Japan 1871 CE

Japan's isolation has been forcibly shattered, and modern Japan starts to emerge

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What is happening in Japan in 1871CE

Japan’s seclusion was shattered by the arrival of an American squadron, under Commodore Matthew Perry, demanding the opening up of Japan to foreign trade (1853 and again in 1854). It was immediately apparent to the Japanese shogun and his advisors that here is a force against which they have no defence, and they sign a treaty of friendship and trade. By 1859, the US has been followed by several European countries, who have forced the Japanese into signing “unequal treaties” – trade terms very favourable to themselves.

These developments undermine the prestige of the Tokugawa shogunate and, in 1868, a group of officials and daimyos around the emperor force the shogun to abdicate. After a short civil war, the emperor is restored to direct power, this inaugurating the period of the “Meiji Restoration”. In the name of tradition and national honour, the group around the emperor sets about one of the most remarkable transformations that any nation has ever known, as Japan begins the wholesale adoption of western technology. These years see the beginnings of modern Japan.

Next map, Japan in 1914

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