Imperial Court in Kyoto
The Imperial Court in Kyoto was the nominal ruling government of Japan from 794 AD until the Meiji period, after which the court was moved from Kyoto to Tokyo and integrated into the Meiji government. The shogunate system came after the Imperial Court, with Minamoto no Yoritomo being the first to establish the post of the shōgun as hereditary, in 1192. Since Minamoto no Yoritomo launched the shogunate, true power was in the hand of the shōguns, who were mistaken several times for the Emperors of Japan by western countries. Five regent houses Heian Palace Kyoto Gosho
Education in the Empire of Japan
Education in the Empire of Japan was a high priority for the government, as the leadership of the early Meiji government realized the critical need for universal public education in its drive to modernize and westernize Japan. Overseas missions such as the Iwakura Mission were sent abroad to study the education systems of leading Western countries. During the Edo period the common citizens of Japan were given limited means of education. What these low-class citizens did learn was geared towards the basic and practical subjects such as reading and arithmetic; the change came forth during the Meiji period. After sending several learned Japanese representatives to travel abroad, the government was able to learn many aspects of the West, from that developed a new process of education for the country. By the late 1860s, the Meiji leaders had established a system that declared equality in education for all as a means by which to help in the process of Japan entering into a more modernized nation, it was required by law.
This was done for the purpose of not only instilling the values of what it meant to be a Japanese citizen, but to bring about the knowledge necessary for the people to understand how the new nation would work under Western methods. With the change in education there was brought about more opportunities to prosper in the newly evolving and modernizing Japanese nation. Individuals and families moved up in society in ways beyond the freedoms or abilities of their ancestors; as education changed, so too did the range of talents and efforts applied by the Japanese people to enhance their society. In 1871, the Ministry of Education was established, with a school system based on the American model, which promoted a utilitarian curriculum, but with the centrally-controlled school administration system copied from France. With the aid of foreign advisors, such as David Murray and Marion McCarrell Scott, Normal Schools for teacher education were created in each prefecture. Other advisors, such as George Adams Leland, were recruited to create specific types of curriculum.
Private schools run by Buddhist temples and neighborhood associations were nationalized as elementary schools. However, they added a new curriculum which emphasized conservative, traditional ideals more reflective of Japanese values. Confucian precepts were stressed those concerning the hierarchical nature of human relations, service to the new Meiji state, the pursuit of learning, morality; these ideals, embodied in the 1890 Imperial Rescript on Education, along with centralized government control over education guided Japanese education until the end of World War II. In December, 1885, the cabinet system of government was established, Mori Arinori became the first Minister of Education of Japan. Mori, together with Inoue Kowashi created the foundation of the Empire of Japan's educational system by issuing a series of orders from 1886; these laws established an elementary school system, middle school system, normal school system and an imperial university system. Elementary school was made compulsory from 1872, was intended to create loyal subjects of the Emperor.
Middle Schools were preparatory schools for students destined to enter one of the Imperial Universities, the Imperial Universities were intended to create westernized leaders who would be able to direct the modernization of Japan. With the increasing industrialization of Japan, demand increased for higher education and vocational training. Inoue Kowashi, who followed Mori as Minister of Education established a state vocational school system, promoted women's education through a separate girls' school system. Compulsory education was extended to six years in 1907. According to the new laws, textbooks could only be issued upon the approval of the Ministry of Education; the curriculum was centered on moral education, design and writing, Japanese calligraphy, Japanese history, science, drawing and physical education. All children of the same age learned each subject from the same series of textbook. During the Taishō and early Shōwa periods, from 1912-1937, the education system in Japan became centralized.
From 1917-1919, the government created the Extraordinary Council on Education, which issued numerous reports and recommendations on educational reform. One of the main emphases of the Council was in higher education. Prior to 1918, "university" was synonymous with "imperial university", but as a result of the Council, many private universities obtained recognized status; the Council introduced subsidies for families too poor to afford the tuitions for compulsory education, pushed for more emphasis on moral education. During this period, new social currents, including socialism, communism and liberalism exerted influences on teachers and teaching methods; the New Educational Movement led to teachers unions and student protest movements against the nationalist educational curriculum. The government responded with increased repression, adding some influences from the German system in an attempt to increase the patriotic spirit and step up the militarization of Japan; the Imperial Rescript to Soldiers and Sailors became compulsory reading for students during this period.
Specialized schools for the blind and for the deaf were established as early as 1878, were regulated and standardized by the government in the Blin
History of Japan
The first human habitation in the Japanese archipelago has been traced to prehistoric times. The Jōmon period, named after its "cord-marked" pottery, was followed by the Yayoi in the first millennium BC when new technologies were introduced from continental Asia. During this period, the first known written reference to Japan was recorded in the Chinese Book of Han in the first century AD. Between the fourth century and the ninth century, Japan's many kingdoms and tribes came to be unified under a centralized government, nominally controlled by the Emperor; this imperial dynasty continues to reign over Japan. In 794, a new imperial capital was established at Heian-kyō, marking the beginning of the Heian period, which lasted until 1185; the Heian period is considered a golden age of classical Japanese culture. Japanese religious life from this time and onwards was a mix of native Shinto practices and Buddhism. Over the following centuries, the power of the Emperor and the imperial court declined and passed to the military clans and their armies of samurai warriors.
The Minamoto clan under Minamoto no Yoritomo emerged victorious from the Genpei War of 1180–85. After seizing power, Yoritomo took the title of shōgun. In 1274 and 1281, the Kamakura shogunate withstood two Mongol invasions, but in 1333 it was toppled by a rival claimant to the shogunate, ushering in the Muromachi period. During the Muromachi period regional warlords called daimyōs grew in power at the expense of the shōgun. Japan descended into a period of civil war. Over the course of the late sixteenth century, Japan was reunified under the leadership of the daimyō Oda Nobunaga and his successor Toyotomi Hideyoshi. After Hideyoshi's death in 1598, Tokugawa Ieyasu came to power and was appointed shōgun by the Emperor; the Tokugawa shogunate, which governed from Edo, presided over a prosperous and peaceful era known as the Edo period. The Tokugawa shogunate imposed a strict class system on Japanese society and cut off all contact with the outside world. Portugal and Japan started their first affiliation in 1543, making the Portuguese the first Europeans to reach Japan by landing in the southern archipelago of Japan.
The Netherlands was the first to establish trade relations with Japan, Japan–Netherlands relations dating back to 1609. The American Perry Expedition in 1853–54 more ended Japan's seclusion; the new national leadership of the following Meiji period transformed the isolated feudal island country into an empire that followed Western models and became a great power. Although democracy developed and modern civilian culture prospered during the Taishō period, Japan's powerful military had great autonomy and overruled Japan's civilian leaders in the 1920s and 1930s; the military invaded Manchuria in 1931, from 1937 the conflict escalated into a prolonged war with China. Japan's attack on Pearl Harbor in December 1941 led to war with its allies. Japan's forces soon became overextended, but the military held out in spite of Allied air attacks that inflicted severe damage on population centers. Emperor Hirohito announced Japan's unconditional surrender on 15 August 1945, following the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki and the Soviet invasion of Manchuria.
The Allies occupied Japan until 1952, during which a new constitution was enacted in 1947 that transformed Japan into a constitutional monarchy. After 1955, Japan enjoyed high economic growth, became a world economic powerhouse. Since the 1990s, economic stagnation has been a major issue. An earthquake, tsunami in 2011 caused massive economic dislocations and a serious nuclear power disaster; the mountainous Japanese archipelago stretches northeast to southwest 3,000 km off the east of the Asian continent at the convergence of four tectonic plates. The steep, craggy mountains that cover two-thirds of its surface are prone to quick erosion from fast-flowing rivers and to mudslides, they have hampered internal travel and communication and driven the population to rely on transportation along coastal waters. There is a great variety to its regions' geographical features and weather patterns, with a Wet season, in most parts in early summer. Volcanic soil that washes along the 13% of the area that makes up the coastal plains provides fertile land, the temperate climate allows long growing seasons, which with the diversity of flora and fauna provide rich resources able to support the density of the population.
A accepted periodization of Japanese history: Land bridges, during glacial periods when the world sea level is lower, have periodically linked the Japanese archipelago to the Asian continent via Sakhalin Island in the north and via the Ryukyu Islands and Taiwan in the south since the beginning of the current Quaternary glaciation 2.58 million years ago. There may have been a land bridge to Korea in the southwest, though not in the 125,000 years or so since the start of the last interglacial; the Korea Strait was, quite narrow at the Last Glacial Maximum from 25,000 to 20,000 years BP. The earliest firm evidence of human habitation is of early Upper Paleolithic hunter-gatherers from 40,000 years ago, when Japan was separated from the continent. Edge-ground axes dating to 32–38,000 years ago found in 224 sites in Honshu and Kyushu are unlike anything found in neighbouring areas of continental Asia, have been proposed as evidence for the first Homo sapiens in Japan. Radiocarbon dating has shown that the earliest fossils in
Imperial Seal of Japan
The Imperial Seal of Japan called the Chrysanthemum Seal, Chrysanthemum Flower Seal or Imperial chrysanthemum emblem, is one of the national seals and a crest used by the Emperor of Japan and members of the Imperial Family. It is a contrast to the Paulownia Seal used by the Japanese government. During the Meiji period, no one was permitted to use the Imperial Seal except the Emperor of Japan, who used a 16 petal chrysanthemum with sixteen tips of another row of petals showing behind the first row. Therefore, each member of the Imperial family used a modified version of the seal. Shinto shrines either displayed the imperial seal or incorporated elements of the seal into their own emblems. Earlier in Japanese history, when Emperor Go-Daigo, who tried to break the power of the shogunate in 1333, was exiled, he adopted the seventeen-petal chrysanthemum to differentiate himself from the Northern Court's Emperor Kōgon, who kept the imperial 16-petal mon; the symbol is a orange chrysanthemum with black or red outlines and background.
A central disc is surrounded by a front set of 16 petals. A rear set of 16 petals are half staggered in relation to the front set and are visible at the edges of the flower. An example of the chrysanthemum being used is in the badge for the Order of the Chrysanthemum. Other members of the Imperial Family use a version with 14 single petals, while a form with 16 single petals is used for Diet members' pins, orders and other items that carry or represent the authority of the Emperor; the Imperial Seal is used on the standards of the Imperial Family. National seals of Japan Chrysanthemum Throne Imperial Seal of Korea Order of the Chrysanthemum Mon Media related to Imperial seals of Japan at Wikimedia Commons
Agriculture in the Empire of Japan
Agriculture in the Empire of Japan was an important component of the pre-war Japanese economy. Although Japan had only 16% of its land area under cultivation before the Pacific War, over 45% of households made a living from farming. Japanese cultivated land was dedicated to rice, which accounted for 15% of world rice production in 1937. After the end of the Tokugawa shogunate with the Meiji Restoration of 1868, Japanese agriculture was dominated by a tenant farming system; the Meiji government based its industrialization program on tax revenues from private land ownership, the Land Tax Reform of 1873 increased the process of landlordism, with many farmers having their land confiscated due to inability to pay the new taxes. This situation was worsened by the deflationary Matsukata Fiscal Policy of 1881-1885, which depressed rice prices, leading to further bankruptcies, to large scale rural uprisings against the government. By the end of the Meiji period, over 67% of all peasant families were driven into tenancy, farm productivity stagnated.
As tenants were forced to pay over half their crop as rent, they were forced to send wives and daughters to textile mills or to sell daughters into prostitution to pay for taxes. In the early Meiji period, landowners collected a high rate of rent in kind, rather than cash and played a major role in the development of agriculture, since the tenant farmers found it difficult to obtain capital. With the development of cash crops to supplement the mainstay of rice, the growth of capitalism in general from the turn of the twentieth century onwards, agricultural cooperatives and the government took over the role by providing farm subsidies and education in new agricultural techniques; the first agricultural cooperatives were established in 1900, after their creation was debated in the Diet of Japan by Shinagawa Yajirō and Hirata Tosuke as a means of modernizing Japanese agriculture and adapting it to a cash economy. These cooperatives served in rural areas as credit unions, purchasing cooperatives and assisted in the marketing and sales of farm products.
The Imperial Agricultural Association was a central organization for agricultural cooperatives in the Empire of Japan. It was established in 1910, provided assistance to individual cooperatives through transmission of agricultural research and facilitating the sales of farm products; the Imperial Agricultural Association was at the peak of a three tier structure of national-prefectural-local system of agricultural cooperatives. This organization was of vital importance after nationwide markets were consolidated under government control in the aftermath of the Rice Riots of 1918 and increasing economic crisis from the late 1920s. Increasing tenant farmer disputes and issues with landlordism led to increasing government regulation. After the Rice Riots of 1918, many peasants came under the influence of the urban labor movement with socialist, communist and/or agrarian ideas, which created a serious political issues. Not only were the Imperial Family of Japan and the zaibatsu major landowners, but until 1928, an income tax requirement limited the right to vote, limiting seats in the Diet of Japan only to people of wealth.
In 1922, the Nihon Nomin Kumiai was formed for collective bargaining for cultivator rights and reduced rents. By the 1930s, the growth of the urban economy and flight of farmers to the cities weakened the hold of the landlords; the interwar years saw the rapid introduction of mechanized agriculture, the supplementation of natural animal fertilizers with chemical fertilizers and imported phosphates. With the growth of the wartime economy, the government recognized that landlordism was an impediment to increased agricultural productivity, took steps to increase control over the rural sector through the formation of the Central Agricultural Association in 1943, a compulsory organization under the wartime command economy to force the implementation of government farming policies. Another duty of the organization was to secure food supply to the military, it was dissolved after World War II. Farmed land in 1937 was 14,940,000 acres, which represented 15.8% of the total Japanese surface area, compared with 10,615,000 acres or 40% in Ohio, or 12,881,000 acres or 21% in England.
The proportion of farmed land rose from 11.8% in 1887 to 13.7% in 1902, 14.4% in 1912 to 15.7% in 1919. This fell to 15.4% in 1929. There were 5,374,897 farmers at an average 2.67 acres per family, in comparison with any American farmer family with 155 acres. These were larger in Karafuto and reduced by 2 acres in southwest area; the intense culture and scientific development, raised the yield to 43 bushels per acre in 1936. In some parts of southern Japan, the subtropical climate favored a double harvest. Other important cereals were wheat, rye, millet barley; the sparsely populated Chishima Islands had an inclement climate for anything other than small-scale agriculture. Karafuto had a severe climate made cultivation difficult, along with unsuitable podzolic soils. Small scale farming was developed in the south, were land was suitable for potatoes, rye and vegetables. Only 7% of Karafuto was arable; the livestock raising was quite important. Farming experiments with rice were successful. Through government policies, capable farmers from Hokkaidō and northern Honshū received 12.5 acres to 25 acres of land and
Prince Itō Hirobumi was a Japanese statesman and genrō. A London-educated samurai of the Chōshū Domain and an influential figure in the early Meiji Restoration government, he chaired the bureau which drafted the Meiji Constitution in the 1880s. Looking to the West for legal inspiration, Itō rejected the United States Constitution as too liberal and the Spanish Restoration as too despotic before drawing on the British and German models the Prussian Constitution of 1850. Dissatisfied with the prominent role of Christianity in European legal traditions, he substituted references to the more traditionally Japanese concept of kokutai or "national polity", which became the constitutional justification for imperial authority. In 1885, he became Japan's first Prime Minister, an office his constitutional bureau had introduced, he went on to hold the position four times, becoming one of the longest serving PMs in Japanese history, wielded considerable power out of office as the occasional head of Emperor Meiji's Privy Council.
A monarchist, Itō favoured a large, bureaucratic government and opposed the formation of political parties. His third term in government was ended by the consolidation of the opposition into the Kenseitō party in 1898, prompting him to found the Rikken Seiyūkai party in response, he resigned his fourth and final ministry in 1901 after growing weary of party politics, but served as head of the Privy Council twice more before his death. Itō's foreign policy was ambitious, he strengthened diplomatic ties with Western powers including Germany, the United States and the United Kingdom. In Asia he oversaw the First Sino-Japanese War and negotiated Chinese surrender on terms aggressively favourable to Japan, including the annexation of Taiwan and the release of Korea from the Chinese Imperial tribute system. Itō sought to avoid a Russo-Japanese War through the policy of Man-Kan kōkan – surrendering Manchuria to the Russian sphere of influence in exchange for the acceptance of Japanese hegemony in Korea.
A diplomatic tour of the United States and Europe brought him to Saint Petersburg in November 1901, where he was unable to find compromise on this matter with Russian authorities. Soon the government of Katsura Tarō elected to abandon the pursuit of Man-Kan kōkan, tensions with Russia continued to escalate towards war; the Japan–Korea Treaty of 1905 made Itō the first Japanese Resident-General of Korea. He supported the sovereignty of the indigenous Joseon monarchy as a protectorate under Japan, but he accepted and agreed with the powerful Imperial Japanese Army, which favoured the total annexation of Korea, resigning his position as Resident-General and taking a new position as the President of the Privy Council of Japan in 1909. Four months Itō was assassinated by Korean-independence activist and nationalist An Jung-geun in Manchuria; the annexation process was formalised by another treaty the following year after Ito's death. Through his daughter Ikuko, Itō was the father-in-law of politician and author Suematsu Kenchō.
Itō's birth name was Hayashi Risuke. His father Hayashi Jūzō was the adopted son of Mizui Buhei, an adopted son of Itō Yaemon's family, a lower-ranked samurai from Hagi in Chōshū Domain. Mizui Buhei was renamed Itō Naoemon. Mizui Jūzō took the name Itō Jūzō, Hayashi Risuke was renamed to Itō Shunsuke at first Itō Hirobumi, he was a student of Yoshida Shōin at the Shōka Sonjuku and joined the Sonnō jōi movement, together with Katsura Kogorō. Itō was chosen as one of the Chōshū Five who studied at University College London in 1863, the experience in Great Britain convinced him Japan needed to adopt Western ways. In 1864, Itō returned to Japan with fellow student Inoue Kaoru to attempt to warn Chōshū Domain against going to war with the foreign powers over the right of passage through the Straits of Shimonoseki. At that time, he met Ernest Satow for the first time a lifelong friend. After the Meiji Restoration of 1868, Itō was appointed governor of Hyōgo Prefecture, junior councilor for Foreign Affairs, sent to the United States in 1870 to study Western currency systems.
Returning to Japan in 1871, he established Japan's taxation system. That year, he was sent on the Iwakura Mission around the world as vice-envoy extraordinary, during which he won the confidence of Ōkubo Toshimichi, one of the leaders of the Meiji government. In 1873, Itō was made a full councilor, Minister of Public Works, in 1875 chairman of the first Assembly of Prefectural Governors, he participated in the Osaka Conference of 1875. After Ōkubo's assassination, he took over the post of Home Minister and secured a central position in the Meiji government. In 1881 he urged leaving himself in unchallenged control. Itō went to Europe in 1882 to study the constitutions of those countries, spending nearly 18 months away from Japan. While working on a constitution for Japan, he wrote the first Imperial Household Law and established the Japanese peerage system in 1884. In 1885, he negotiated the Convention of Tientsin with Li Hongzhang, normalizing Japan's diplomatic relations with Qing-dynasty China.
In 1885, based on European ideas, Itō established a cabinet system of government, replacing the Daijō-kan as the decision-making state organization, on December 22, 1885, he became the first prime minister of Japan. On April 30, 1888, Itō resigned as prime minister, but headed the new Privy Council to maintain power behind-the-scenes. In 1889, he b