 1869 and the remaining forces surrendered.[24]

Meiji era (1868–1912)

The Charter Oath was made public at the enthronement of Emperor Meiji of Japan on April 7, 1868. The Oath outlined the main aims and the course of action to be followed during Emperor Meiji's reign, setting the legal stage for Japan's modernization.[25] The Meiji leaders also aimed to boost morale and win financial support for the new government.

Prominent members of the Iwakura mission. Left to right: Kido Takayoshi, Yamaguchi Masuka, Iwakura Tomomi, Itō Hirobumi, Ōkubo Toshimichi

Japan dispatched the Iwakura Mission in 1871. The mission traveled the world in order to renegotiate the unequal treaties with the United States and European countries that Japan had been forced into during the Tokugawa shogunate, and to gather information on western social and economic systems, in order to effect the modernization of Japan. Renegotiation of the unequal treaties was universally unsuccessful, but close observation of the American and European systems inspired members on their return to bring about modernization initiatives in Japan. Japan made a territorial delimitation treaty with Russia in 1875, gaining all the Kuril islands in exchange for Sakhalin island"> Sakhalin island.[26]

Several prominent writers, under the constant threat of assassination from their political foes, were influential in winning Japanese support for westernization. One such writer was Fukuzawa Yukichi, whose works included "Conditions in the West," "Leaving Asia", and "An Outline of a Theory of Civilization," which detailed Western society and his own philosophies. In the Meiji Restoration period, military and economic power was emphasized. Military strength became the means for national development and stability. Imperial Japan became the only non-Western world power and a major force in East Asia in about 25 years as a result of industrialization and economic development.

Emperor Meiji, the 122nd emperor of Japan

As writer Albrecht Fürst von Urach comments in his booklet "The Secret of Japan's Strength," published in 1942, during the Axis powers period:

The rise of Japan to a world power during the past 80 years is the greatest miracle in world history. The mighty empires of antiquity, the major political institutions of the Middle Ages and the early modern era, the Spanish Empire, the British Empire, all needed centuries to achieve their full strength. Japan's rise has been meteoric. After only 80 years, it is one of the few great powers that determine the fate of the world.[27]

The sudden westernization, once it was adopted, changed almost all areas of Japanese society, ranging from armaments, arts, education, etiquette, fashion, health, justice, politics, language, etc. The Japanese government sent students to Western countries to observe and learn their practices, and also paid "foreign advisors" in a variety of fields to come to Japan to educate the populace. For instance, the judicial system and constitution were largely modeled on those of Prussia. The government also outlawed customs linked to Japan's feudal past, such as publicly displaying and wearing katana and the top knot, both of which were characteristic of the samurai class, which was abolished together with the caste system. This would later bring the Meiji government into conflict with the samurai.

Transposition of social order

In the 1860s Japan began to experience great social turmoil and rapid modernization. As social conflicts emerged in this last decade of the Edo period, some new religious movements appeared, which were directly influenced by shamanism and Shinto.

The social tension continued to grow during the Meiji period, affecting religious practices and institutions. Conversion from traditional faith was no longer legally forbidden, officials lifted the 250-year ban on Christianity, and missionaries of established Christian churches reentered Japan. The traditional syncreticism between Shinto and Buddhism ended. Losing the protection of the Japanese government which Buddhism had enjoyed for centuries, Buddhist monks faced radical difficulties in sustaining their institutions, but their activities also became less restrained by governmental policies and restrictions.

Japan (Nagasaki)">Ōura Church, Nagasaki, 1885

Emperor Ogimachi issued edicts to ban Catholicism in 1565 and 1568, but to little effect. Beginning in 1587 with imperial regent Toyotomi Hideyoshi's ban on Jesuit missionaries, Christianity was repressed as a threat to national unity. Under Hideyoshi and the succeeding Tokugawa shogunate, Catholic Christianity was repressed and adherents were persecuted. After the Tokugawa shogunate banned Christianity in 1620, it ceased to exist publicly. Many Catholics went underground, becoming hidden Christians (隠れキリシタン, kakure kirishitan), while others lost their lives. After Japan was opened to foreign powers in 1853, many Christian clergymen were sent from Catholic, Protestant, and Orthodox churches, though proselytism was still banned. Only after the Meiji Restoration, was Christianity re-established in Japan. Freedom of religion was introduced in 1871, giving all Christian communities the right to legal existence and preaching.

Eastern Orthodoxy was brought to Japan in the 19th century by St. Nicholas (baptized as Ivan Dmitrievich Kasatkin),[28] who was sent in 1861 by the Russian Orthodox Church to Hakodate, Hokkaidō as priest to a chapel of the Russian Consulate.[29] St. Nicholas of Japan made his own translation of the New Testament and some other religious books (Lenten Triodion, Pentecostarion, Feast Services, Book of Psalms, Irmologion) into Japanese.[30] Nicholas has since been canonized as a saint by the Patriarchate of Moscow in 1970, and is now recognized as St. Nicholas, Equal-to-the-Apostles to Japan. His commemoration day is February 16. Andronic Nikolsky, appointed the first Bishop of Kyoto and later martyred as the archbishop of Perm during the Russian Revolution, was also canonized by the Russian Orthodox Church as a Saint and Martyr in the year 2000.

Divie Bethune McCartee was the first ordained Presbyterian minister missionary to visit Japan, in 1861–1862. His gospel tract translated into Japanese was among the first Protestant literature in Japan. In 1865 McCartee moved back to Ningbo, China, but others have followed in his footsteps. There was a burst of growth of Christianity in the late 19th century when Japan re-opened its doors to the West. Protestant church growth slowed dramatically in the early 20th century under the influence of the military government during the Shōwa period.

During the early 20th century, The government was suspicious towards a number of unauthorized religious movements and periodically made attempts to suppress them. Government suppression was especially severe from the 1930s until the early 1940s, when the growth of Japanese nationalism and State Shinto were closely linked. Under the Meiji regime lèse majesté prohibited insults against the Emperor and his Imperial House, and also against some major Shinto shrines which were believed to be tied strongly to the Emperor. The government strengthened its control over religious institutions that were considered to undermine State Shinto or nationalism.

Political reform

Interior of Japanese Parliament, showing Minister speaking at the tribune from which members address the House, 1915

The idea of a written constitution had been a subject of heated debate within and outside of the government since the beginnings of the Meiji government. The conservative Meiji oligarchy viewed anything resembling democracy or republicanism with suspicion and trepidation, and favored a gradualist approach. The Freedom and People's Rights Movement demanded the immediate establishment of an elected national assembly, and the promulgation of a constitution.

Prince Aritomo Yamagata, twice Prime Minister of Japan. He was one of the main architects of the military and political foundations of early modern Japan.

The constitution recognized the need for change and modernization after removal of the shogunate:

We, the Successor to the prosperous Throne of Our Predecessors, do humbly and solemnly swear to the Imperial Founder of Our House and to Our other Imperial Ancestors that, in pursuance of a great policy co-extensive with the Heavens and with the Earth, We shall maintain and secure from decline the ancient form of government. ... In consideration of the progressive tendency of the course of human affairs and in parallel with the advance of civilization, We deem it expedient, in order to give clearness and distinctness to the instructions bequeathed by the Imperial Founder of Our House and by Our other Imperial Ancestors, to establish fundamental laws. ...

Count Kentaro Kaneko, a diplomat in Meiji period Japan, renowned for his work on the Meiji Constitution

Imperial Japan was founded, de jure, after the 1889 signing of Constitution of the Empire of Japan. The constitution formalized much of the Empire's political structure and gave many responsibilities and powers to the Emperor.

  • Article 4. The Emperor is the head of the Empire, combining in Himself the rights of sovereignty, and exercises them, according to the provisions of the present Constitution.
  • Article 6. The Emperor gives sanction to laws, and orders them to be promulgated and executed.
  • Article 11. The Emperor has the supreme command of the Army and Navy.[31]

In 1890, the Imperial Diet was established in response to the Meiji Constitution. The Diet consisted of the House of Representatives of Japan and the House of Peers. Both houses opened seats for colonial people as well as Japanese. The Imperial Diet continued until 1947.[6]

Economic development

Tokyo Industrial Exhibition, 1907
View of the city of Yamagata, c. 1881

The process of modernization was closely monitored and heavily subsidized by the Meiji government in close connection with a powerful clique of companies known as zaibatsu (e.g.: Mitsui and Mitsubishi). Borrowing and adapting technology from the West, Japan gradually took control of much of Asia's market for manufactured goods, beginning with textiles. The economic structure became very mercantilistic, importing raw materials and exporting finished products — a reflection of Japan's relative scarcity of raw materials.

Economic reforms included a unified modern currency based on the yen, banking, commercial and tax laws, stock exchanges, and a communications network. The government was initially involved in economic modernization, providing a number of "model factories" to facilitate the transition to the modern period. The transition took time. By the 1890s, however, the Meiji had successfully established a modern institutional framework that would transform Japan into an advanced capitalist economy. By this time, the government had largely relinquished direct control of the modernization process, primarily for budgetary reasons. Many of the former daimyōs, whose pensions had been paid in a lump sum, benefited greatly through investments they made in emerging industries.

Thomas Blake Glover was a Scottish merchant in Bakumatsu and received Japan's second highest order from Emperor Meiji in recognition of his contributions to Japan's industrialization.

Japan emerged from the Tokugawa-Meiji transition as the first Asian industrialized nation. From the onset, the Meiji rulers embraced the concept of a market economy and adopted British and North American forms of free enterprise capitalism. Rapid growth and structural change characterized Japan's two periods of economic development after 1868. Initially, the economy grew only moderately and relied heavily on traditional Japanese agriculture to finance modern industrial infrastructure. By the time the Russo-Japanese War began in 1904, 65% of employment and 38% of the gross domestic product (GDP) were still based on agriculture, but modern industry had begun to expand substantially. By the late 1920s, manufacturing and mining amounted to 34% of GDP, compared with 20% for all of agriculture.[32] Transportation and communications developed to sustain heavy industrial development.

From 1894, Japan built an extensive empire that included Taiwan, Korea, Manchuria, and parts of northern China. The Japanese regarded this sphere of influence as a political and economic necessity, which prevented foreign states from strangling Japan by blocking its access to raw materials and crucial sea-lanes. Japan's large military force was regarded as essential to the empire's defense and prosperity by obtaining natural resources that the Japanese islands lacked.

First Sino-Japanese War

The First Sino-Japanese War, fought in 1894 and 1895, revolved around the issue of control and influence over Korea under the rule of the Joseon Dynasty. Korea had traditionally been a tributary state of China's Qing dynasty"> Qing Empire, which exerted large influence over the conservative Korean officials who gathered around the royal family of the Joseon kingdom. On February 27, 1876, after several confrontations between Korean isolationists and Japanese, Japan imposed the Korea Treaty of 1876">Japan– Korea Treaty of 1876, forcing Korea open to Japanese trade. The act blocks any other power from dominating Korea, resolving to end the centuries-old Chinese suzerainty.

On June 4, 1894, Korea requested aid from the Qing Empire in suppressing the Donghak Rebellion. The Qing government sent 2,800 troops to Korea. The Japanese countered by sending an 8,000-troop expeditionary force (the Oshima Composite Brigade) to Korea. The first 400 troops arrived on June 9 en route to Seoul, and 3,000 landed at Incheon on June 12.[33] The Qing government turned down Japan's suggestion for Japan and China to cooperate to reform the Korean government. When Korea demanded that Japan withdraw its troops from Korea, the Japanese refused. In early June 1894, the 8,000 Japanese troops captured the Korean king Gojong, occupied the Royal Palace in Seoul and, by June 25, installed a puppet government in Seoul. The new pro-Japanese Korean government granted Japan the right to expel Qing forces while Japan dispatched more troops to Korea.

China objected and war ensued. Japanese ground troops routed the Chinese forces on the Liaodong Peninsula, and nearly destroyed the Chinese navy in the Battle of the Yalu River. The Treaty of Shimonoseki was signed between Japan and China, which ceded the Liaodong Peninsula and the island of Taiwan to Japan. After the peace treaty, Russia, Germany, and France forced Japan to withdraw from Liaodong Peninsula. Soon afterwards Russia occupied the Liaodong Peninsula, built the Port Arthur fortress, and based the Pacific Fleet (Russia)">Russian Pacific Fleet in the port. Germany occupied Jiaozhou Bay, built Tsingtao fortress and based the East Asia Squadron">German East Asia Squadron in this port.

Boxer Rebellion

In 1900, Japan joined an international military coalition set up in response to the Boxer Rebellion in the Qing Empire of China. Japan provided the largest contingent of troops: 20,840, as well as 18 warships. Of the total, 20,300 were Imperial Japanese Army troops of the 5th Infantry Division under Lt. General Yamaguchi Motoomi; the remainder were 540 naval rikusentai (marines) from the Imperial Japanese Navy.[34]

At the beginning of the Boxer Rebellion the Japanese only had 215 troops in northern China stationed at Tientsin; nearly all of them were naval rikusentai from the Kasagi and the Atago, under the command of Captain Shimamura Hayao.[35] The Japanese were able to contribute 52 men to the Seymour Expedition.[35] On June 12, 1900, the advance of the Seymour Expedition was halted some 30 miles from the capital, by mixed Boxer and Chinese regular army forces. The vastly outnumbered allies withdrew to the vicinity of Tianjin, having suffered more than 300 casualties.[36] The Imperial Japanese Army General Staff">army general staff in Tokyo had become aware of the worsening conditions in China and had drafted ambitious contingency plans,[37] but in the wake of the Triple Intervention five years before, the government refused to deploy large numbers of troops unless requested by the western powers.[37] However three days later, a provisional force of 1,300 troops commanded by Major General Fukushima Yasumasa was to be deployed to northern China. Fukushima was chosen because he spoke fluent English which enabled him to communicate with the British commander. The force landed near Tianjin on July 5.[37]

Marquess Komura Jutaro, 1911. Komura became Minister for Foreign Affairs under the first Katsura administration, and signed the Boxer Protocol on behalf of Japan.

On June 17, 1900, naval Rikusentai from the Kasagi and Atago had joined British, Russian, and German sailors to seize the Dagu forts near Tianjin.[37] In light of the precarious situation, the British were compelled to ask Japan for additional reinforcements, as the Japanese had the only readily available forces in the region.[37] Britain at the time was heavily engaged in the Boer War, so a large part of the British army was tied down in South Africa. Further, deploying large numbers of troops from its garrisons in India would take too much time and weaken internal security there.[37] Overriding personal doubts, Foreign Minister Aoki Shūzō calculated that the advantages of participating in an allied coalition were too attractive to ignore. Prime Minister Yamagata agreed, but others in the cabinet demanded that there be guarantees from the British in return for the risks and costs of the major deployment of Japanese troops.[37] On July 6, 1900, the 5th Infantry Division was alerted for possible deployment to China, but no timetable was set for this. Two days later, with more ground troops urgently needed to lift the siege of the foreign legations at Peking, the British ambassador offered the Japanese government one million British pounds in exchange for Japanese participation.[37]

Shortly afterward, advance units of the 5th Division departed for China, bringing Japanese strength to 3,800 personnel out of the 17,000 of allied forces.[37] The commander of the 5th Division, Lt. General Yamaguchi Motoomi, had taken operational control from Fukushima. Japanese troops were involved in the storming of Tianjin on July 14,[37] after which the allies consolidated and awaited the remainder of the 5th Division and other coalition reinforcements. By the time the siege of legations was lifted on August 14, 1900, the Japanese force of 13,000 was the largest single contingent and made up about 40% of the approximately 33,000 strong allied expeditionary force.[37] Japanese troops involved in the fighting had acquitted themselves well, although a British military observer felt their aggressiveness, densely-packed formations, and over-willingness to attack cost them excessive and disproportionate casualties.[38] For example, during the Tianjin fighting, the Japanese suffered more than half of the allied casualties (400 out of 730) but comprised less than one quarter (3,800) of the force of 17,000.[38] Similarly at Beijing, the Japanese accounted for almost two-thirds of the losses (280 of 453) even though they constituted slightly less than half of the assault force.[38]

After the uprising, Japan and the Western countries signed the Boxer Protocol with China, which permitted them to station troops on Chinese soil to protect their citizens. After the treaty, Russia continued to occupy all of Manchuria.

Russo-Japanese War