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Meiji Essay

The Meiji government during the 1880’s created both an
institutional and constitution structure that allowed Japan in the
coming decades to be a stabile and industrializing country. Two major
policies and strategies that reinforced stability and economic
modernization in Japan were the creation of a national public
education system and the ratification of the Meiji constitution. Both
these aided in stability and thus economic growth.
The creation of a national education system aided in creating
stability because it indoctrinated youth in the ideas of loyalty,
patriotism, and obedience. Japan’s education system atfirst stressed
free thought and the ideas of individual’s exploration of knowledge
but by 1890 the education system of Japan became a tool for
indoctrination into what Peter Duus calls “a kind of civil religion”
with the Imperial Rescript on Education. This Rescript stressed two
things. First, it stressed loyalty to the emperor and to a lesser
extant to the state. In every classroom a picture of the emperor was
placed. Second, the education system stressed self sacrifice to the
state and family. Filial piety was taught in schools and applied not
only to the family but also to the national family which included
father, teacher, official and employer. The Japanese education system
also created a system of technical schools and universities both
public and private that educated a growing class of Japanese on
how to use new western machinery, administrate government and run
private industries. The Japanese education system following the
Rescript on Education served primarily to teach people what to think
and not how to think; and as Edwin Reischauer stated, “Japan pioneered
in the modern totalitarian technique of using the educational system
for indoctrination and was in fact decades ahead of countries like
Germany in perfecting these techniques.” J…

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