Meiji Japan’s Pursuit of a Modern Nation-State: An Interpretation

  • Mohamad Firdaus Mansor Majdin


This paper attempts to revisit the central position of Meiji Ishin (Meiji Restoration) in 19th Century Japan as it was considered a watershed point in the history of Japan. The Japanese and Western scholars generally agreed that the event had paved the way for the modernization of Japan in the 19th Century. Thus, it seems little doubt that the event was considered of great importance for Meiji insurgencies who later took up the country’s leadership in the country to safeguard and protect the suzerainty of Japan at the expense of steady Western encroachments into Japanese waters since the 1850s. In so doing, the study uses a method of content analysis to examine the essentiality of the Meiji Ishin based on Japanese and Western literature. The study demonstrates that the Meiji insurgencies who had taken charge of transforming Japan as a modern and strong nation-state economically and militarily in the 1870s until 1890s pointed out that this revolution was indeed their utmost step otherwise Japan would succumb to Western imperialism. The study also demonstrates that Meiji leaders (names include Ito Hirobumi, Saigo Takamori, and Kido Takayoshi to name but a few) who later had paved the way for Meiji Restoration in 1868, had strategically realized the dangers that the Western Powers posed towards Japan which then partly explained their attempts of overthrowing the Shogunate administration in 1868. Eventually, the occurrence of Meiji Ishin in 1868 set the stage for the creation of modern administrative, political, and economic changes in Japan.


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How to Cite
MANSOR MAJDIN, Mohamad Firdaus. Meiji Japan’s Pursuit of a Modern Nation-State: An Interpretation. Asian Journal of Research in Education and Social Sciences, [S.l.], v. 4, n. 1, p. 186-195, apr. 2022. Available at: <>. Date accessed: 04 july 2022.