Alternate History

The Enlightenment (Toyotomi)

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Toyotomi Japan Timeline
Rise of Japan
The Enlightenment
First Global War
French Revolution
Second Global War
Post-GW2 History
Third Global War
Aftermath of the Third Global War
First Eurasian War
North American War
Second Eurasian War

The Age of Enlightenment

The Enlightenment was a philosophical movement in Europe and Japan, also extending to America.

The Enlightenment began in the early 18th century, fueled, in part, by the increasing contact between Europe and Japan, and the concomitant exchange of ideas.

The Enlightenment took different forms in different parts of the world, but they all shared in common a questioning of tradition. Polytheistic and Buddhist viewpoints from Japan influenced Europe, while monotheistic Christian beliefs penetrated into Japan. While Japan remained primarily Buddhist/Xintô, and Europe primarily Christian, Christianity and new monotheistic faiths did begin appearing in Japan, while Buddhism and new (or revived) polytheistic faiths began showing up in Europe.

The Japanese political system became a topic of much interest in Europe, where the conflict between Absolutism and Constitutionalism had been a hot topic. Japan was a nation which embodied the notion of a constitutional monarch (the Mikado, or Emperor), though admittedly it did tend towards hereditary political rulers, though not always strictly by primogeniture.

Struggles in the East

Japan fought with European powers, particularly Britain, over holdings in the East Indies and in India itself. By the middle of the 18th century, Japan possessed most of Indonesia, and controlled a considerable portion of southeast Asia. France controlled parts of eastern India, including the areas of Burma and Bangladesh. Russia controlled the Indus River valley, and Britain and Japan struggled for the interior.

Struggle in India

With the fall of the Moghul empire in India the vast sub-continent was a large prize and Japan, like all other powers, wanted a piece of it. The first piece of India which fell in the arms of the Japanese was the kingdom of Karnataka: in 1778, when the Emperor died, there was fierce civil war between two brothers. The Japanese helped the weaker brother and with their help he was able to acquire the throne, and as a reward the Japanese were given the right to export all the spices which grew in the empire, with the yearly income from this sale totaling 20 million. This made the Japanese even more interested in India. This gift given to the Japanese made the other colonial powers very angry.

Industrial Revolution

The Industrial Revolution began at approximately the same time in both Britain and Japan. The main cause of this revolution was India. In India, a great demand arose for Japanese goods, which were considered to be of a far greater quality than European goods. A secondary reason for the growth of industrialization in Japan was a reduction in population: many Japanese left the home islands in search of a better life available in the colonies. Thus the nation of Japan industrialized rapidly: the price of products decreased and people were able to buy new things at cheap prices, which lead to even larger hunger for land and resources to feed the new industrial economy.

Reforms in Japan

Greater economic freedom in Japan led to discontent over the political system. The people began demanding greater say in their government, and protested harsh policies of the quampakus. In 1735, a revolution overthrew the Quampaku. Emperor Kômon stepped in, attempting to quell the disorder. The Emperor met with the leaders of the revolution and with the deposed Quampaku. He agreed to a set of reforms. In the Treaty of Ôsaka, the Emperor formally dismissed his Quampaku, ending the Toyotomi dynasty. He accepted several of the demands of the rebels, including limited democracy in the provinces. This lead to the Fôka Reforms. Provincial governments were overhauled. Some provinces were merged, others split, but most of the actual provinces remained the same. However, the old han were abolished. Every province had a single governor, and every governor a single province. The governors were held accountable to the central government, and were appointed by the Imperial Court for 5-year terms. In addition, the Court itself was altered. Some of the Quampaku's power was restored to the Emperor. The office of Quampaku was retained, with reduced authority. The Quampaku remained appointed by the Emperor, but limited to 5-year terms.

The reforms did not include Chôxen, nor the overseas colonies.

First Global War

Growing democratization in Japan did not translate into her possessions. In contrast, greater centralization began to take place. This lead to discontent in the Japanese colonies, especially in Aruta, already one of the most developed colonies. In 1752, a revolution began in Aruta-dô, as modern-day Aruta was known at the time. The Arutans demanded the same freedoms as their compatriots in Japan proper. In 1754, the rebels proclaimed their leader, Tokugawa Ichirô, Quampaku of Aruta. Japan immediately set out to crush the rebellion. Revolutionary sentiment soon crossed the Eastern Ocean to Xinnoranda. Japan now had two widely-separated rebellions to contend with. Rebellions began to spring up in Chôxen and the East Indies, but they were less serious. Various European powers jumped in, supporting either the rebels or the Japanese government, setting off the First Global War.

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