History of Imperial Japan – Meiji Restoration and Wars

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Between 1868 and 1947, after the fall of feudal system (shogunate) and the establishment of a new government, Japan has become the largest Asian power thanks to the country's industrialization and militarization that has placed the Japanese in a position of sovereignty compared to the rest of the Asian continent.

During the conflicts waged with China during the Sino-Japanese wars, the invasions of Korea, the Russo-Japanese War, World War I and the War in the Pacific Ocean, Japan achieved military success. However, the Imperial Japan went into decline after suffering several defeats during the Second World War which resulted in the military weakening and the defeat in the Second War, causing Japan's surrender to the Allied Forces in 1945.

After surrender, Imperial Japan was dissolved in 1947 and the constitution in force at the time (Meiji Constitution) was replaced by the 1947 Constitution, giving rise to Modern Japan.

History of imperial japan - meiji restoration and wars

Fall of the Shogunate and Meiji Restoration

After Emperor Meiji (1852 - 1912) ordered the dissolution of the Tokugawa Shogunate, samurai forces with the support of daimyos who were dissatisfied with the shogunate and with the government that aimed to build economic relations with foreigners, the feudal military government that ruled Japan during six centuries finally dissolved, thus bringing a new era to the country with a model of constitutional government that brought a more democratic government to the Japanese people.

However, Japan's opening to foreign trade was not peaceful even after the end of the shogunate, as there were still political forces that opposed Japan's “westernization” and the established commercial relations with foreigners.

However, over the years, Western influences on Japan's politics gave rise to the idea of militarization and nationalist ideology that influenced Japanese society until the end of World War II.

History of imperial japan - meiji restoration and wars

World War, Sino-Japanese and Russian-Japanese

Before the First World War, Imperial Japan fought in two significant wars after its establishment following the Meiji Revolution. The first was the First Sino-Japanese War (1894 - 1895). The war revolved around the issue of control and influence over Korea under the rule of the Joseon Dynasty, which resulted in the victory of the Japanese.

The second was the Russo-Japanese War (1904 - 1905) fought over the dispute over control of Korean lands that resulted in another victory for the Japanese empire.

Japan entered the First World War in 1914, taking advantage of Germany's distraction from the European War to expand its sphere of influence in China and the Pacific. Together with England, France and the United States, Japan managed to win the First World War.

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