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ISSUE. 25 1906

The Meiji Times In This Issue

Victory on Foreign Soil By Johnson Ko A Japanese general leading the rest of the army

Japan has won the battle. Russia had accepted an offer made by the President of the United States of America, Theodore Roosevelt. The one year war between Japan and Russia had finally came to an end. The treaty Russia had signed on September 5th was the Treaty of Portsmouth. Because of Japan’s need to expand its territories, government officials and military leaders had decided to expand itself to two countries, Korea and China. At the Imperial Conference held three years ago, Japan had offered to recognized Russia’s interest in Manchuria only if Russia would recognize its interests in Korea. The negotiation was long but the result was not satisfactory to Japan, Russia refused the offer.On February 8 1904, Japanese naval forces attacked the Russia naval fleets anchored at Port Arthur. The Japanese caused severe damage. Two days later, the Russo-Japanese war had started.Within three months, the Japanese had driven Russian troops out of Korea. The Japanese troops suffered heavy losses but they pushed north into Manchuria, crossing the Yalu Rive and captured Port Arthur and the city of Mukden. The siege itself to take over Port Arthur had lasted for five months.At sea, the naval was under Admiral Togo control. He routed the Russia fleet in the Straits of Tsushima.

Page 1- Victory on Foreign Soil Page 2- Rich Country, Strong Military Page 3Westernization, Lifestyle Today Page 4Interview TodayWomen Rights Page 5-Map, Political Cartoon

After one year of bloody battle, Japan is victorious over Russia. This is the first time ever that an Asian country had beaten an established European nation. But the cost of this battle was serious casualties for Japan. As a result both Russia and Japan accepted an offer made by Theodore Roosevelt, to act as a peacemaker. The signing of the Treaty of Portsmouth was held in September 5 1905 at New Hampshire in the United States of America. The main provisions were: Russia recognizes Japan’s interest in Korea, the lease of Liaotung Peninsula was transfered to Japan, Russia surrendered its control of its control of the South Manchurian Railway, Japan acquired the southern half of Sakhalin and both nations agreed not to interfere with any decision China might make in the future to develop Manchuria.

“ If we want to preserve our independence permanently, we most possess territory on the continent. There are only two countries, Korea and China” - Anonymous Official

(See page 5 for map)



ISSUE. 25 1906

Rich Country, Strong Military -Local news by Nobusaki Aritomo Emperor Meiji making an announcement

First of all, Meiji leaders realized that if Japan wants to become a modernized and rich, it must develop strategic industries: heavy industry, engineering, mining and shipbuilding. This had begun before the end of the shogunate. Foreign instructors were hired to give technical training to Japanese workers. By the end of the Meiji period, Japan was on of the world’s largest producers of coal and exporters of copper. By the 1880s, the government no longer took care of the industries, however, they began to sell them to private companies. These companies grew into large business combines called Zaibatsu. To make Japan more modernized, modern communication systems were set up. In 1872, the first railway connecting Yokohoma and Tokyo was set up. The Kobe-Osaka line in 1874 and later extended to Kyoto. Telegraph lines were also set up. Since they were cheaper, major cities throughout Japan were linked. After the defeat of the shoguns, the government had a number of financial issues. The cost to defeat the hostile clans had led to heavy public spending.

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In 1868, Japan was a non-industrial country. Three quarters of the workforce was employed i n a g r i c u l t u r e o r f a r m i n g a n d r e l a te d handicrafts. These work produced nearly 65% of the national income. Under the pressure of being modernized, and financial problems, Emperor Meiji decided to open up Japan to the outside world. The aim of the modernization is “rich countr y, strong military.” But there were several problems in the way such as inflation, internal revenue dropping and the confusion of the currency. Three major changes had been made to solve this economic crisis. The cost to defeat the hostile clans had led to heavy public spending.Inflation went high and the confusion of currencies lay in a state of chaos, there was no one standard by which to trade. In 1871, the yen was made the official currency. Paper money and clan notes from former daimyos were suspended. Banking systems were also changed. Japan had a higher level of savings than most other countries in Asian but it lacked a modern system. In 1872, the American system was used but it had poor management, lack of co-operation and failure to compete with foreign banks. In 1882, European systems were used. Later the Bank of Japan became the nation’s first banking system. The government also introduced the new land tax in 1873. Farmers now had to pay 3% of their annual crop to the government. This became the largest income of the country during this period. Although it was reduced to 2.5% in 1876, it remained a heavy burden on Japanese farmers.

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ISSUE. 25 1906

Editorial Section: Westernization -Editorial by Hidekima Iyohashi Japanese people welcoming American Ships

Over the years, the government slowly removed the privileges we samurais had enjoyed. The old feudal hierarchy was changed. Samurais are now landowners (shizoku) or soldiers (sotsuzoku). Our swords and top knots once resembled our social status and our honor but now, the government made wearing swords illegal in public and keeping top knots optional. This is simply lowering our status as samurais! The government also introduced the twenty-year-old conscripts being taken into the army for three years. This conscription basically allowed normal citizen took over samurai’s military role. Samurais were often respected and honored because of our braveness in fight enemies and protecting our home country but now, it is no more.

These things that had changed led to the Satsuma Rebellion. I didn’t join the rebellion because we had no hope to over throw the government, it is like a group of shrimps trying to defeat a whale. Many of my comrades died in the battle. Japanese living in the cities and towns are all trying to adopt western aspects. For food, clothing and education, all of them are changed to imitate western styles. Adopting western technologies and science are okay, they actually help us. I think the right thing to do is limiting the imitation of all western things. Imitating won’t solve any problems.We, as Japanese people should keep our own unique cultures and ideas, being different to other countries. That is the only way to develop our own strong country. I think that is what is right.

Western fashions in Japan are getting more and more popular. Before the Meiji period, the dress of the social classes was strictly controlled. Upper classes could wear silks and satins, peasants could only wear hemp and cotton. This had finally changed in 1872. The government decided that western dresses should be worn for all court and official ceremonies. The cutaway or “morning coat” are now the official dress for formal meetings and others. Men are now wearing western suits and hats. Accessories such as watches are also very popular. Women, other than kimonos, they wear western dresses. Western hair styles are also what are in right now. They have become the symbol of westernization. The old fashioned samurai topknots are replaced. Samurais still can’t accept this but many people have already started to do it. Western clothing has become the norm for everyone.

The whole Japan seems to already started the craze for westernization. I think following western ideas are okay but being all crazy for it is just pointless. Our unique culture of Japan will be lost eventually if we continue being crazy over Western things. Samurais, for explain, are the most obvious victims of this westernization. I was once a young samurai too, but because of westernization, my live had changed, completely.

L i f e

A Japanese man wearing a suit, smoking a cigarette

This issue of The Meiji Times is sponsored by: Mitsubishi

By Hiretema Moshi

S t y l e



ISSUE. 25 1906

Interview Today, Women Rights Interview by- Saito Mitsumo Saito- Interview Today, we are going to talk about the new women rights in Japan. As all of you know, the status of women wasn’t part of the Meiji Restoration. We have here, Yoshida Hideyo, a normal Japanese women who lives in the country. Nice to meet you, Yoshida. Yoshida- Nice to meet you. Saito- Okay let’s get started, Yoshida, what do you think about the new laws about women rights? Yoshida- I think it is quite unfair for us women, our status had dropped after the restoration, it should have been higher! Saito- Oh I see. Do you know what had been changed? Two Japanese women in kimonos.


Yoshida- Of course I do! Social customs, economic realities and political and legal systems combined to prevent women from asserting themselves, we were compelled to play a subordinate role to men. At home, we have no property, outside, we have no status. Us women aren’t allowed to make political speeches, participate in political activities and even listening to political speeches. I think if our country is going to be as powerful and rich like the other Western nations, there should be no more unequal sexes. We are even thought to be the properties to male members of the family. Saito- Okay, how about the flesh trade? Have you heard about it?

Tired of riding carts from Tokyo to Yokohoma?

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Yoshida- Yes, I do. Unfortunately, my sister was traded of to Singapore as a prostitute. As you know, my family is really poor, I had some strength to do some labor, my sister was weak but pretty. With no choice, my father decided to sell her off. Saito- That’s every unfortunate. Before we end, do you have any last things to say? Yoshida- All I can say is that I hope our country will be more modernized, without any unequal sexes. Saito- Thank you very much Yoshida, it is very pleasant to have you with us today.



ISSUE. 25 1906

Russo-Japanese War Map A map related to the headline article on page 1.

Image Right: A political cartoon showing a Japanese soldier eating Russian fish. This showed the result of the Russo-Japanese War. Japan dominated Russia, “barrels of Russian fish were eaten.�


Johnson Ko- Newspaper  

Japan Newspaper

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