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Establishing Goryōrin

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Chapter Summary

Meiji leaders saw potential danger for the imperial institution, and hence for their regime, in both the political rhetoric and circumstances of the 1870s-1880s. That perception led them to ask how best to counter the danger, in particular how to assure that the institution would never again become a financial hostage to others, whether feckless politicians or a fickle public. During the later 1870s, answers to that question began to appear, and during the eighties they were clarified and implemented. As the 1880s advanced, however, it gradually became apparent that the first general strategy, namely, giving the emperor a diversified land base (Goryōrin), was not working out. So strategy was modified, and by the late eighties leaders were adopting a policy whose landed aspect focused almost solely on woodland. This they proceeded to assemble and organize with great vigor.

Keywords: Goryōrin; Imperial Household; Meiji leaders; woodland



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