Publication Date

5-25-2009

Comments

Senior Honors Thesis

Abstract

Scholars have offered many conflicting interpretations of the Japanese Meiji Restoration of 1868, but few have put forth a comprehensive analysis as to the nature of the protagonists and the motivation of those who initiated this revolutionary movement. Although historical interpretations of the Restoration and its heroes have ranged from a romantic and generalized theory of economic struggle to focused studies of individuals whose motivations were singular, the true character of the samurai revolutionaries behind the Restoration is the issue here. Of those samurai who, acquired knowledge of Western civilization and technology, took part in the Restoration, and witnessed the death knell of feudalism, the Restoration revolutionaries stood apart from their samurai brethren and acted to lay the groundwork for a modern political system to replace it.