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10-08-2015, 16:23


Although the victory of the Sat-Cho faction over the shogunate appeared on the surface to be a struggle between advocates of tradition and proponents of conciliation toward the West, in fact the new leadership soon embarked on a policy of comprehensive reform that would lay the foundations of a modern industrial nation within a generation. Although the Sat-Cho leaders genuinely mistrusted the West, they soon realized that Japan must change to survive. The symbol of the new era was the young emperor himself, who had taken the reign name Meiji (“enlightened rule”) on ascending the throne after the death of his father in 1867. Although the post-Tokugawa period was termed a “restoration,” the Meiji ruler was controlled by the new leadership just as the shogun had controlled his predecessors. In tacit recognition of the real source of political power, the new capital was located at Edo, which was renamed Tokyo (“Eastern Capital”), and the imperial court was moved to the shogun’s palace in the center of the city.