Meiji. Throne-name of the Japanese emperor under whom imperial rule was restored in 1868, after the overthrow of the Tokugawa shogunate; hence the name of the era, 1868–1912 (when Meiji died). The era is characterized by the slogan, ‘Enrich the nation and strengthen its arms’. The leaders pursued a policy of ambitious innovation combined with vigorous adherence to the traditions and values of the past. Among the military leaders of the overthrow of the Tokugawa shogunate was Saigō Takamori (1827–77), who advocated aggressive policies (especially against Korea), and who revived the samurai ideals—in ways that led eventually to the kamikaze (winds of the kami) pilots of the Second World War, who, like Saigō, were prepared to die without hesitation.
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