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Samurai to SoldierRemaking Military Service in Nineteenth-Century Japan$
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D. Colin Jaundrill

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9781501703096

Published to Cornell Scholarship Online: January 2017

DOI: 10.7591/cornell/9781501703096.001.0001

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Instituting Universal Military Service, 1873–1876

Instituting Universal Military Service, 1873–1876

(p.105) 4 Instituting Universal Military Service, 1873–1876
Samurai to Soldier

D. Colin Jaundrill

Cornell University Press

This chapter presents two mutinies that broke out at army posts in the large Kyūshū prefectures of Kumamoto and Kagoshima. Both incidents resulted in acts of arson and desertion of thousands of soldiers. The Meiji government attempted to conscript peasants to replace those who deserted the military. However, the government were resisted by peasants who feared their sons would be “naturally influenced by the manners and mores of warriors.” Such episodes illustrate the contradictions at the heart of Japan's establishment of universal military service in 1873. The attempt to create a national conscript army composed of imperial subjects drawn from all sectors of society marked a decisive step toward the modern nation-state the Meiji government was trying to create.

Keywords:   Kyūshū prefectures, Kumamoto, Kagoshima, Meiji government, national conscript army

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