The Rising Sun and Eagle: To start this journey off, I deem it necessary to give a comparison simply because of how unique the Japanese people are from the rest of the world other than Germany on a very deep and fundamental level.
For the Japanese, they did this through isolationist policies. The Germans did it in a more indirect way through the Protestant revolution against Rome, a highly decentralized system that promoted ancient German princely liberties and general reactionary zeal.
Another aspect to look at is the way the social hierarchy works in both cases. The similarities are quite shocking as in both societies, the upper classes achieved a total cultural hegemony over their people and became the vanguard driving force of society. No one else was left.
For Japan, It occurred because the Shogun established total control after the warring states period which saw the peasants crushed along with the merchants disgraced for cooperating with foreigners and general immoral practice.
The samurai were also stripped of power as all standing armies were gone which left all but the most elite disempowered and forced to become Shogunate bureaucrats to Daimyos. They still retained the diligence of the Samurai code. (keep this in mind)
For the Germans, the Junker class and monarchs won over the other classes due to a select few instances in history. The 30 years war that raged across Germany broke the back of the peasant class due to relentless war.
The merchants lost their power with the decline of the Hanseatic League after the end of the 30 years war due to Swedish encroachment and war-weariness of the members.
After these events, a new power of Prussia was rising with the utter dominance of the Junkers with a loyal soldier class to back up their ambition. To call Prussia an army with a state would be underestimating the powerful statecraft which had been built.
A better term would be a state-run by the army or simply a Military Junta.
fast-forward to the 1870s, the Japanese Meiji government was established and the question of what kind of governance should be run in Japan was being debated. Many Meiji officials traveled across Europe and attended seminars hosted by each European power giving their case.
All but one piqued their interest and this one was the young and strong German empire. After some debate, the Meiji government decided to adopt the German model. Now another problem came ahead in how the Japanese could fit into this political framing. This came in many ways.
Most notably was empowering the Emperor as supreme leader and an allowance of all classes into the parliament in order to funnel their resentments into moderate parties along with creating inter-class solidarity under the new Imperial banner.
According to the Meiji government, the Japanese lacked a zealous religion like Christianity, and to compensate, the Emperor was deified which gave all Japanese a form of Nationalism with strong metaphysical paternalism.
For Germany, they had the Iron Chancellor of Bismark whilst Japan had the Ambitious Meiji Aristocrats which in many ways had a similar instinct. To conclude, both peoples drifted towards a very top-down Corporatist society that was eager to explode onto the world stage.
Just some after notes here but a funny thing to note is during and especially at the end of the Edo period are the views average samurai had on the Daimyos and even Shogun. To them, they were weak-minded and overly socialized by the mostly female court.
The resentment only grew when it came to praising these men especially when they knew nothing of the world beyond their guarded temples. This was made manifest when most lower-class samurai joined the Meiji revolt.
In particular, it was the younger boys of families because they had nothing to inherit due to the oldest getting it all. The younger and more talented echelon of mostly samurai became the vanguard of the Meiji revolution.
If you got to the end, I just want to thank you for reading my work. It really means a whole lot! I hope to see you in the next essay which will be coming soon.

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More from @Historocrat

13 Sep
The rise of Zaibatsus and Industrial Japan: To start, I should briefly cover a phenomenon in the late 1800s and early 1900s. This was the influx of Western ideas about self-improvement and initiative which was encapsulated in a man called Samuel Smiles with his Smiles magazine.
This first started to gain traction from missionaries and foreign officials expressing ideas that soon became a national curiosity among the young men of Meiji Japan. To the radical Meiji aristocrat, this was a perfect idea to foster creativity to push economic growth further.
A great example comes when a Japanese University student talks about him and his friends challenging themselves to read the most books within a set amount of time. The contest became so intense that they would lose sleep just to keep up with their friends who stayed up reading.
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