Japan

Organized Panel Session

2 - Mobility and Continuity of Political Elites over Phases of Regime Change: A Case of Meiji Restoration

Thursday, March 22
7:30 PM - 9:30 PM
Location: Madison B, Mezzanine Level

Despite its significance of regime change and state building, the question of how regime change affects on elite group shifts is not the subject of a vast professional literature. Most literature has not distinguished the short-term impact from the long-term one, assuming that the impact is linear. Using the case of the Meiji Restoration Japan (1868), we provide a different answer: reformers’ strategies to recruit political elites and establish a new intra-elite hierarchy changed from the regime transition phase to the phase of consolidating a new regime. After the Meiji Restoration, Japan transformed from a feudal and authoritarian state with a rigid social class system to a modern state, or more liberal and inclusive state. We chose this case for two reasons. First, the Meiji government created an inner-hierarchy of elites with 70 ranks, which enables us to specify political elites and their ranks in the new regime. Second, we could collect the biographical information about the 2,979 government elites in the new regime from Who’s Who(JINJI-KOSHIN-ROKU).  Dividing those elites into the pre- and post-Meiji-Restoration born groups, we analyzed how the membership and internal ranking of political elites shifted over phases of the regime change and state building. Our main findings are two: (1) barriers preventing access to the elite group from commoners were steadily lowered throughout the process. (2) Once achieving the transfer of power, however, the new government reintegrated old elites into the elite group, and the intra-elite hierarchy again reflected the social stratum of the former regime.

Tomoko Matsumoto

Nagoya University, Aichi, Japan

Presentation(s):

Send Email for Tomoko Matsumoto

Tetsuji Okazaki

University of Tokyo, Tokyo, Japan

Presentation(s):

Send Email for Tetsuji Okazaki


Assets

2 - Mobility and Continuity of Political Elites over Phases of Regime Change: A Case of Meiji Restoration



Attendees who have favorited this

Please enter your access key

The asset you are trying to access is locked. Please enter your access key to unlock.

Send Email for Mobility and Continuity of Political Elites over Phases of Regime Change: A Case of Meiji Restoration