Chapter

Creating the Modern Nobility

Takie Sugiyama Lebra

in Above the Clouds

Published by University of California Press

Published in print January 1993 | ISBN: 9780520076006
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520911796 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1525/california/9780520076006.003.0002
Creating the Modern Nobility

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This chapter provides a historical sketch of the nobility. The basic structure of the nobility under study came into formal existence in 1884 as the result of an imperial ordinance called the kazokurei. The embryo had taken shape fifteen years before, which calls us back to the dawn of Japan's modern era, the Meiji Restoration. The Meiji Restoration, launched in 1868, was a turmoil of sociopolitical events and transitions. When the Tokugawa shogunate, which had endured for over two and a half centuries, was defeated in the civil war of 1868–69, it collapsed, together with its feudal system of control. The winning camp thrust the thus-far marginalized imperial throne, then occupied by the sixteen-year-old Emperor Mutsuhito (known posthumously as Emperor Meiji), onto center stage of the political theater as the supreme symbol of legitimacy for the newly emerging order.

Keywords: Japanese history; nobility; Meiji Restoration; imperial throne; Emperor Mutsuhito; civil war

Chapter.  13625 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Anthropology

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