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Why was Emperor Meiji important to Japanese reformers?

Question:

Why was Emperor Meiji important to Japanese reformers?

Iwakura Mission

The Iwakura Mission was a diplomatic mission sent by Meiji Era Japan to Western countries. Over the course of two years, they toured the United States and Europe. While the initial goal of renegotiating treaties with the western powers was unsuccessful, it was an important source of information on western industrialization.

Answer and Explanation:

While the Japanese Emperor had little but symbolic power during the Tokugawa Shogunate, he still had immense symbolic power and reformers knew that very power could be turned into real power if enough influential daimyos rallied to the Emperor. As the emperor had supreme power in theory, having him back their movement at the very least made it difficult for opponents to paint reformers as somehow unpatriotic or treasonous.


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