Choshu in the Meiji Restoration
In 1853 Commodore Perry arrived in Japan, and so Japan became open to Western trade. He found Japan to be a country of sword-bearing samurai, castle towns, Confucian academies, peasant villages, rice paddies, merchants, bath houses and Kabuki. In the following 15 years Japan moved towards becoming... read more the only non-Western nation of the 19th century to have a modernized centralized bureaucratic state and industrial economy. This text looks at the state of Choshu, in Japan, and how it changed in the years between 1853 and 1868. The author emphasizes the vitality of traditional values in Japan's early reaction to the West, and looks at the contribution of the old society to the formation of the new Meiji state.