Before the 1870s, Japan was ruled by the Shogun, a military ruler, for all intents and purposes. In 1854 that began to change when Commodore Matthew Perry of the US Navy pulled into a harbor in Shimoda and used Gunboat Diplomacy to open Japan into trading with the outside world. This opened up all kinds of turmoil within the various clans. In 1866, the Satsuma and Choshu clans allied and built the foundation of the Meiji restoration, challenging the Tokugawa clan to restore power to the emperor. The previous Emperor passed away in 1867, allowing Meiji(Mutsuhito) to take the throne. The Meiji restoration officially began when the shogunate resigned and handed duties and prerogatives over to The Emperor. The Boshin War began in 1868, when the Shogunate made a last ditch effort to create a republic in modern-day Hokkaido and fought with the Emperor's forces as a result.
Works set in this time period include:[[foldercontrol]] [[folder:Anime and Manga]]
- Rurouni Kenshin begins in the eleventh year of the Meiji period (1879) and among other things deals with ex-samurai trying to find their new place in the world in the period.
- The Last Samurai takes place in a somewhat skewed version of the Satsuma Rebellion and Boshin War events.
- Total War: Shogun 2: Its expansion Fall of the Samurai takes place in this period.
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