Japan was the only country to remain outside colonial clutches. Japanese military generals called ‘shoguns’ ruled Japan for more than 200 years and emperor was mere figurehead. Japanese society was almost feudal and it was largely disconnected from the wider world.
Japan awakened to the modern development in middle of 19th century only when its very independence was threatened. Within a few decades, it not only warded off that threat, but even became a force to be reckon with. In 1853, Commodore Perry led a fleet to Japan and threatened it with an ultimatum. Japan had to open two of its ports for US ships as a result via a treaty and similar treaties were signed with the other countries as well.
In 1868, the rule of Shoguns was ended and a new set of rulers and advisers arrived on scene who ruled in the name of emperor whose authority was restored in theory. This event is termed as ‘Meiji Restoration’. Meiji is the title that new emperor took. Within 4 decades after it, Japan transformed itself. Unlike European industrialisation which was driven by capitalism and private enterprise, it was totally backed by state. The Meiji regime, which assumed power in Japan in 1868, believed that Japan needed to industrialise in order to resist Western domination. So it initiated a series of measures to help industrialisation. Postal services, telegraph, railways, steam powered shipping were developed. The most advanced technology from the West was imported and adapted to the needs of Japan. Foreign experts were brought to train Japanese professionals. Industrialists were provided with generous loans for investment by banks set up the government. Large industries were first started by the government and then sold off at cheap rates to business families. In Japan the fear of foreign conquest spurred industrialisation. But this also meant that the Japanese industrial development from the beginning was linked to military needs.CGPCS Notes brings Prelims and Mains programs for CGPCS Prelims and CGPCS Mains Exam preparation. Various Programs initiated by CGPCS Notes are as follows:-