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  • Matthew Okuhara

The Meiji Restoration and Modern Guns

Contrary to popular belief the samurai regularly used firearms both during the warring states and Edo eras.

In fact the only people in Japan that could usually own any kind of weapon (without seeking permission), were the samurai.

The arrival of the American and European delegations during the around the time of the Meiji Restoration, brought new technologies and new opportunities to the shores of Japan.


Everything from cameras, to medicine, to locomotion and weapons…


America, having just fought a civil war (ending in 1865) had a huge surplus of war weapons that they were eager to dispose of. This put Commodore Perry’s trade delegation at a huge advantage when the Emperor of Japan and his advisors were considering creating a modern military. They were able to sell weapons and ammunition to Japan at prices lower than any of the European powers that were competing for Japanese business.

The subsequent redefining of Japanese society was the end of the samurai.


Those that saw that the end of the feudal system was nigh, positioned themselves for roles in government, the new military of even as merchants.


Those who tried to maintain the feudal way of life could not prevent the restoration of imperial authority of the country.


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