Today’s History Brief: Meiji Restoration in Japan (1868)

In an event that heralds the birth of modern Japan, patriotic samurai from Japan’s outlying domains join with anti-shogunate nobles in restoring the emperor to power after 700 years. The impetus for the coup was a fear by many Japanese that the nation’s feudal leaders were ill equipped to resist the threat of foreign domination. Soon after seizing power, the young Emperor Meiji and his ministers moved the royal court from Kyoto to Tokyo, dismantled feudalism, and enacted widespread reforms along Western models. The newly unified Japanese government also set off on a path of rapid industrialization and militarization, building Japan into a major world power by the early 20th century.

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