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Transcript of Sherry Hsiao
1New land tax saves the day?Farmers complain alreadyBy Sherry Hsiao
A new land tax has been introduced. The Meiji government has decided that reforming the taxation will ease the burden of heavy public spending on new capital for industry. Whether or not they are right is yet to be determined. However, the reality is that starting from this year, 1873, all farmers will have to pay 3% of their annual crop to the government. This may seem like an insignificant portion of the farmers crop, however, farmers who have heard this news have already complained that this will become a heavy burden on them.
This is unfair. We [farmers] spend our entire lives in the fields yet we are among the poorest of our country. We provide food to everyone, yet we have little for ourselves. The new land tax is certainly going to cause trouble and push us to our limits. says Tohachiro Motoyori, a farmer in Kyushu.
O n t h e o t h e r h a n d , M e i j i government officials are arguing that unless taxation is reformed, Japan will face even worse financial problems than the ones that already exist.
Government official Matakuro Naganari says, In the short run, unfortunately, the new land tax is certainly bound to pressurize our farmers. However, our country is in desperate need of money. We believe that the new land tax will become Japans largest source of revenue and finance our transition to a modern economy.
Unfortunately, Matakuro Naganari was not lying. Since the defeat of the last shogun late in 1867, the Mei j i government has been struggling to obtain money. The cost involved in crushing the clans threatening to the imperial regime had led to public spending. Situations did not improve the following year in 1868, wh e n t h e n a t i o n a l g ove r n m e n t expenditure was announced to be over thirty million yen while the money gained from land taxes and other sources of income was only a bare three million. This imbalance worried the Japanese population. To make things worse, inflation began to run high, internal revenue decreased, and the multiple forms of currency made it impossible to trade.
Since then, the Meiji government has made attempts and plans to improve the economy. There are rumors that the unification of currency in 1871 had been a success and the complete replacement of clan notes will be completed within a few years. However, there is also the banking system that has yet to improve. Last year, the American system of national banking was adopted as a model for Japan. Since then, four national banks have also been established clearly under pressure from the government. However, recently there have been signs of poor management and lack of cooperation within the workers. On the bright side, the telegraph, railway, and the rise of the
Z a i b a t s u w e r e definitely known accomplishments by t h e M e i j i government. The first railway line was laid between Tokyo and Yokohama last year. Optimist ic government officials have announced that the amount of people riding the trains will top 2 million by the end of this year. There are also plans that a similar line will be built from Kobe to
Osaka next year. The telegraph lines and selling of industries to private companies in 1880 are the most beneficial achievements of the Meiji government since the Restoration began. Telegraph lines are now linking all major Japanese cities and the companies the government sold off have since grown into large business combines, providing a strong financial base for industry for Japan.
After months of suffering from financial problems due to the overthrow of the Tokugawa shogunate and the need for the reorganization of Meiji Japan, Japan is finally showing signs of improvement in the economy. The Meiji leaders dreams for Japan to become a rich country with a strong military might actually come true in the near future. Meanwhile, sacrifices are still being made by the farmers as a result of the new land tax.
MEIJITIMESInside this IssueLOCAL NEWS:New land tax saves the day?.............................page 1
INTERNATIONAL NEWS:Boxer Rebellion reaches climax...........................page 2
THE LIFESTYLE SECTION:Food: Meat Eating Popular........................page 3
Fashion: Whats In, Whats Out?.............................page 3
Political Cartoons: Japanese Domination...................page 3
THE EDITORS CORNER:The Editorial: A Shameful Victory..........................page 4
Advice: Dear Amika, Helping the Young Girls.............page 4
THE WEEKLY INTERVIEW:Satsuma samurai against government actions......page 5___________________________LO
SIssue No. 8 1872-1911
Above: A farmer stands in his field in Kyushu
2In China, there has been a widespread, revolutionary rebellion called the Boxer Rebellion. Emerged by a group of people called the Boxers or the Society of Righteous and Harmonious Fists, they are known for t h e i r p r a c t i c e o f t h e b o d y -strengthening exercise, boxing. These anti-Christian and anti-foreign Boxers aim to restore Chinas isolation and are against Chinese government officials who encourage and think that Westernization is necessary for China to succeed in protecting itself. Since its formation in 1898, this seemingly unstoppable uprising has been lasting for several months now. Yet today, this deteriorating situation has reached its climax.
In the countryside, Boxers are wandering around suspiciously. They are attacking Westerners, especially religious missionaries, and Chinese people who have converted to Christianity. These scenes are mainly seen in northeastern China, and at times even Western buildings and churches are being destroyed.
An Italian merchant recalls being attacked by a group of Boxers. I was
walking down the street, on my way to a local supermarket. I had sensed someone following me, so I turned around the corner and headed towards the police station. Before I knew it, a group of young Chinese men were punching and kicking me. I dont know the reason for their attack ... I am afraid, but I am innocent he explains.
However, with the death of Emperor Guanxu, who supported and encouraged Westernization and initiated the Hundred Days of Reform to help Westernize China, it is even more difficult now to put an end to this uprising. Now, the power is in the hands of Empress Dowager Cixi, Emperor Guanxus aunt. Opposite from her nephews attempts and ideas of modernizing China, Empress Cixi opposes reform. Up until a few months ago, Empress Cixi had been secretly supporting the Boxer Rebellion. However, now her support is official, and with the backing up of the Empress, the Boxer Rebellion is going to be hard to defeat.
The Chinese people have been isolated from foreigners, or whom they call barbarians, for a long period of
time. As a result, they have established a fairly strong and ethnocentric culture. When Western nations and Christian missionaries began invading China in the late 1800s, the Chinese people feared that their land would soon be carved up into scrambled spheres of influence. This fear soon turned into violence, and thus came the Boxer Rebellion today.
No one knows when or how Chinas Boxer Rebellion will end. However, one thing is certain. If the Re b e l l i o n d o e s n t e n d s o o n , international forces will be entering China to stop this uprising from further expanding and threatening the safety of neighboring nations.
I dont know the reason for their attack ... I am afraid, but
I am innocent.Italian merchant,
victim of the Boxer Rebellion
Boxer Rebellion reaches climaxEmpress Cixis support worsens situationBy Sherry Hsiao
Left: Map of Japan and TaiwanA map of Japan and Taiwan created in 1911.
Right: Boxer SoldiersA group of Boxer soldiers gather on the streets.
3FoodMeat Eating PopularBy Toki Yukino
Recently, there has been a craze for Western foods. Meat eating, which used to be considered immoral due to the Buddhist beliefs of most Japanese people, is now encouraged. Bread, beer, and dairy products are also now seen everywhere. However, with no doubt, the most popular dishes are the beef dishes, Sukiyaki and Teriyaki. They are appearing in the menus of every restaurant. People are even lining up in front of restaurants now just to taste this unfamiliar dish, a situation that has never occurred before with Japanese food. Western dishes are now generally preferred above any Japanese dish, and since August of 1872, in just three months, hundreds of Western restaurants have been opened.
FashionWhats In, Whats Out?By Akechi Koree
Under Tokugawa rule, ones dress revealed their social status. The upper classes could wear silks and satins while the lower classes were strictly limited to hemp and cotton. However, since the Meiji government decided that Western dress should be worn for all court and official ceremonies earlier this year, the demand for Western clothing has spread like wildfire. Now, the cutaway or morning coat is the standard dress for formal occasions. Check out this latest fashion in stores right now!
Political CartoonsJapanese Domination
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4A Shameful VictoryThe EditorialBy Amika Takame
Yesterday, on November 21, 1894, the Manchurian fortress of Port Arthur finally fell. This fortress that soldiers of my country have defeated is considered