Chapter 2: Japan
Japan entered the modern age in 1868, the year of the Meiji revolution in which alliances of regional samurai domains defeated Tokugawa (Edo) shogunate (hereditary commander). Tokugawa had engaged in 200 years of national isolation, in which the shogunate prohibited all trade and communications with foreign countries, with the exception of limited trade with Dutch and Chinese merchants. The Meiji revolution ushered in a new government which modernized Japan based on the political, economic and educational system of Europe and the US. For its legal system, the Japanese government adopted the continental (civil law) legal system developed by Germany and France. After defeating Russia in the Russo-Japanese war (1904–5), Japan established itself as one of the most powerful nations in the world. Since 1926, after a worldwide depression, the military steadily gained power and eventually took over from the democratic government. This militarized Japan, then went into the disastrous Second Sino-Japanese War, resulting in Japan’s alliance with Nazi Germany in World War II.
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