Japan Scrapbook

Final Entry (#4)- Katrina

What changes occurred from the Edo period to the Meiji period?

Between the Edo period and Meiji period, there was a lot of changes that occurred.  Like the roles of different social classes changed. For example the  Edo Samurai, they collected taxes,defended the land and were forced to live in the castle towns and live by the Bushido( the way of the warrior). But the Meiji Samurai were different, they went into debt to merchants, but they also became able to cultivate different interests, advisor to Emperor and could now change their dress. Another thing that changed was the way they approached the politics. Edo politics were ran by a Shogun's feudal system and was full of power shifts and was very unstable. The Meiji politics were way different, the feudal system was broken down and the Emperor regained the control of the Empire. Another thing that changed was the religion, in Edo there was 3 main religions; Buddhism, Shintoism and Confucianism. But in Meiji, religion was broken down to one main religion, Shinto, which believed in kami and ruled by nature.  Also in Edo education, there was only schools for the higher up male social classes and Samurai. These schools taught classic Chinese literature and proper traditions, there was also schools for commoners but they were only taught the basic skills, like learning how to read and write. In Meiji education, public schools were opened to catch up with the west. These schools were opened up to all social classes and soon had a 95% enrolment. Another major change was the Architecture, like in Edo, the architecture was constructed out of wood but that soon became a problem with the constant fires. But in Meiji, the architecture turn to a more western look and was made from stone and brick. In Edo, transportation was very limited, mainly just oxen and sedan chairs. But in Meiji, the transportation was increased a lot, now there was rickshaws, horsedrawn cartridges and more roadways were opened. Fashion was another thing that really changed from Edo to Meiji. In Edo,  there was strict laws that governed clothing and there was lot of wood block prints on kimonos and different rules for kimonos per class. In Meiji, there was a lot of more western clothing and freedom in choice of clothing. An interesting thing was that there was suits and dresses from the West but the clothing was made from Japanese materials. So in conclusion, there was a lot of changes between Edo to Meiji and most of the changes were good but there was also some negative for the Japanese, like change of customs.

By: Katrina Yaceyko

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