- Grade: HSC
- Subject: Modern History
- Resource type: Notes
- Written by: N/A
- Year uploaded: 2021
- Page length: 4
- Subject: Modern History
JAPAN TODAY : A BRIEF OVERVIEW
❖ Japan is an Asian nation comprising of almost 7000 islands. 80% of its population
of 128 million is situated on the main island of Honshu. It has one of the oldest
living populations on Earth and is rapidly ageing. It has one of the highest life
expectancy in the world.
❖ Japan is linguistically, ethnically and culturally homogenous, composed of 98.5%
ethnic Japanese. A very small number of foreigners call Japan home.
❖ It is considered a great world power, boasting the world’s third largest economy
by nominal GDP. It has a highly skilled workforce and is one of the most educated
countries in the world, with one of the highest percentages of citizens holding a
❖ The country is well known for it’s science, technology, innovation, electronics and
WHAT DOES THE ‘MEIJI RESTORATION’ MEAN?
The Meiji Restoration, in Japanese history, is the political revolution in 1868 that brought
about the final demise of the Tokugawa Shogunate (military government) – thus ending
the Edo (Tokugawa) period(1603 – 1867) – and, at least nominally, returned control of the
country to direct imperial rule under Mutsuhito (the emperor Meiji). In a wider context,
however, the Meiji Restoration of 1868 came to be identified with the subsequent era of
major political, economic, and social change – the Meiji period (1868 – 1912) – that brought
about the modernisation and Westernisation of the country.
1603 – 1868 – THE TOKUGAWA SHOGUNATE
The period of the Tokugawa Shoguns; feudal political order with the economic and social
change occuring in a gradual manner. This period saw growing urbanisation, the spread
of popular education and the rise of the merchant class. It follows a period of warring in
Japan with Tokugawa Ieyasu becoming the victor of the Battle of Sekigahara in 1600 and
unifying under his shogunate.
1868 – 1890 – THE EARLY MEIJI MODERNISATION
The early Meiji period; rapid modernisation and dramatic change of political, social and
economic institutions; meeting the challenge of the West by following it’s model. This
period follows the visit of Commodore Matthew Perry of the United States of America
and his fleet of “Black Ships”.
1890 – 1945 – IMPERIAL JAPAN
Constitutional policy with the emperor as reigning monarch; industrialisation,
urbanisation, and an increasingly mobile society; drive for international status and
world power, including imperialism in Asia and finally war with the United States. This
period in Japan is characterised by a very rapid modernisation process.
1945 – PRESENT – CONTEMPORARY JAPAN
Democratic reform under Allied occupation; stable political democracy, high economic
growth in the sixties and seventies followed by political instability and recession in the
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