The Meiji Era Transition Research Paper

The Meiji Era Transition
An exploration of the Tokugawa period and how it allowed the great Meiji industrialization and modernization in nineteenth century Japan.
# 118914 | 4,069 words | 7 sources | MLA | 2010 | US
Published on Mar 15, 2010 in Economics (International) , History (Asian) , Asian Studies (General)

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The paper examines the status of the Edo era economy, and whether or not there existed a type of "proto-capitalism" that would have laid the groundwork for the economic modernity of the following Meiji era. The paper reveals that the Tokugawa period that was once thought of as one of stagnation, isolation, and feudalism was one that was in all actuality full of economic growth, elements of modernity, and as laying the ground work for the Meiji era modernization. The paper clearly shows how without the achievements of the Edo period, the quick industrialization of the Meiji era that vaulted Japan to great power status in less than forty years would have taken much longer.

From the Paper:

"In 1868, the Tokugawa Bakufu that had ruled Japan since its creation in 1603 came to an end, ushering in a new era known as the Meiji Restoration. This new era would see massive industrialization in Japan, modernization, and an influx of all things Western. To the West, and indeed to some Japanese, the end of the Tokugawa period signaled an end to an era that had represented backwardness, national seclusion, and refusal to change. Yet, less than 40 years into this new Meiji period, Japan had already defeated a great European power, Russia, in a war; an impressive feat, considering that the new regime was suffering armed revolts as late as 1877, and had no constitution until 1890. Clearly, either the Meiji leaders and people were capable of miracles, or the Tokugawa period contained aspects of modernity that allowed the great Meiji industrialization and modernization."

Sample of Sources Used:

  • McClain, James L., Japan: A Modern History, (W.W. Norton & Company, Inc., 2002)
  • Hanley, Susan, Everyday Things in Premodern Japan, (University of California, 1997)
  • Smith, Thomas C., Native Sources of Japanese Industrialization, 1750-1920, (University of California, 1988)
  • Nakane, Chie, Oishi, Shinzaburo, and Totman, Conrad, Tokugawa Japan: The Social and Economic Antecedents of Modern Japan, (University of Tokyo Press, 1990)
  • Howell, David L., "Proto-industrial origins of Japanese Capitalism," in Smitka, Michael, ed., Japanese Economic History: 1600-1960, (Garland Publishing, Inc., 1998)

Cite this Research Paper:

APA Format

The Meiji Era Transition (2010, March 15) Retrieved April 19, 2021, from

MLA Format

"The Meiji Era Transition" 15 March 2010. Web. 19 April. 2021. <>