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The Meiji Restoration

The Meiji restoration was not peaceful handover of power.

In Edo some 2000 Tokugawa loyalist put up a futile last-ditch resistance to imperial forces in the brief Battle of Ueno. The struggle took place around the temple, Kanei-ji that was one of the Edo's two mortuary temples for the Tokugawa shogunate.

In 1868, the emperor moved the seat of imperial power from Kyoto to Edo, renaming the city Tokyo-eastern capital-in the process. In some ways it was less a restoration than a revolution. The Japanese underwent a crash course in industrialization and militarization, and by 1889 the country had instituted a Western style constitution.

In remarkably kittle time, Japan achieved military victories over China and Russia and embarked on modern, Western-style empire-building, with the annexation of Taiwan then Korea and Micronesia. During the Meiji period, changes that were taking place all over Japan could be seen most prominently in the country's new capital city.

Tokyo's rapid industrialization, uniting around the nascent Zaibatsu, drew job seekers from around Japan, causing the population to grow rapidly.

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