150 years from Meiji restoration (2) 2019/04/03

At the end of Edo period, population in Japan was around 34 million and the nation was divided into around 3 hundreds domains governed by feudal lords who were nominated or admitted by Tokugawa shogun. The nation was, to some extent, decentralized by such lords with Tokugawa central government.

All lords were forced to stay in Edo city every other year. Therefore they had to travel between Edo and their respective home towns repeatedly.

This system caused huge expense and it was extremely difficult for lords to save military funds. However this system which constantly moved huge number of people and their belongings encouraged not only economy all over Japan but also lords and their people to learn advanced Edo culture and also culture and industries of other districts which were governed by other lords.

Moreover it gave the opportunities to lords and people to know and communicate with each other.  These opportunities cultivated common understanding about the nation among them.


Toward the end of Edo period, namely mid and late 19th century, lords and Samurais worried about Europe and American invasion into Asian nations. They gathered and discussed how to avoid western invasion and keep Japanese independence.

Key words at that time were “decision by public opinion” and “utilizing all class’s talent and power”.

This spirit contributed to produce influential “Oath in five articles” which was published in the first year of Meiji period.

This Oath contains “decision by public opinion”, “free discussion among all classes”, “utilization of all class’s talents”, “destroy old fashioned wrong”, “open to overseas advanced theory and science”,  and Japanese people at that time learnt the Oath by heart and tried hard to materialize the spirit of the Oath.