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  • 1. *
  • 2. *Japan was isolated for most of their history and had limited trade with outside countries. *Japan’s government was similar to feudal governments during the Middle Ages in Europe – shoguns/landlords ruled the land and peasants worked for them. *
  • 3. * For a long time Japan refused to trade with any western country. * In 1853 four US navy ships showed up at a Japanese port to deliver a letter from the president. * Japan was intimidated. *
  • 4. * The letter asked Japan to trade with the US. * It said Japan had a year to think about it and then the entire US navy would return for the answer. * In 1854 Japan signed the Treaty of Kanagawa with the US that gave them trading privileges. *
  • 5. * The Japanese people were angry about the foreigners in their country and decided they needed to change. * Emperor Mutsuhito took over and led Japan through many changes. * Mutsuhito ruled from 1867 – 1912, the time period he ruled was known as the Meiji Era (enlightened rule). *
  • 6. * Mutsuhito said the best way to get rid of foreign influence was to modernize. * He sent representatives from Japan to countries around the world to study their government, societies, and militaries and pick a new system for Japan. *
  • 7. * Germany – the Japanese liked the way Germany had a strong centralized government where a small group of men had political power. They also liked how strong Germany’s army was, so they modeled these aspects of their country after the Germans. * Britain – the Japanese admired the British navy greatly, and they attempted to create a similar one. * United States – they admired the American school system, and created free public schools and required all the children to go in order to be more educated citizens. They included foreign experts and often encouraged people to study abroad. *
  • 8. *In 30 years Japan built over 7000 miles of railroad. *They increased their production of coal and other natural resources. *Japan also began to build up their army, navy, and supply of weapons. *