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February 10, 2017

Extremely Rare and Fascinating Hand-Colored Photos of the Last Samurai Living in 19th Century Japan

Samurai were outlawed and dissolved in 1868, marking the end of feudalism in Japan and the beginning of the modern era.

The Meiji Restoration was a chain of events that restored practical imperial rule to Japan in 1868 under Emperor Meiji. Although there were Emperors before the Meiji Restoration, the events restored practical abilities and consolidated the political system under the Emperor of Japan.

The Meiji Restoration accelerated industrialization in Japan, which led to its rise as a military power by the year 1905, under the slogan of "Enrich the country, strengthen the military". The Meiji oligarchy that formed the government under the rule of the Emperor first introduced measures to consolidate their power against the remnants of the Edo period government, the shogunate, daimyo, and the samurai class.

With the Restoration came many changes, including the creation of a modern, western-style, conscripted army in 1873. The famous Samurai, who despite making up only 10% of the Japanese population, and who wielded a tremendous amount of power, lost their right to be the nation's only armed force, and eventually, even their right to wear a sword in public.

These are extremely rare photos of the Samurai at the twilight of their era between 1863 and 1900.



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