THE MANICHI TIMES Osaka, Japan
Issue No. Seventeen
TE L E PH O N E 2 8 4395 0
The Start of A New Period: The Meiji Era HISTORY MARKED TODAY THE SATSUMA, CHOSHU, HIZEN AND TOSA CLANS OVERTHROWS THE RULING SHOGUN. THE EMPEROR IS ONCE AGAIN THE RULING FIGURE OF JAPAN
By: Nicholas Lim In 1867, 5am in the morning, the current emperor Mutsuhito has recently dismissed the ruling shogun, ending the 250 year rule of the Tokugawa family. Emperor Mutshihito had now changed his name to Emperor Meiji which also means the “Enlightened One”. Many people are starting to doubt the “Divine” power this 15 year old Emperor has, even with a regent ruling for him. “A 15 year old ruling? This is outrageous, why not we just pick off any beggar off the street and make him Emperor now? Japan will fall under him!” This angry remark came from a recent military leader, disgusted that he will be under Emperor Meiji’s command. However, other Japanese have different perspectives on this newly crowned Emperor. “Thank God! It is about time the 250 year of Tokugawa rule ended. Japan needs a new makeover, running from change is only for the cowardly!” Passionate voices were heard from all around Japan today, similar to this business man who declined to be named. This rebellion began when Japan was forced to sign Commodore Perry’s Treaty of Kanagawa, angering the four powerful family clans into overthrowing the shogun. They were the driving force of the rebellion, they supported
“A 15 year old ruling? This is outrageous, why not we just pick off any beggar off the street and make him Emperor now?”
the economic, social and political changes hroughout the civil war and will hopefully continue their support. The position of the Tokugawa rule was further threatened by inflation, famine and crop failures, soon the victorious battle cries of Sonno Joi! (Respect the Emperor and expel The Barbarians) grew to be more common as the fights progressed. In the final Battle of Ueno the shogunate forces were completely crushed by the Satsuma clan’s military leader. “A blood bath, complete and utter destruction, Saigo Takamori is a fearful warrior we trembled just from his battle cries.” A surivivor of this battle recalls the decisive victory of the rebel forces. A recent photo of the newly Over a day, the clans changed from crowned Emperor of Japan in expelling the foreigners to embracing foreign his military uniform -The Manichi Times items with open arms. The call Sonno Joi was changed to Bummei Kaika Inside This Issue: (Civilization and Enlightenment) A thankful Emperor Meiji expresses Breaking News: his feelings and thoughts of this recent -The Crowning of Emperor Meiji civil war to the people of Japan. “I dreamed of a strong, unified and A New Victory: independent Japan. We are now one step -End of the Russo-Japanese War closer to this dream. But we cannot forget Editorial: who we are, or where we come from. I -The Changes Since The Start of promise you! The people of Japan! That The Meiji Era we will grow to be the strongest ” Emperor Meiji hopes that this Lifestyle: would be the last of internal fighting in A New Way of Dressing Up, Japan, and that they can look onward to Western Style the the modernization of Japan The Manichi Times Special: achieving their goal of modernization.
An Exclusive Interview With Emperor Meiji
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The depiction of the Russo-Japanese War in a painting -The Manichi Times
Victory for the Japanese: End of The Russo-Japanese War, Another Giant Falls Under Japan On 5th of September 1905, the Treaty of Portsmouth was signed in the United States of America in New Hampshire bringing an end to this Russo-Japanese War. This war originally started to form in 1903 during the Imperial Conference when Russia refused to recognize Japan’s rights in Korea. Tensions grew from these problems and even from lengthy negotiations, conflict was inevitable. On 8th of February 1904 Japanese naval forces fired torpedoes at the Russian naval fleet anchored at Port-Arthur. The current Tsar Nicholas II was shocked by this attack, and was assured by his ministers before that Japan would not attack. Russia declared war on Japan 2 days later. “Shocking, such a dastard attack, the Land of the Rising Sun, a country renowned for its honor and pride should be ashamed from these actions, we will not let this act go without an equal punishment!” Tsar Nicholas II exclaimed to his people. Several battles happened afterwards, the Russians were forced out of Korea, they
A Map showing the places covered in the Russo-Japanese War - The Manichi Times
marched through into northern Manchuria, and on 2 January 1905 they forced major general Antanoly Stressel to surrender Port Arthur. They then moved on the catch the city of Mukden. The final battle which marked the victory of our country was in the Battle of Tsushima, the Russian Second Pacific Squadron traveled 18,000 miles and heard the news of the loss of Port-Arthur in Madagascar. Admiral Rozhestvensky only had the choice of reaching the port of Vladivostok, they chose the shortest and most direct route to pass through Tsushima Straits in which they were completely annihilated, as heard by a Japanese soldier who participated in the war. “We were in control! The Russians could barely hit any of us while our guns were raining on them, it was a proud moment for us for we knew that a great reward was awaiting us.” This victory allowed the Japanese to occupy the Sakhalin Islands. Both sides had suffered serious losses, and when the Treaty ended the war, it was in Japan’s favor because of its victory. It forced Russia to recognize Japan’s interests in Korea, the lease of Liaotung Peninsula will be transferred to Japan, Russia has to give up the South Manchurian Railway to Japan. Japan gains half of the Sakhalin Islands and
both nations agreed not to interfere with any decision China might make in the future to develop Manchuria. This day marks an important day in the history of Japan, and it has opened up the eyes of the world. Completely astounded by their achievements against two large countries, one of which was a European power, a member of League of Nations has said the following “The world watches in awe as two giants fall under Japan, we have underestimated Japan to a great extent. However this is no longer the case, this country has proved to be accomplished in warfare.” Many countries have raised their defenses in preparation for attacks, as fighting on a battlefield is taken to a whole new level.
THE MANICHI TIMES The Changes of The Meiji Era Sonno Joi! A battle cry that marks reincarnation of a new Japan, It has been 44 years of the Meiji Era, and looking back, Japan has transformed from a little island looked down upon, to a powerful warrior feared by even the European countries. Now everywhere I look, I see western clothes, a different attitude, I hear the sound of a train arriving at the station, and I smell teriyaki beef slowly simmering on a pan as the aromatic smoke rises above the chimney. The Meiji Era has brought about benefits and losses. Personally, I think that it has brought more benefits. Before the Meiji Era, we were helpless and were often pushed around by the western powers. Now we have the third largest economy, we have defeated two powerful countries, we have gained to respect from the westerners, one we have always yearned to have.
preferred. I would also like to give my thanks to the Emperor and government for making Japan a much more comfortable place to live in, life could not be any more luxurious with fast transport, electricity always waiting for us and many other new technology that the people from ancient Japan would never have dreamed of having. The education of the Meiji Era has also played a major part in improving the culture of the Japanese, by forcing children to attend classes until a certain age definitely gives them the basic ability to run businesses and to gain a head start went stepping into the economic world. I am also very proud to say that Japan has its own university allowing students to study more in depth and sophisticated subjects to further prepare for the future.
However, just like any new changes, there would always be a negative side to it. For the Meiji Era, I believe that the firm belief and honor of the Japanese people have caused much pain to the country. A friend of mine has been constantly talking about the death of Saigo Takamori, the “Last Samurai”. He was a brave warrior looked upon by all of Japan, but because of his refusal to accept the changes in society, he gathered up 30,000 other samurais to rebel Continued on Page 4........
A group of Samurai pose before their rebellion against the government, also known as the Satsuma Rebellion -The Manichi Times
Another thing that changed in the Meiji Era is the sudden fashion trend for western clothing. In my opinion, they are extremely uncomfortable, but bring out the shine of the person wearing it. However, like many other Japanese, the silk kimonos are much
Editorial Comics (Entertainment): This comic represents the fast changing world of the Meiji Era, it shows the merging of the Japanese and Western culture with the line “Japanese Fast Food”
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A group of Japanese are queued outside a ballroom for a dance. The picture shows the combination of a kimono and hat for the ladies and a prussian inspired dress for the men. -The Manichi Times
against the government. They ended up being crushed by the Imperial Army and their new weaponry. Saigo Takamori was humiliated by his loss and was forced to commit seppuku. None of this would have had happened if the government would pay more attention to the voices of the people. I do not think they saw the power of the samurai slowly deteriorating, the samurai lost their jobs as militants when civilians stole their jobs in an attempt to “provide” more jobs for Japan, it got even worse swords were banned from the public. To keep top knots became an optional choice, directly insulting the honor of a samurai. It is impossible to reach the goal of a civilized and modernized country without the cooperation of the people of Japan, it is best that the government look towards the choices of Japan more than to make decisions to them.
By: Atsuko Haruko
Western Clothing, The New Fashion, Sayonara Traditional Japanese Clothes! In a blink of an eye, the comfortable kimonos slipped away from Japan and, instead were suits and ties. Western clothing is one of the most influential events in the Meiji Era. This began when the Meiji Government decided that Western dresses should be worn for all important situations, the Emperor was able to emphasize this by wearing Wester n clothing out to public ceremonies himself, the government officials and leaders soon followed which created this popular trend. The “morning coat” or the cutaway dress was the standard clothing for formal occasions. This was beneficial for the lower classes as the law from 1643 was recently abolished. This law prevented the lower classes from wearing luxurious clothing, only nobles and members of the military class were permitted to wear luxurious patterned silks, and elaborate brocades, to also adorn themselves with fancy sashes. However, with this law out of the way, in the Meiji Era the peasants too could wear expensive clothing to meaningful events. Soon even the women started to wear western style dresses in public. This began from the Empress who started the craze over them. She wore them in
public. This began from the Empress who started the craze over them. She wore them in the public, and women believed that by following the fashion of the Empress they would seem more beautiful. Even with all this, the traditional kimono is more preferred among the Japanese. However the most popular of these garments was the combination of Western and traditional dresses, people would often wear Japanese dresses combined with western accessories such as watches, hats and shoes. Another important part of the fashion now in the Meiji Era are the hair styles, Wester n hair styles are considered to be a symbol of westernization and most of these hair styles replaced the traditional samurai topknot. This too started from the Emperor when he first removed his top knot, the men followed. Soon brining a beard, mustaches and different haircuts became popular. Women too followed the changes in hair, rapidly changing the looks of all the Japanese around us.
By: Ryuunosuke Takahiro
An Exclusive Interview With Emperor Meiji Q: The Manichi Times: It is a great honor to have you here today Emperor Meiji! Would you mind if we ask you a few questions about you and Japan? A: Emperor Meiji: Thank you very much, I would love to answer any question that you have. Q: The Manichi Times: Okay, There has been recent talk that you are about to build a new constitution, would you like to let us know about some things coming up in it? A: Emperor Meiji: Yes, after the failure of the previous constitution back in 1868 did not make us give up, but instead gave us the determination to push on, a few things I can guarantee on the constitution are that individual ministers who belonged to the emperor and not the parliament and that there would also be a new parliament known as the Diet, consisting of two houses, the House of Peers and the House of Representatives. Q: The Manichi Times: Oh wow! The constitution seems to be completely different, I am sure Japan would be excited to hear this news when it is published. Also, could I know who is currently working on the constitution? A: Emperor Meiji: Currently, we have the Senate working on the second constitution, and I would like to give my special thanks to a fantastic member of the government, Ito Hirobumi, he has played a large part in planning and creating the constitution to where it is. Q: The Manichi Times: Thanks a lot for this insight to the new constitution, moving on, could we find out more about your life as an emperor? A: Emperor Meiji: Well, when I ascended the throne at the age of 15, many people doubted my ability, but I wanted to prove them wrong. I decided to change Japan once and for all to make it a country that would be admired by people. So far, I believe I have been very successful in doing so, and Japan is starting to seem more like a modernized country. As an emperor, I married a beautiful woman called Haruko and also had 5 other concubines. I bore many children, but sadly, there have been very high
mortality rates among the infants. Q: The Manichi Times: Hopefully your next few children will be born healthy and live a prosperous life! I would also like to ask about the recent Satsuma Rebellion, the Imperial Army emerged victorious, but many Japanese are angry that so many Japanese were killed, including the famous Saigo Takamori A: Emperor Meiji: Ah, yes, the Satsuma Rebellion was one of the worst situations that had been dealt to me as an emperor. It really pained me to make the decision to fight back, for it was a fellow friend that led this rebellion. I had really appreciated Saigo Takamoriâ€™s help to enthrone me, and I truly regret making such a harsh decision. I would like to take this chance to sincerely apologize to all the families out there that have suffered from this rebellion! Q: The Manichi Times: I do hope that Japan would realize the troubles you have gone through. Is there anything else you would like the people of Japan to know? A: Emperor Meiji: Yes, for the last few years, I am proud to say that Japan has been the fastest growing Asian country and will soon be able to be equals with the westerners! All this could not have been done without your help, we were united and strong, and we pulled through our differences and our problems and crossed every wave together to get to this stage! The Manichi Times: Thank you so much for your time on The Manichi Times, I believe that under you, Japan has entered one of the most prosperous times ever in history. By: Kazuko Midori
A statue of Saigo Takamori that was just put up in honor of his bravery. This statue can be seen in Ueno Park -The Manichi Times