Meiji Restoration and Revolts

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Topics: Japan treaded through a compendium of contemporary world thought which fashioned the Meiji Era's modernity.

By Michael Johnathan McDonald

Meiji Restoration,

Nature has said, does say and will say, ‘there are times to die and times for rebirth; this is my nature.’

Dynamic manifestations of dissatisfaction with everything gripped the masses.

The instability of all the variable circumstances was a ripe opportunity to change the status quo. No one player could do without the other. No one figure was the hero. Change is natural, and Neo- Confucianism, the underlying ideology of the Tokugawa regime, could not displace this truth, because in its own philosophical-right nature controlled the bakufu’s destiny, and since nature controlled according to their right, nature’s dominant theme of change won out. It was this key understanding that I pose to why change occurred, the integral part of nature, made its own destiny independent on any one overlapping themeology.

Peasant rebelling in Japan

Type one the Endemic Revolt.

Type one are Jinsei revolts

  1. Ikki

  2. Daimyo osso, the normative Tokugawa rebellion, all before the ending mass riot period.

  3. Shuso

  4. Jikiso

  5. Goso

  6. Uchikowashi

  7. Yonaoshi

  8. Daimyo jin

  9. Okagenairi

  10. Ee ja na ka

  11. Namazu –e

Peasant revolts are very interesting in Japan. When we look at character of protests, it is a character of consensus (usually ostracizing if not). In the normative revolts it is a process of collective bargaining, like college procedures in the sport of baseball in the west. The peasants smashed things and didn’t mean to hurt physically anyone and afterwards expected to return to their peasant lives. It was a show of frustration, after they had tried many avenues of reproach. The Bakufu, or daimyo, also had a sense of shame that such an event could happen. Ikki existed before the takeaway period but was redefined in the 16th century, and meant a consolidation of a group that could revolt to the city in protest including the Samurai taking part. In the Tokugawa period ikki meant just peasant rebellion.

Shuso is a legal petition that its process followed a chain of command: headman to attendant (daikan) to daimyo.

Osso, a direct petition through the headman of a village , a daikan, or illegally strait to a daimyo ( when a daikan doesn’t approve).

Jikso, peasant breaks laws of presentation and ignores the attendants and through petition strait into the Samurai’s palace or council. That peasant will know they will be punished.

Gōso, violent protests, peasants may appear in castle-town or troop-town and peasants attack it. Remember the peasants do not have swords, so they use plows, rakes and sticks or whatever they can use as a weapon.

Uchikowashi, ‘smash-and-break’ all personal belongings, even when the rich person doesn’t give in to their demands they will even break the cat’s milk bowl. They will not however, hurt people.  

Yonaoshi, ‘World renewal.” All 1820s onward. These revolts were used when things started falling apart.

Yonaoshi daimyo Jin, ‘divine rectifier of world renewal’; as a group or usually headed up by a charismatic leader.

Okagenairi, a movement where people pilgrimage to a shrine. At first not allowed, however people en mass took them once every sixty-years and the second time the Bakufu just regulated it and stopped banning it. Usually going to the Sun Goddess shrine.

Riots along the places of Kyoto, Edo and Osaka

End of Tokugawa Period, the World to Them seemed to Fall apart. Mass movements had slogans such as “Isn’t it good,” meaning all can go to hell or who cares anymore, and other slogans along with the above mentioned. One group took a sign from a local business shop and hung it on the front of the Bakufu palace and inscribed a word over the sign. It said “All sold out

When these mass riots erupted at the late stages, the peasants would go town or village to village and ask for weapons as gifts, and they would always thank the personas.

Earthquakes, and the symbol of namuza ( catfish)

Belief that the earth was purging itself, placed interest in symbols observe din nature. The Catfish, one man noted, would act strange before an earthquake. So these lead to ground breaking seismologist work, although the term had not been used. The Japanese led in earthquake investigation. Cults arose of the “treasures of the sea.” These numazu groups associated natural events, and in the 1850s a series of prints appeared of numazu-e after a large earthquake. . So the saying when the namazu sake, so will our country. These remarks had more than one meaning. It was a symbol of the times. It was a portrait of disturbance of society, a social earthquake would be coming soon.

Jinkune, a righteous Lord

Gimin (pronounced like geeming)

Giseisha ( geesashah), a martyr nailed up like a crucifixion of a Christian, but upside down like Peter the Apostle, because of the quicker death of the blood flowing to the skull. 

Sakura Sogōrō, end of 17th was crucified and becomes a hero, he was a gimin.

When looking at protests, look at what is operating in the norm and out of the norm. the  Daimyo osso were mostly domain-wide, and not large. These were pip-squeak and ‘not’ like the tai-Ping rebellion where million took apart and many death occurred. All the people here in this period were peasants. Generally they were aimless, frustrated and had no ultimate purposes. Toku. wanted to stop extensive rebellions; so no alliance, remove coalition ability.

Shimabara revolt 1637–1638 in Nagasaki Prefecture, Kyūshū, Japan, saw a big rebellion and everything the Tokugawa feared, Catholicism and a banning of Christianity. Samurai, daimyo and city people and villagers were all involved. This region was the most Christian. The Tokugawa brought great forces and it is said that on the main road every four-to-five feet a crucified body of Japanese Christian laid upside down. Significance is no status groups came together; Shinto-Bible stomping rituals were the measures of the Bakufu. The relevance is that Christianity offered no danger to the regime.

What could set-off a protest?

1600-1868 approximately 2,800 various protests or revolts were recorded. Some were not due to political reasons already discussed. Endemic, always took place, and Pandemic took place everywhere (later period).

Protests were not about taxes as earlier historians recorded. They were about a disparity in class economics. There arose from the middle Tokugawa period to the close a growing separation of the rich and poor in the agrarian system, the villages that is, where angry peasants sometimes sold their homes or mortgaged them and later after the money ran out, or their generations, had to become day-laborers. Then they had no rights. Since the Samurai didn’t come into the Domains, they didn’t know about this for many decades. The peasants had learnt to pay their taxes by prescripts and edicts. The Bakufu, even by Jinsei had to help them in time of need. There are always cases of a bad lord of the domain with greed, but these were few and far in between. In times of need the Bakufu provided osuki ( aid). Nomonari tax was known, as well as the land tax, for Koku, and the peasants knew the covenant between the national government and their little states (domains). These were not signed agreements; they were promises, and more powerful then written laws. They adhered to Confucian stringent models of verbal agreements.

When the village headman had a problem, he or she went to the Bakufu attendant first, the daikan. It this officer gave no assistance, they either went strait to the lord or made due with what was agreed upon. The headman could ask for a lessening of the tax burden, and he or she needs consensus of the whole village. The whole village then acts upon the decisions made or agreed upon. If the daikan still refuses to lessen the burden the Village can say he was not providing jinsei.

In 1680 Sogōrō, a headman, throws a petition in the complaint box of a daimyo, an illegal act because he or she didn’t go through proper channels. At this point Sogōrō didn’t know what else to do and knew he would be severely and quickly punished. This was the cost of collective bargaining. He was perhaps tortured before his execution. The morbid pallet of the lord was satisfied with blood; he then allows the petition to take place and over rules the daikan. The Sogōrō story becomes a cultural story, played out in the kabuki, but the names and period were changed. This case becomes famous, and on stage the character of Sogōrō is a ghost who haunts the daimyo. It had over one-hundred showings when it first appeared. Thirty years later it represented what an archetype of a gimin was to the people.

The Gimin becomes associated with another tradition, that of the Ujigama kami ( gami), the god of the village. The Gimin because associated with the Ujigama because he is seen as the spirit, the spirituality of the village, exemplifying the local people in ideology, completely different from Confucian strictness of Jinsei. This was another set of symbols.

Peasants after following all avenues of recourse then attack castle-towns ―  in most cases led by headmen. If one didn’t follow they were ostracized. The daimyo policy to his military or police were, ‘do not draw your swords, a dead peasant means one less laborer.’ When a producer is killed it affects the revenue of the lord. What can a lord do? He can, and has the right to kill all revolvers if he so chooses. But what does this accomplish? The norm was the peasants knew after they got out their aggression, it was back to business on the farm. In this way the covenant was still satisfied. A particular question was raised in a revolt in the 1820s, near Osaka. “ Why do you think you can rebel, we are the rulers, you are the ruled.” The response was “ When the upper are twisted, what do the lower do.” So the Tokugawa covenant is all collective in all problems, the upper do not do jinsei, the lower have the ‘right’ to rebel, and smash property. This is another reason why the Daimyo didn’t draw swords on the people. He knew that most of the villagers had to agree to a consensus or be ostracized, so a good policy was to go after the leadership later, and not the common peasant, even with the revolt was taking place. 

Domain monopolies.

Revolts had nothing to do with over taxation in most cases. The agrarian society rose to monopoly prominence in the second-half of the period and became rich, but like all societies, a poor class was left behind and some were none-to-happy. For example on tax, you never tax soybeans that would be breaking precedence. Domain monopolies claimed fixed prices, or their commodities only sold in their domains. Nothing to do with peasants starving. Since the tax law was set up in the beginning, it never was changed. So no precedence for new inventions and new plants introduced to the lands. So jinsei becomes a prerogative for the peasant. Would the wealthy peasant help the poor lower peasant? Not all land was fertile, some went to decay, and others didn’t get the correct timing of water. Not every village or land was the same. They good soil if one was lucky garnered a rich harvest, and paddy-field could get better over time. Getting water to the paddy-field was also a political skill. Which out a complete tax system taxing all made products and raw products not in the books, these good lands produced more than their share of taxable product, which left them to resell their surplus and make a profit? Then the families intermarried with other well-to-do-families and started stem-families in businesses. They became monopolies and wealthy. Sake was never taxed, but the big castle-towns sure loved to import it.

These economic disparities brought on martyers and saviors, otherwise folklore legends of peasant poor revolting again the rich in the village. Of course, when a monopoly happens, the daimyo would get in on the deal. A gimin would, therefore, cry out, “ I have sacrificed myself for your soybeans.” Soybeans in some capacities were not taxed correctly.

The Okagemairi, like the Sue in that they turned everything upside down, every sixty-years  went on a peasant sojourn to a Shinto shrine. This was a time to be in a fantasy mode. 

Rebellions didn’t seek to transform society. All peasants were entangled within what is expected. So they understood protest and revolts were expected happen from the onset of the period, not just the end, like historians claim that were ‘over taxation riots, and they were all starving’.

The second type of revolt, The Pandemic.

1853 Commodore Matthew Perry arrives with four black ships a little south of Nagasaki, will not leave until he gets and agreement for whaling privileges that if men are shipwrecked they would be treated well. Black ships would take on the symbolism of western imperialism. On July 8, 1853 he arrived in a black-hulled steam frigate, and landed at Susquehanna at Uraga Harbor near Edo (modern Tokyo, and was met by representatives of the Tokugawa Shogunate who told him to proceed to Nagasaki. About this time the Shogun died and the Bakufu asked him to wait until politics could get sorted out first. He agreed after some protest and told them in no uncertain circumstances he would return, which he did in 1854. Perry returned in February 1854 with twice as many ships. The British rhetoric stated with subtle implication that one would not want a “Poor China.’ However, it was also discussed that America was different from the British and were not imperialists.

The question was what type of foreign policy Japanese would agree too. Should China and Japan surrender to the west? This time the Opium wars were to begin;  for the people had a consensus to be Sokoku, because most people were of the peasant class and foreign trade cut into their business. However, many merchants were not against opening up the country, Kai Koku. They wanted to make it clear to barging to get the least extrality measures (extraterritoriality). Officials begin to see Parry’s point of view, “ heah, we live in international times.” The emperor said get the best deal one can, the less open the better.

The Japanese thought the U.S.A. was out of bounds diplomatically, for only a diplomat had immunity. They were a sovereign state, and the Americans told them, “We’ll introduce you to a new world.” The Japanese replied, “ not all people are created equal and your laws are not up to civilian level, U.S.A.” this was an age of internationalism and soon international shipping laws. The whaling off the coast of Japan was a matter of civility, so that if the American needed supplies to get home or if one of their ships were to wreak that the men would be treated with kindness.

What the United States wanted was the Most Favored Nation Status, a monopoly of sorts. The Japanese during the year prior made a startling change in discourse. Instead of the Bakufu only making the decisions, they first asked the Emperor for his opinion. They also asked the Lords and commoners for their opinions. The Japanese had three Kai koku periods which were significant encounters. The first made them aware that eventually there would be contact, and they knew eventually this would happen. In the close of the sixteenth century they threw out the Portuguese and Russians. In 1850s-1860s this period were are discussing and some say after World War II when western allies occupied Japan and formed their constitution were three periods of the Kai Koku.  However, the second period, such as communication was lacking in this age, wide-spread panic happened in Edo and other castle-towns. The further away from Nagasaki on the peninsula the rumors appeared to have been inflated and caused more fear the further one went. It was evidence the Japanese were not ready and began to panic, and now people fled the cities with their furniture and belongings and people grabbed weapons or made them as quickly as they could. The rumor that 5000 men and 10 warships were the closet to the actual dockings, that being at Edo, then the further one got away the numbers increased to 100,000 and 100 warships which brought fears that this was Kubli Khan’s return. The Russians and the British ships had been there and made warning that a battle world come. The Russians had tried for a century to start a relationship, but each time they were asked to leave.

The result was the Perry signed the Convention of Kanagawa on March 31, 1854. refuge for American ships, most favored nation status. This started coastal defenses in the domains, so the Daimyo received fortifications, western military schools arose, and a research & development intuition arose.

The Bakufu hired a French Filibuster, and the French said we want to be your friends, and the British tried to change the Bakufu domains. The British

Townsend Harris, a New Yorker, was part of a governing body in New York and council in Asia who was also a merchant and he arrived in Japan. He negotiated the "Harris Treaty" between the U.S. and Japan and is credited as the diplomat who first opened the Japanese Empire to foreign trade and culture. He is the one to say “we Americans are not imperialists.” This showed a difference between English and French competition within the Japanese didactic interfolds of political experimenters. What worked the best for Japan was the best rout to follow. They understood the Americans were not leaving, and they offered the least threatening partnership.

Geisha girl sex.

The Namamugi Incident 1862  also known sometimes as the Richardson Affair was a samurai and English misunderstanding in Japan on September 14, 1862. Richardson was bold and after seeing a military escort of a daimyo, he went to meet them. A samurai told him to stop in Japanese, and after a few warnings, Richardson didn’t stop approaching, apparently not thinking anything was wrong, and cut him to pieces. Richardson had been a long time merchant in Shanghai and this sent shockwaves through the Japanese merchant class. After the incident groups tell the papers in England and they retaliate with a bombardment of Kagoshima in 1863, first after asking for punishment of the guilty. This led to ill feelings on both sides. The samurai said, “what should I do? I was ordered to not let anyone near the lord, and he kept approaching after many pleas to stop.” The British demanded punishment, but the samurai broke no laws.  He was protecting the daimyo of Satsuma, Shimazu Hisamitsu. When these ships departed they took with them Samurai who went to England to learn western ways.

The feeling of a time period between five-to-seven years would be the period that Japan would be conquered by all the foreigners led to its technological militarization. The Emperor,, who was alive during the Bakufu days, said “ What should I do?,” “I have no idea, ask  the daimyo.” A saying went that “international relations brings desolation.”

In 1873, Christianity was allowed into the Country legally for the first time in 1873.


No stranger dimensions attaches to the history of the Meiji Restoration that the ofudafuri, the mysterious decent from empty skies of countless thousands of paper talismans, and the wild dancing parties they inspired in the cities, towns, and villages late in the year 1867. These lucky charms (ofuda), like pennies from heaven, became a pretext for hysterical dancing and orgiastic behavior across a wide band of Japan’s most densely populated geographic heartland, from Hiroshima in the west, back in an easterly direction to Nagoya and onward toward Yokohama, and from Kyoto south to Awaji Island in the Inland Sea and Tokushima in the Awa Province on the island o f Shikoku. The legends on the paper charms showed that they represented a host of Shinto shrines and Buddhist temples; most often they carried the name of the Grand Shrine of Ise, dedicated to the sun goddess Amaterasu and the pantheon of kami celebrated in the Japanese creation myth. (PR95-6)

Common people made up the bulk of the Japanese population. It was their thrust and will that changed Japan’s direction. These were not political expressive protests; the people were letting out bent up frustration of the weak lords and samurai, the forced foreign influx and a general disarray of national focus. However, out of control mobs physiologically weakened the resolve to firm-up any central authority. The central authority could only act on in respect to Confucianism, but the Buddhist and Shinto sentiment countered any attempt to restore order in the Tokugawa ideology.

The Period from Mathew Perry to the Meiji restoration say many campaign slogans and political slogans. Bakumatsu.


Meiji Restoration was a short period 1866 to 1869, but it was a long time brewing.

By the beginning of 1867, however, Tokugawa Yoshinobu finally assumed the mantle of Shogun ( the last shogun, as it turned out) and set out to cooperate with ambitious middle officials to maintain the bakufu’s supremacy, even while acknowledging daimyo claims to feudal autonomy. The apex of this policy reach in the fall of 1867, when the bakufu announced the new policy of taisei hōkan, (restoration) which would formally return governing power to the imperial court. According to this plan devised by Tosa han, the shogun would step down and join all other feudal lords in a new participatory system based on a council that would “advise” the imperial court on actual policy formations. The Tokugawa house would remain in control of feudal allocation of economic resources, with its landholdings undiminished. (PR56)

The formation in 1866 of the Satsuma-Chōshū Alliance between Saigō Takamori, the leader of the Satsuma domain, and Kido Takayoshi, the leader of the Chōshū domain, marks the beginning of the Meiji restoration. These two leaders supported the emperor and were brought together by Sakamoto Ryoma for the purpose of challenging the ruling Tokugawa Shogunate (bakufu) and restoring the emperor to power

Patriots and Redeemers in Japan

Two myths are valid:

1)     It is not adequate to say that the emperor was restored to power, for his officials ruled in his name, and he personally remained powerless.

2)     The Widespread acceptance of the myth of imperial legitimacy resulted from an established currency of that myth: It was well known and not regarded as false. The myth carried enough force to justify the central government’s efforts in the daring policies it undertook. The4 mandate of the emperor, sanctioned in myth, allowed the oligarchs to suppress opposition from every quarter as well as to build a new nation state after the western manner.

The very terms for “ restoration” that were first used among the samurai – isshin ( innovation) ot the more formal ōsek fukko ( restoration of imperial rule) were soon supplanted by more supple phrases that allowed a wide range of interpretations. Two terms, goisshen ( imperial innovation) and ishin ( from the Confucian Classical, connotating “ to promote the new”) may have originated amoung the mixed Samurai-commoner military units that fought in the Chōshu Civil War in 1865. 1

Not until 1868 that the contemporary scholars used Chinese-fashion to use the term Meiji Meiji ishin, the commonest phrase. 2 The event process of issued raised for historians are, (1) Epistemology, (2) historiography, or the theory of history, and (3) methodology.

What finally eventuated in the restoration after 1868 was a “revolution” that turned upon itself to erect a modern nation-state based on containment of the vast energies that had been released in the bakumatsu period. Popular energy did not vanish, nor indeed had ever been lacking in the dramas of bakumatsu; it was absorbed, canceled and elevated into the reform program [the many experimental programs] of the victorious samurai, “sublated” in a manner suggested by the philosophical concept of Aufhebung. To say that the common people caused the imperial loyalists samurai to act as they did in the Meiji Restoration is unsustainable. To say they shared a motive [dissatisfied] of redeeming the realm coincided is undeniable. 3

Perhaps a complex industrial society cannot be brought together by any single sense of historical destiny or mission and, therefore, cannot settle on a dominant “myth of concern” to guide it. 4 Tokugawa Japan should be regarded as a self containing; self regulated system of ‘states’ in much the same way as early modern Europe. 5

One-half of million plus residents of the Edo samurai just got up and left. Why? They went home in search of reform. They only had stipends, unlike the European counterparts the Aristocrats that had land vested interests. They had more reason to have dissatisfaction and wanting reform. The Sankin Kotai was tinkered with, but to no avail, and by ‘the beginning of 1867 Tokugawa Toshinobu finally assumed the mantle of shogun and set about to cooperate with ambitious middle officials to maintain the bakufu’s supremacy, even acknowledging daimyo claims to feudal autonomy. The apex of this policy was reached in the fall of 1867, when the Bakufu announced the new policy of taisei hokan, which would formally return governing power to the imperial court.’ 6

The liberals did not want to compel their detractors to support the status quo, yet they were quite willing to divide and conquer. 7

The problem of the liberals is nicely illustrated by a statement attributed to Tokugawa Yoshinobu in 1863, when the British crisis Satsuma over Richardson’s murder reached a climax. Not a thing that is going to happen, he wrote to the Council of Elders, can do any good for the bakufu. If hostilities should break out between Britain and Satsuma, then  “victory for the English would be a disgrace for the country, victory for Satsuma a blow to the bakufu’s prestige.” For the Bakufu this brought a classic dilemma: to intervene in Satsuma’s internal affairs would invite accusations of disrespect for feudal proprieties, yet to ignore Britian’s demand for retribution would show weakness to the foreigners.

Nothing could catch the liberal dilemma more clearly. Because the han were outside the bakufu [tenryo], the bakufu could not punish Satsuma for killing the hapless Richardson. But because Satsuma was a part of the Japanese political system, it appeared to the bakufu that Japan could only lose if Satsuma were injured by the British, and Japan’s loss was necessarily also the bakufu’s. 8

Chōshū twice practiced radical polices that brought a reaction of the bakufu. When the English did in fact retaliate, Satsuma decided to strengthen the their secretly alliance with Chōshū formed in early 1866 which would result in the eventual coup d’etat of January, 3, 1868.

Imperial Loyalists: Adventures and Romance.

Popular participation in disorders, pilgrimages, and carnivals was deeply unsettling to all samurai and all political leaders, whether of the old regime or the new one forming. The core of the ideology of imperial loyalism is the idea of sonno jōi, which Maruyama Masao has called the final “ form of pre-nationalism” in Japan: it was self congratulatory heriarchial ideology propping up the feudal system, and the emphasis on the institution of the tennō it did contain the seeds of a transfeudal breakout but was unable in the end to get past feudalism’ s “ last historical iron barrier.” The xenophobic impulse to drive off foreigners (jōi) had been a part of Japanese coastal defense schemes for many decades prior to 1868. That kind of cultural togetherness could be expressed better, however, by reverence for the emperor (sonnō) as a symbol of all Japanese.

The Sonnō jōi impulse thus originated among samurai who were willing to court anarchy if necessary to accomplish their objectives. These were figures altogether different form the cautious official of the bakufu and han. Many of them sufford form an acute sense of status deprivation: they were part of the elite, yet their circumstances were straitened, and they could not depend on office holding to advance themselves. When they looked at the world they saw black-and-white reality that badly wanted changing. They also thought they perceived a moral imperative that needed to be expressed in the form of courageous action against those samurai who used their high status to sit above the fray, preventing able but lowly samurai from rising to the top. Their appreciation of politics was tempered by a highly formal view of society, community, and the world as a congeries of dispersed idiographic entities. In chaos they questioned for redemption, not for order. Their overriding motive was to make Japan a proper place by reliving distress; another modest one was to pacify the country, since that too was consistent with the redeemer’s role. 9

Some of them surely acted from selfish rather than altruistic motives, since fear and greed and naked ambition were bound to join patriotism and redemption as motives of behaviors in such complex and convoluted situations. But at root the impulse was one of idealism. 10

Wilson in Chapter four tells us his methodology in scope of this work: “This whole book is conceptually grounded in Hayden White’s Eurocentric doctrine of formal rhetorical determinism, with its assertion of linguistic deep structures, or poetics, as preconscious figurative forces in deciding how history will be perceived and language deployed to convey historical narratives and meanings.” 11

The temptation to rest with easy answers perhaps arises from the rational cause-and-effect procedures of narrative reconstruction through which historians of sharply differing ideological persuasions look at the Meiji Restoration. They see the Meiji leaders engaged in Machiavellian politics, and they know that many discontented people were roaming the land, stirring up rural as well as urban turmoil. The resolution of struggles among the samurai elite, and the suppression of political countermovements, made the new government’s tasks look deceptively simple. What is missing is attention to the much more dynamic manifestations of the popular anxiety that permeated the very atmosphere of the tumultuous bakumatsu years.12

Public pilgrimages to sacred places such as the Grand Shrine of Ise were periodic features of Japan, but in the 1860s there was an intensity of which took notice of authorities. Throngs of public hovered at many shrines throughout Japan, and new religions, or older ones, appeared more open and direct in public at this time. Farmer uprisings (kyakusho ikki) grew in number until the peak year of 1866, displaying utopian ( yonaoshi) features that were unique in this decade. 13 One answer is that millenarianism on a wide scale affected both popular consciousness and the samurai sense of propriety, chipping away at the authority of the Tokugawa bakuhan system. 14 In the cities, violent demonstrations (uchikowashi or yakiharai) were directed against rice merchants, sake dealers, pawnbrokers, landlords, and others who were seen as exploiters of the urban poor. 15

The appearance of carnivalers in the streets in the eve of the restoration, shouting crude rhymes that closed with the catch phrase ee ja nai ka and engaging in transvestite and other hysterical forms of behavior, led to summary suppression once the restoration lad occurred.  The crucial significance of these ee ja nai ka outbursts has not received adequate attention, and this phenomenon is the topic of Chapter 6. Occurring in urban areas that the bakufu had to control at the very time when its political authority was unraveling, the orgiastic ee ja nai ha festivities created a difficult situation for politician who were trying tin vain to return Japan to some sort of stability under the bakufu’s auspices. “Yasumaru Yoshio goes as far as to say that the ee ja nai ka frenzies “had the effect of temporarily paralyzing the bakuf’s system of rule,” and that they amounted to a “gusher” of popular millennial aspirations coincidentally spouting forth right in the  “center region [where the] bakumatsu political wars ‘ were being waged.” 16

Vacillation and indecision, and the quickening of events, the unfortunate assassination of potential problem solvers all weighted on the stresses Japan were dealing with during the bakumatsu period. “Popular discontent assumed new forms and come to pose a threat to the existing order.” 17 Wilson argues that in chapter 6 “ee ja nai ka was actually a form of protest against the older order.” 18 He therefore argues, “ The hysteria was probably less important than the uncertainty it implied, the disnomy it revealed. The demonstrators longed for security rooted in solid and stable ways of doing things. In this regard it may be that ee ja nai ka was not so remote in motivation from the pilgrimages, which also produced large crowds if not such unruly ones. But okagemairi – despite the breaking of ordinary taboos against promiscuity and despite the loose behavior that accompanied them – were carefully orchestrated manifestations of people’s need for mobility, even if they were striving for a new and stronger sense of community. Ee ja nai ka was spontaneous orgiastic and sometimes destructive behavior, less ritualistic and less formal, harder for the authorities to predict and cope with than okagemairi.” 19

1 Wilson, George M., Patriots and Redeemers in Japan (Chicago: Chicago University Press, 1992), 5.

2 Ibid, 6.

3  Ibid, 10,11.

4 Ibid, 26.

5 Ibid, 35.

6 Ibid, 56.

7 Ibid.

8 Ibid, 56,57.

9 Ibid, 62,63,64.

10 Ibid, 64.

11 Ibid, 74 .

12 Ibid, 78 .

13 Ibid.

14 Ibid, 81.

15 Ibid, 85.

16 Ibid.

17 Ibid, 131.

18 Ibid, 101.

19 Ibid, 100,101.

Smith Chapter 6 and Lecture Notes

Diamyo of Tosa, a former Tozama domain, came from a small family before the Tokugawa era, came into prominence by being moved out of a smaller domain after the reorganization of the Tokugawa government into a larger domain. Yamanouchi Yodo, never opposed the Tokugawa, but he usurped political power in Tosa Province, formerly located in Shikoku.

Iwakura Tomomi, the influential Kuge in the imperial court, this statesman opposed to opening up Japan to the west looked to study treaties and understand their international relevance.

Albert M.Craig’s Chōshu in the Meiji Restoration and Marius B. Jansens’ Sakamoto Ryōma and the Meiji restoration, are two authors Smith uses in Chapter 6.

Village headmen and gōshi (low-ranking warriors who lived in the country), whose dissatisfactions he describes in some detail, were extremely important in the Tosa loyalist movement; that were to be found “in generous proportion” in the Restoration armies of Tosa in 1867; and that these two groups were among the chief beneficiaries when warrior ranks were recognized in Tosa in 1869. 1 Smith, quoting Jansen goes on to say that eventually these two became disillusioned with the Tokugawa Tosa. “Craig and Janses are surly right: the restoration was not a product of class struggle, although its social consequences were revolutionary.” 2 1859-’63, ideology of agitation by the proponents of Sonnō jōi sought to curtail affected domestic economy, especially food. The west realized a great internal problem about themselves. So they thought to complete the opening up polices already in discussion they would force or give some pressure on the leaders in Japan. But, not all the leaders were ruling everywhere.

This caused an imperial and shogunate split. An attack diplomacy, by the English, came the same way as their China opium policies against the Emperor’s men of China. 1864, the English attacked, moved onward into Osaka bay, and went to the imperial court to try to force them to give them trade. Boat decimated Japanese batteries, and after the Satsuma incident with Richardson, they bombarded the domain. After all of this the Japanese said, ‘heh, we need to change or we are not going to survive.’ By the end of 1865, anti-foreignism weakened. There were no large scale movements to see appointments of goals to get in technological league of the west. The cultural and moral superiority had not been a factor. Japanese long considered themselves superior over all others, even ones they hadn’t come into contact with yet.

Chōshū had challenged the bakufu and the Tokugawa government appeared too weak and feeble. Now the people said, what were we supposed to do? Our own government is crumbling from within and we have no direction, and we have many different foreigners knocking on your preverbal doorstep trying to take advantage of us economically. Japanese learned quickly gold’s value to the rest of the world.  For a longtime, Silver imported from Spanish mines at Zacatecas, Mexico and another silver mine in Peru, were heavily traded in the Pacific Islands were they conquered the trade rights at the Philippines, which made it easier to go strait to Mexico from the Philippines than sail all around the world from the Pacific to the Atlantic oceans. The Chinese, had the same influence, after the Portuguese were ousted at Canton by the English, the Chinese only knew how to trade in Silver in which they demanded as currency exchange. The Japanese had come to understand the same thing. So word got out to the westerners to bring as much silver as they could on their journeys and to exchange for gold, in which many made quick fortunes. If a sailor didn’t have any silver, someone back in the west would give them some for this purpose.

The bakufu tried a French administration model, in 1867. The Americans in 1860 were distracted with the Civil War back home, but they were still the first country to open up Japan. With America distracted, the English moved in to threaten a China-Opium like solution if they didn’t succumb to their wicked desires. This brought on fear of a English Invasion, of the likes the English-gun boast sailing up the river to the Imperial quarters in China to force their will onto the Chinese people. One can understand that this really was a factor in change, because it came at a time when there were so many people upset and dissatisfied with the status quo.

Janurary 3, 1868 ( western calendar time, not the Japanese calendar), Tokugawa bakufu ended. The meeting took place at 5:00 p.m. at the imperial palace. The regular guards were approached by the shift-group, who were not the designated troop. Those forces were not allowed at the position. At the meeting, an adherence to the Bakufu lessened, and instead members connected with the opposition. Yodo and Tomomi were there.

The Discontented, Smith Ch. 6

Chōshū- Satsuma did not go on to build another Bakufu. Instead, intent on preserving or recreating the virtues of their old society, they ended by destroying. 3 Smith gives a threefold answer to as why this happened. Non of these reasons were because of the weakening of the old society or because of the emerging modern traits. 4

The first point, the tendency of feudalism “in ever known example” to greater and greater political centralization, might be taken as a strength of traditional society since the author believes, with Joseph R. Strayer and Rushton Coulborn, that “ the better feudalism workd, the more rapidly it generates a political structure which is not completely feudal.” The other two points have to do with external influences: The adoption of modern weapons, which hastened political centralization, and “the image of the West as a military superior power.” Here we come to the nub of the matter: “It is the latter challenge that led them [Japanese leaders] to carry out the Meiji Restitution.5

Japanese leaders were indeed eager to make the nation the military equal of Western nations […]. In the one case concern for the nation seemly led to a revolution that had at its heart the overthrow of a class system based on differential rights and obligations; in the other it did not. One reason for the difference is that the community, the object of concern in both cases, was not identified in Japanese thought and feeling to the same extent as in China with the traditional social order and its peculiar morality. Patriotic feeling – nationalism, if you will – did not, therefore, require a defense of the traditional social system in order to preserve the community’s identity and its unique moral strength. 6

The desire to make Japan strong was less important than the conviction that the traditional social order was not itself a source of strength. Whence came this conviction? The answer in party is simple: the new leaders, and a great many other Japanese as well, were profoundly dissatisfied with the traditional social order and already grouping for a legitimate alternative. 7

“The found it in the mobile yet stratified societies of the powerful west.” 8

What we need to do is revisit Ogyū Sorai’s merit argument, as well as what we understand to be a meritocracy in the United States attitudes and policies of capitalism, tell us of the importance to a chōnin class, a under representative lower samurai class to the high offices in the Bakufu land, and the general status immobility. The people of Japan at this time were for “ freedom of movement within the hierarchy and against birth and order hereditary restraints upon such freedom.” 9

This attitude is unambiguously expressed in warrior writings on government. Everywhere eligibility for office was largely determined by family rank, and everywhere this practice was bitterly attacked by writers who urged that the appointment and promotion of officials be based on merit along. Hardship, they agreed, fostered intelligence and character; wealth and ease, their opposites. 10 Ogyū Sorai (1666-1728) had charged that, because of their relatively low rank, hatamoto were virtually barred from high office in the Bakufu; long after, on the eve of the Restoration, Yokoi Shōnan (1809-69) was making the identical charge. 11

War no longer weeds out the unfit; families at the top consequently maintain themselves there through political influence, enjoying by birth the positions their ancestors had to win by deeds; possessing without effort everything they could wish, they fail to develop that talent ― such native ability as they have is ruined. How can this be otherwise? Raised in ease and indolence, never rebuked, constantly praised by retainers who do everything for them, they grow up soft, ignorant, proud, self-indulgent. Above all, they have no feeling for or understanding of the common people, a defect making them utterly unsuited for high office. In such circumstances, the wise ruler will recruit his ministries from men of low rank whose character and talents and sympathies have been formed in harsher circumstances. 12

Smith argues Sorai’s violent change would bring chaos. Bringing men from below to displace the men from above, but this is how history corrects itself. Chaos is part of nature and nature was part of the Confucian doctrine (their interpretation) in the Japanese idea in the Tokugawa. They just tried to forget about birth and death of a system. They envisioned in the beginning the Tokugawa system was forever the solution, only to make minor adjustments here and there, once in a while.

By recruiting talented officials form below, Sorai continued, the governing elite would be continuously renewed. As new men rise to positions of honor and power, they replace others who have become a drag on government and whose biological lines naturally tend to die out – “according to heaven’s rule,” Sorai said hopefully. Thus the able rule the less able; meritocracy prevails and can last forever. But if talent is not continuously recruited from below, if government tries to keep the high high and the low low, as it unfortunately tends to, its quality will deteriorate. 13

It is the unvarying rule of nature,” Sorai wrote, “that old things disappear and new things take their place. Everything in creation is subject to this rule. However one may wish to preserve something forever, it is beyond anyone’s power to do so…To wish for this reason for the quick demise of the old would be harsh, but to hope it may last forever is folly. In all human affairs, the way of the sage is to keep human feelings in mind and not outrage them, at the same time seeing clearly what must be done and not being blinded by human emotions. 14

Sorai suggested four ways put his notion of meritocracy back into the real politics. (1) appoint men of low rank to higher appointments, (2) be careful to appoint men with different personalities and viewpoints, to avoid yes-men, (3) start all officials at the bottom and promote no-one except of the measure of merit, and (4) take care that high officials never have detailed instructions to a subordinate – otherwise subordinates would slavishly follow their superiors’ orders, nothing be revealed of their abilities, and conformity would because the standard for promotion. 15 This is wishful thinking at best, because how was one not going to get officials to not vote in their friends? Judging meritocracy is objective at best. China had beaten this crossroads by administering lifetime tests to get into politics. These tests were extremely hard to pass, and studying often took decades. However, Japan was not China and had no will to follow blindly another state. Many other Japanese writers had taken the same position and some thought this would solve all of Japanese societies’ ills.

Meritocracy was a factoring circumstance overshadowed by more immediate concerns such as the forced opening up of Japan by the west and the return of the imperial court with relations to powerful lords. Anti-Bakufu agitators used meritocracy as weapon, and used it well; and it did for some extent undermined the Tokugawa government. The writers and others champion of their thoughts and concerns called the Daimyo and other prominent leaders all sorts of names that were meant to degrade their respected stature in society. In this case, words in connection to consensus of a large able body group, albeit, unorganized, made head-ways into the physiology of the heads of the old ruling order. The meritocracy argument of the commoners and concerned, although unpractical to implement it by a citizenry without weapons themselves, undermined the emotional resolve of their opponents, the Bakufu.

Peasant time and factory time in Japan. Smith Ch 8

If the farm family would escape poverty, it must treat time as precious. By rising early and shortening the daily rest period, two additional hours a day can be worked, Nōgyō mōkum, a farm manual of 1840 stated. In “Time, Work-Discipline, and Industrial Capitalism,” E. P. Thomson describes how factories changed time sense in English common people, concluding that the  “first generation of factory workers were taught by their masters the importance of time.” 15

Thomson illustrates three methods, called ‘task orientation’ to develop a sense of time for peasants. First, peasant or labor pursuers natural rhythms, a type of submission to nature. Second, accept that social intercourse and labor become intertwined blurring the division between ‘life’ and ‘work.’ Thirdly, an attitude toward labor to facilitate and  lifestyle to live by the clock.

Time discipline played the essential role in English industrialization. They were the first to industrialize, so they had their share of bumps and bruises to how it affects all aspects of society. However, all success depended upon the disciplining the body to time discipline. This discipline lays the notion that a society coming out of feudalism will have a rough time adjusting to modernism. Smith argues that for Japan this was not a problem like it had been in Europe. “ This seeming prediction of universal cultural conflict over time discipline describes Japanese industrialization poorly.” 16

Farmers made elaborate efforts to coordinate work, and use time saving devices. As he describes in Chapter 1, Japan had gone through a stage of rural entrepreneurialship and people’s work ethics in by-employment. By-employment took extreme planning of time to do two jobs in a day or too regulate jobs throughout the year. This meant that Japanese commoners, the bulk of factory workers, already practiced natural rhythms. Farming books as early as 1680s tell a farmer how to manage time and get the most out of it. The books also describe how at the beginning of the month how one plans-out their entire schedule for the month. The books even give a notion that time is money without phrasing it in this manner. Japanese planned the night before for the next day’s labor, the understood that the family (ie) was a corporate venture, and success relied on strict adherence to time-management, and detailed planning. The families handed down these tips and books to their lineage ie. “Cropping decisions required anticipating work flow. Each crop entailed a number of narrowly timed tasks: seed treatment, soil preparation, planting ( and often transplanting), repeated and numbered weedings and fertilizations, and so on. Hence, cropping decisions set work schedules for an entire growing season.” 17  

Ōkura Nagatsune (1768 ―1865) advocated standardizing the time for recording yields: “After picking the cotton each day, return immediately to the house, weigh the cotton, and enter the results in a notebook as so-called picking weight, since the weight will vary later on.” 18 Nagatsune, a late Tokugawa writer, who traveled extensively and interviewed people showed that this time-management and schedule process was demonstrated in villages. 19

Nagatsune collected all sorts of information from all over Japan, and he disseminated information as he went on how better to improve working and production. He and others took to the task of promoting production techniques. “As a  result, real wages rose steadily and large holders who depended in critical part on non-family labor (mainly servants and tenant labor services) found costs rising and labor less reliable.” 20 What was happening were small families were producing more abundantly because of technological advances promoted by these books and demonstrations. This led to many people selling ( or transferring) their farms or renting them out because of over-production. “This shift in land management altered the context of decisions about time. First, farming now took place within smaller and more solitary units, where work more directly and obviously benefited those who did it. Second, as farms ( as opposed to units of ownership) come more nearly to match average family size, the larger farms decreasing and the smaller increasing in size, less reliance could be placed on hiring labor from neighbors at peaks of workload. Labor might not be available at all and was certain to cost more if it was. For that reason writers repeatedly warned farmers that working more land than they could with family labor was the way to ruin. Third, the family farmer was able to integrate farming with by-employment in trade and industry in a way large farmers working  with an array of servants and tenants never could. 21

Time also took into account for Japanese farmers how to manage water. This meant time was not personal but a community venture. What time each paddy-field received its daily dose was crucial to success. Documents on moral protocols showed a pre-industrial behavior. Another set of time values were accompanied with youth groups ( wakuashu) and showed communal moral protocol for self guarding the villages time by not allowing licentiousness, arguments, self-indulgence, avarice, and other kinds of immorality. Spending too much time with friends when one should be attending one’s parent’s wishes in work related issues is one example. Gambling and drinking are two other. The village was considered under one moral sphere, so seeing a well regulated and successful village production relied heavily on time issues. One writer on this subject was Ninomiya Sontoku (1787-1865). He gave much attention to the proper use of time in village life. He made rounds each morning waking people to the sound of a wooden clapper. 22

Smith argues that two general propositions have been advanced in this paper [chapter 8]: that late Tokugawa peasants had a lively, morally rooted sense of the preciousness of time, and that they thought of time as socially rather than individually controlled. This is, of course, a matter of degree. Tokugawa peasants were far more sensitive to the value of time than populations that have been described as task-oriented, but they were no doubt less so than modern Japanese factory workers. Peasants in the late Tokugawa period would see their children go into factory jobs. The first two generations of factory workers occurred from 1880 to 1920, and were marked by troubled and occasionally violent labor relations. 23 Yet, time doesn’t seem to have been a critical issue Smith argues. “ the workers’ relative lack of interest in a shorter working day may partly reflect the Tokugawa peasant’s preference for income over leisure up to a level near the limits of physical endurance.” 24 “Yokoyama Gennosuke (1879-1915) wrote in 1897 that, despite a normal working day of twelve to fourteen hours, most workers worked several additional house of overtime daily.” 25 Rodo sejaim a turn-of-the-century magazine promoted unions, complained, “Don’t our workers know the value of work time? 26

Significantly,  the spread of discussion among employers in the 1910s about shortening working hours was based not on workers’ demands but on the growing belief, supported by experimental evidence, that excessive working hours lowered labor productivity and so under minded Japan’s competitive position in the world. Still time discipline in Japanese e factories in the early twentieth century was unquestionably lax by peasant standards, and laxness was part the result of a more finely calibrated sense of time that came with the increased use of clocks and watches generally and from cumulative experience with factory time. But more important than either was the gradual legitimation of the factory by company reforms that raised worker status; increased job security and real wages; gave some measure of protection against sickness, injury, and old age; shortened working hours; and institutionalized worker-management consultation. 27

The Right to Benevolence: Dignity and Japanese Workers, 1890-1920. Smith Ch. 10

“According to historical accounts of the period, management began efforts to bring workers under greater physiological control because of its fear of unions and government intervention and the need to reduce the amount of labor turnover.” 28

The first great strike, which brought the Japan railway Company to its knees in 1899, was perhaps the best planned and organized strike of any before the 1920s. It took place at a time when the union was just beginning and occurred independently of it. 29

Second, workers used the language of rights sparingly before 1918. They were of course acquainted with the concept of rights from the freedom and People’s Rights movement of the late 1870s and 1880s and from the chapter of the national constitution dealing with the “rights and duties of the subject.” Also, Japanese intellectuals who advocated labor unions based their advocacy on natural rights theory. But the workers rarely used the term rights. 30

The idea of rights did not call forth the expressions of moral feeling that status did. The employment relation was seen as one between status unequals, similar to the relations between lord and vassal, master and servant, parent and child, calling for benevolence on one side and loyalty and obedience on the other. For ignoring the ethical code governing such relations, employers were denounced as unrighteous, cruel, barbarous, selfish, inhumane, and ignorant of the way of heaven and man. Such injustice was to be overcome by employer reformation, bring workers “improved treatment” (taigū no kairyō) and “higher status” (chii no kōjō), the two overarching demands of workers from the 1890s into the 1920s. 31

Factory workers were widely treated as near outcasts in Meiji and Taishō society, and many regarded the very name by which they were commonly called ― shokkō ― as a term of disparagement. 32 These groups were marked as low-class (karyū), inferior (geretsu), base (katō), little people (saimin), the defeated (reppaisha), and stragglers (rakugosha). Fukuzawa Yukichi (1835-1901) pronounced factory workers no “good subjects.” 33

This caused social confusion because the four main social status levels, samurai, peasants, artisans, and merchants, had been abolished by the Meiji Restoration. Now everyone was the same theoretically. Restrictions of residence, name, dress, and occupation were lifted. 34 The next several generations as people scrambled to better themselves or merely to hold their own. French Illustrator Georges Fernard Bigot in his Japanese café and railway scenes, which are full of make figures in tall hats, pith helmets, Scottish capes, tams, Russian blouses, fur caps, hunting jackets – all mingled randomly with articles of Japanese dress. 35

Factory Status Systems. Ch. 10 Smith continued….

Slowly outward signs came to see status, wholly not diminished, levels not as inherited place but occupation in society, and thus contributing to social stability. 36

“The Popular movement among workers in the late 1910s and early 1920s to elect their own factory foremen was partly aimed at ridding themselves of such superiors and partly at opening the way for the advancement of talented workers. Nor was the rank of foreman thought to represent a necessary ceiling on such advancements.” 37 Brotherhoods formed in working communities to help promote solutions to everyday working conditions. Some worked on ideas of the status system, according to a democratic voting process. “ The engineers in 1899 spoke of their struggle for improved treatment as a “just war” (meibun tadashiki gisen) being fought with “sincerity” (seii) to reform the industrial world (jitsugyōkai) and benefit the nation. Nisho and his fellow workers who formed the Osaka Doshikai ( Brotherhood) in 1916, in part to open the way for the promotion of workers to higher positions, announced that their ultimate objective was to contribute to a rich nation and strong army (fukoku kyōhei). The Yawata paper repeatedly argued that only if industry tapped the talents and energies of workers could Japan withstand foreign competition: In present worldwide industrial competition, it is completely to misunderstand the times to give confidence only to people with academic credentials and to withhold it from those with seasoned practical skills. Industry cannot develop with such attitudes [mjm- attitude was a term that took the place of liberal ideology in the second tiered Conservative termed as of an attitude, and was vehemently regarded against a concept describe as an ideology]. Rather it must be made to stand on the principles of equality [of opportunity] regardless of educational degrees…We must thus open the way for the promotion of men in accordance with their skill.” 38 Smith argues that the workers “ did not see clearly where they were going, especially in the early years, but Iso (1865-1949, a Unitarian, socialist, and academic, defined the goal with surprising clarity. In a 1913 essay he attributed worker dissatisfaction to the nature of authority relations, which replicated lord-vassal relations and were based on the survival of “feudal” attitudes in Japanese society. In companies and factories the superior treated subordinates with arrogance and contempt, those subordinates in turn tyrannized their subordinates, and the man without subordinates took out his frustration and anger on his wife and children. Since everyone bowed before superiors and abused inferiors shamelessly, low moral and productivity were general. The remedy, Abe argued, was to transform what he called the present “person-based” (taijin kankei) into “enterprise-based “ (taijigyō kankei) authority. Then no one would any longer be subordinate to a superior as a person, but only through that person to the enterprise, to which superior and subordinate would be subject. In that sense, all employees would be equal and would work not to serve a superior but to advance the company and, though the company, to serve the nation and the emperor. Even the employer would have no purely personal authority; his authority, if any, would devise solely from his executive position in the enterprise. Thus, if the worker did his work for the company “loyalty,” he would owe no debt of gratitude to the employer and would have no reason to bow down before him.” 39 The problem here is “if” and that is a question that contains a variable. No one can force someone to work, and this is the concept of power relations, in that the authority becomes an inanimate function of loyalty, a non-human without emotional attachments. A person wanting to do “wrong” will more likely do wrong to someone that is unreal. I can only look at this concept, because it was in place in American history. The corporation enterprise where employees, although paid differently, were governed by a set of inanimate disciplines and therefore, a  self consciousness ruled the individual, and type of system set up in the ancient times in the east. The problem of no superiors is regulated to self disciplining, but when problems happen, then the solution guiders take care to create a temporal authority to discipline the wrong-doers, according to a set of superior ranks not espoused, but kept behind the scenes. The notion of not bowing one’s head is a positive in this argument, and abuse is relevant to the discussion. So instead of returning to ranking system, the socialists, academics investigated the concepts of ideology, or a set of these ancient disciplines in self-governing. Ironically, they turned to Christianity where Jesus is the superior and the subject is always the inferior. However, with Jesus being invisible, they saw this as a concept where the enterprise and Jesus were one ideology. The notion that an inanimate reality of authority, the “ enterprise-based” relations created their own self governance , the person-based” relations , spurred on the socialists, albeit, confusedly.

Smith argues that “ The essence of Abe’s enterprise-based authority was the idea of a basic human equality independent of all status relations, a community or enterprise loyalty unmediated by personal ties. As will be seen, workers affirmed this equality and , indirectly, its relation to loyalty in the 1910s by insisting on recognition by the employer of their jinkaku – a Christian concept that entered the language about the turn of the century. Jinkaku signified the potential of all biologically normal human beings for autonomous moral development based on the reflection of divine intelligence in consciousness and memory, qualities that distinguished mankind form all other things in nature. Although all human beings were held to possess this potential, not all realized it fully or in the same degree. Its development, which came through  self-consciousness (jikaku) and was, significantly, called self-realization (jiko jitsugen), could be impaired, distorted, or reversed by dissipation, the denial of education, or dehumanizing conditions of life and work. Since man realized himself only in society, and since he could contribute to society only by self-realization, to hamper the development of another person’s jinkaku was both antisocial and an act of individual cruelty. Smith then argues that “as indicated by their widespread adoption of the term in the 1910s, despite an almost total lack of interest in Christianity, workers were quick to understand the egalitarian implications of jinkaku. 40

The words hinko and hinsei, which until then had been accepted as expressing the supposed moral culture of status, emphasized overt behavior and might be translated roughly as “refinement” or “breeding.” These were qualities in which workers were painfully lacking, as they themselves recognized, and most early worker organizations, as noted earlier, were dedicated to improving the behavior of workers in order to raise their status – clearly a long term ambition. Now, however, Jinkaku defined morality as an inner quality, something close to conscience and independent of social position. For the first time it became plausible for workers to claim moral equality with their status betters and to suggest that if the performance of some workers fell short of the desired standards, it was not their fault but the fault of those who refused to recognize their humanity. 41

This socialist outlook could and did lead to benevolence, but it also lead to the same problems of excuses and laziness in production. As seen in the later half of the Communist State of the U.S.S.R., Russian workers often declared “ what the hell” and left their jobs in shambles to continue to complain of undesirable working conditions. As a result the entire population stagnated and declined into mass introduction. All the social intellects of Russia, although extremely sharp and penetrating, could not solve the issue of individual righteousness. In Japan jinkaku played an important liberal theme and appearing in 1914 people wrote on the subject, often calling “society as rubbish [ the government]. 42 “A stanza of the Yawata union song struck a similar cord: “in this world of selfishness/ Only the worker stands on righteousness.” Since this was a common theme of socialism, in which the government cracked down, noticing the implications of backwardness to their goal of modernization, the people had to struggle to understand that this type of lifestyle of individual worker rights meant the wrong way. However, the liberalism of the self, and the notion of bettering oneself was a positive move and was also incorporated into the notion of Jinkaku. “ Since the workers were morally equal or, as the song suggests, superior to their status betters, benefits enjoyed exclusively by the latter were morally unjustified. They were in fact brutal public denials of worker Jinkaku. Under the regime of this kind, which denied their essential humanity, workers could not be expected to work with a will, a sentiment they asserted in letters such as this one: “Japanese industry cannot possibly develop if worker jinkaku is not respected…Engineers, factory managers, and capitalists treat us as things and machines. Who with spirit will remain a factory worker under these conditions? I hear the criticism that Japanese workers are technically inferior and do not work hard, but that is because the treatment given them is such as to retain only inferior workers.” 43 In the letter what should be shown by Smith, if it existed, in which I have no doubt, is that mobility of bettering one’s economic circumstance by hard work creates a respectful citizen, these were concepts of capitalism. However, from the standpoint of the letter, the person seems with no hope but to understand that justice means not being told to work hard, in which they call it abuse. The fact of the matter was that all societies in the industrial revolution, a model they must pass in order to technologize and advance in civilization’s progress, went through this stage. This view point was common to all socialists, that disregarded or didn’t approve of progressive self betterment. Capitalism gives this opportunity, but is often a hard rout and a risky business. The idea of the worker in this case is to have complete conformability of its person, and have a ideology of equality while nature demonstrates daily inequality. Smith is only looking at this frame of the picture, and not considering the possibilities of the individual’s right to establish themselves as betters than their neighbors. This was the prime problem in socialism in Russia. No matter how hard another person worked from his or hers neighbor, they were treated as equals both economically and personally. Therefore, the natural hard worker, he or she claimed “ what the hell.” What the hell showed was a the spirit of the hard worker was squelched by the lesser hard worker. So the argument here in these words Smith is investigating, is that people are not born with the same ability, and so the ones that are not able as the others force by violence, their last resort which happened in all socialist movements, against the more able. The terminology becomes tricky in that he calls them betters, and doesn’t describe why or how they became better. We only know each one described is a superior in some type of social or economical rank. Although they didn’t use that word anymore in the Meiji, as it donated the concept of the old Samurai system. Therefore, a half realization exists within the argument itself and exists as biased. Why should the better give up their hard work and their better position to the lesser? Why could not there be rules for non-abuse?

Well the unionists called for kenri, or rights, but the Socialist workers called for Jinkaku.  Jingaku was against capitalism, but the Unions looked for worker’s rights. The Jinkaku looked to overhaul the economic system of status and authority. “The Yawata workers’ paper, comparing what existed and what might be, expressed the same judgment. It hampers the development of industry [mjm- capitalism] to treat clerk-technicians as lords and actual producers  [gengyōin] as vassals. If Japan is to win the world industrial war, workers must make capitalists and managers realize this. If we succeed, then an era of cooperation will come about that will increase the benefits of industry and strengthen the peace and prosperity of the country [ mjm- that is called ideological hope].” 44The self discipline that I discussed above. Cartoons appeared making negative displays, and sometime or often, wrong images of capitalists. Capitalism is the master and chela or disciple economic program, and is considered adjudicated with the older ranking system of the Tokugawa ( see Tokugawa and how capitalism rose by itself in the countryside). Now, in Jonkaku, the inanimate enterprise, corporation or business was to have no leaders but in theory. Only a leader, ironically, would show up to re create order when the workers met chaos.

On the positive side, Socialism has good intentions. That is capitalism does have its negative connotations, its sides, and its problems. It is inherently unjust in a perspective of commonality. But form a personal standpoint, people always believe they are, or at least hope, better than the next person. In societies that practice political correctness we do not see this outwardly in the media or professionalism, but we see it at a minute local scale, where the guard of the individual is down because it had reached its comfort zone, wherever they feel that is at, according to each.

On page 269, Smith says that “ First, the dramatic growth of the labor movement from 1917 to the mid-1920s was not, as is widely held, based on the growth of a consciousness of rights among workers. It is true of course that national union leaders and local union activists used rights language freely. But the ease with which Yawata union paper could invoke employer’s benevolence and workers’ rights on the same issue should make for caution in translating rights language too literally into general worker consciousness.” 45 Here Smith makes sense in that he says although they used “the words rights in context that suggests a broad overlap of meaning with such concepts as status, power, and interest; consciously or not, union leaders appropriated status issues in the name of rights. They demanded the end of favoritism within the hierarchical pay system by not the system itself. They emphasized company social benefits (bonuses, separation pay, housing, and so on) – issues tending to separate workers at one factory from those at others- at the expense of wage issues tending to unite them. They rarely mentioned, and never to my knowledge tried to give effect to, the notion of equal pay for equal work. I suggest that up to the mid-1920s the labor movement was based primarily on worker status ideology. The concept of rights was relatively new to workers. Their notions of status had been shaped by thirty years of local efforts to improve conditions in the workplace and were deeply rooted in history of the struggles of village and towns for hierarchical justice form regional lords during the Tokugawa period.” 46 Here, a redemption of his argument is seen. He clearly states that what Karl Marx would take as a reprimand to his socialist theories. What we see here is that the Japanese, like all the rest of the industrial players had new things placed upon them and many tried to cope and understand what this all meant. Some took the emotional rout and called for full equality with people who worked harder than they did or could. The argument for equal pay for equal work is a capitalist staple of its economic system. This is clearly not what was at stake in the understanding of the labor movement. Many socialist just saw the government as a machine that didn’t care for them. That is a wrong notion, because they did in fact work to strengthen Japan’s treaties against the foreigners and the only way to do this was to industrialize and they needed people to do those jobs, and these jobs were often dangerous. That is why Karl Marx hated Capitalism because people were exploited, meaning they were worked hard and many got endured and some died. In contrast, in Russia many didn’t work hard and therefore didn’t die, until no food was available because people had individual guarantees not to be harassed if they didn’t work, in which happened as a result.                    

1 Smith, Thomas C.  Native Sources of Japanese Industrialization, 1750-1920 (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1988), 150.

2 Ibid.

3 Ibid, 152.

4 Ibid.

5 Ibid.

6 Ibid.

7 Ibid, 152,153.

8 Ibid, 153.

9 Ibid.

10 Ibid.

11 Ibid, 164.

12 Ibid, 165.

13 Ibid, 166,167.

14 Ibid.

15 Ibid, 199,200.

16 Ibid, 201.

17 Ibid, 206.

18 Ibid, 208 .

19 Ibid, 209.

20 Ibid, 213.

21 Ibid, 214 .

22 Ibid, 219.

23 Ibid, 221,222.

24 Ibid, 222.

25 Ibid.

26 Ibid, 224.

27 Ibid, 224-226.

28 Ibid, 236 .

29 Ibid, 237.

30 Ibid, 238.

31 Ibid, 239.

32 Ibid, 239,240.

33 Ibid, 240 .

34 Ibid.

35 Ibid, 241.

36 Ibid.

37 Ibid, 258.

38 Ibid, 259 .

39 Ibid, 260 .

40 Ibid, 260,261 .

41 Ibid, 262.

42 Ibid.

43 Ibid, 262,263 .

44 Ibid, 263 .

45 Ibid, 269.

46 Ibid.

Natsume Soseki 1867–1916 wrote Kokoro two years after the death of Emperor Meiji, and two years before his own death. It was written at the peak of his career and he was already an established novelist. Soseki is concerned with a man’s loneliness in the modern world. He contrasts a young scholar from a country family to a lonely man and his understanding wife who live in the metropolitan city of Tokyo, formerly Yedo (Edo). Soseki was born in Tokyo. He was educated at the Imperial University, where he studied English literature. In 1896 he joined the staff of the Fifth national College in Kumanoto, and in 1900, he was sent to England as a government scholar. He returned to Japan in 1903, and in April of the same year, he succeeded Lafcadio Hearn as lecturer in English literature at the Imperial University. He was dissatisfied with academic life, and in 1907 decided to devote all his time to writing novels and essays. 1

Shizu , Sensei’s wife

Sensei travels often to a grave, and he says to his younger admirer, a young college student who then graduated later form a university, that life is lonely and not worth living. Sensei asks further on in the book that he would really like a friend to ‘trust’ before he dies so he can tell him his inner secrets, apparently part of his resolve for isolation from the outside world. His wife understands certain things that affect Sensei but not all. She and the young man address these issues of Sensei’s loneliness and isolation and try to figure out the cause, but only they have pieces to the puzzle.

Sensei claims he was once rich but was pushed out of the family inheritance by some of his siblings, and this is part of his demeanor toward somberness. He keeps telling the young man to address inheritance issues with his father before he dies so he doesn’t have financial problems later on in life.

1 Soseki, Natsume, Kokoro, trans. Edwin McClellan (Washington DC: Regency Publishing Co.,1957), v

2 Ibid,.


Natsume Soseki, “Kokoro”, trans. Edwin McClellan (Washington DC: Regency Publishing Co.,1957)

George M Wilson, “Patriots and redeemers in Japan” (Chicago: Chicago University Press, 1992).


Thomas C. Smith, “Native Sources of Japanese Industrialization, 1750-1920” ( Berkeley: University of California Press, 1988).

[edit] In exile

In Iwakura he wrote many opinions and sent them to the Court or his political companions in Satsuma. In 1866 when the Shogun Iemochi died, Iwakura attempted to have the Court seize political initiative. He tried to gather daimyo under the name of the Court but failed. When the Emperor Komei died the next year, there was a rumor Iwakura had plotted to murder the emperor with poison, but he escaped arrest.

With Okubo Toshimichi and Saigō Takamori, on 3 January 1868, he engineered the seizure of the Kyoto Imperial Palace by forces loyal to Satsuma and Chōshū, thus initiating the Meiji Restoration.

Minobe Tatsukuchi

1.    Diet: A type of parliament used in Spain the medieval period,

2.    So most important thing of the Jap. Constitution was the creation of the Diet.

3.    The house of Peers, most important.

4.    Also appointed persons to the house of peers, but most selected.

5.    Minobe Tatsukichi was appointed, he was a scholar.

6.    It was represented as conservative (like the Congress the upper house)

7.    Lower house existed and the power of people representation, and the people were elected, and called the electorate.

8.    Less than 1 half of a million people could vote.

9.    Lower: couldn’t enact legislating, hoped for rubber stamp. Only power to veto the annual budget.

10. But like a debate society. So exploited the gov, to veto to cause problems for the upper just because they were radicals against the upper house conservatives. When writing they didn’t understand this would happen. This hampered the gov.

11. First diet: 9 parties were involved, they immediate represent their opposition, and begin to  force the leadership to capitulate, and unrest; so oligarchs, we must agree to make a new system changes,

12. It showed that parties were taking an active role. Yamagata didn’t think the radicals would do this obstruction.

Yoshida Shōin (吉田 松陰, 1830-1859) was a Japanese scholar and teacher.

Takashi Fujitani, “Splendid Monarchy: Power and Pageantry in Modern Japan” ( Berkeley: University of California Press, 1996).

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