By late 1867 the old Tokugawa government was losing the ground, and Yoshinobu had to resign by November. The Samurai created a lot of tension since they were fighting the traditional government. The civil war occurred due to the disagreements in the government since it was based on western influence. Allies were severely separated due to domestic problems. The trade that was being conducted between the Europeans and the Samurai resulted in a change in currency, and this adversely affected the traditional form of rice. Three different authors came up with various reasons for the establishment of the Meiji Restoration. Smith, in his article “Japan’s Aristocratic Revolution” explains that the patriotic Samurai developed reformation in response to the increasing western influence. With exemplary selflessness, the aristocrats provided their social capital to the Japanese, and this made it impressive as compared to the French Revolution. The impact theory is focused at providing people with the knowledge required to explore their potentials and influence the world.an individual who is determined to achieve in the world must never give up but should endeavor to be successful in their efforts. Impact theory demonstrates how individuals are motivated towards a change due to the effective use of their potentials. I want to argue in this paper that Smith challenges the Impact theory by showing that the Meiji Restoration was not a restoration that salvaged the traditional values and institutions but rather a top-down revolution.
In Japan, everyone was against the intrusion, but ultimately they accepted the western influence. Impact theory was expected to bring restoration to the initial culture and way of living for the Japanese. A revival was supposed to bring a change among the community members, but they were to stay focused on their traditional forms of life without accepting the culture of the Europeans. The Samurai expressed a high level of crassness and lack of foresight which is not the situation that is expected of an individual in the impact theory. Smith said that the Meiji Restoration was not a form of restoration but just synonymous to a top-down revolution. Those individuals who were of high class salvaged the lower class members of the society. The members of the first class used the restoration of Meiji as a means to initiate radical transformations in politics, culture and the economy in the entire country. The aristocracy of the Japanese was different from western aristocracies, and Smith believes that it was not good enough to instigate the Meiji Restoration as compared to the ruling among the western people the elites of Japanese origin had a lot to benefit from retaining the domestic order rather than retaining it. The dynamic international situations resulted in an improved opportunity of the Japanese to acquire Perry’s ultimatum. The above circumstance is evidence that individual members of the centralized society power, developed new social opportunities and changed the social culture. The above situations result in a deduction that the prosperity of Meiji Japan was that unique due to the top-down revolution of Japan. If the members from the upper social class had not been disrupted the same time an opportunity for change appeared, they would not have become severe victims of the radical revolution. If the upper social class individuals were vigilant enough to effectively apply the principles of impact theory they would not have rushed into accepting the French revolution. They could have positively used their potential into learning the ways of life of the French people and using it adequately against them to restore their culture. Smith challenges the perception that the Japanese are having on the restoration of the people’s culture and insists that there was a lot of revolution that was taking place among the Japanese. The revolution was supported by those who had the potential to retain their culture.
To avoid a revolution it was upon the Japanese people to hate the possibility of a transformation that was impacted by them by the Europeans. Restoration is sincere support for impact theory since the theory supports the fact that every person should act in response to their strengths. Those who could be given certain privileges by the Europeans were supposed to use it well to restore their lost glory and dwarf the French culture. Becoming a subject to the western culture implied that even the economy was going to have control from the French government but not be left in the hands of the Japanese. Impact theory abhors selfishness but promotes meaningful selflessness. When the Japanese decided to give all their secrets, trade affairs and other universal benefits that is when the impact theory started working. The western influence and the increasing status of the merchants was a clear dominance of the economy by the French Revolutionists.
Japan people were to act synonymous with the newly introduced power and social status. The foreign influence was increasing growing and Smith had a feeling that the Japanese aristocracy as a typical social structure. Smith explains how the bureaucratization that was observed among the Samurai as the source of the radical streak separating them from the traditional feuds and the land. Everyone was bound to a set of rules that were established by the western people were to be observed and follow keenly even when it bounds them to forget about their culture and other socials status. The lower Samurai took a different initiative to assist in resolving their issues, and this was through getting opportunities to be recruited in the military. A difference in class between the Samurai and the merchants was due to the presence of unequal treaties that were experienced during trade in the market. Even after rejoining and coming up with a common goal of dislodging the Europeans form their land, it is still clear that in the initial stages where they were expected to react vigilantly, they allowed the government of France to acquire their freedom and property. Every member of the Japanese origin could have avoided the occurrence a long time ago if a sense of unity was enhanced and people annihilate their interest. Those Japanese who were provided with various authorities could have selflessly used their skills and ideas to offer a way of approaching the revolution.
The commonalities were in an excellent position to collaborate with other Japanese and fight for the restoration of Japan. Instead, a “misalliance” was formed between the proletariat and the lower Samurai. Impact theory provided a school of thought on how people are often willing to work concertedly to attain a common goal and can apply their potentials without any misunderstanding emerging. In the situation experienced between the Samurai and the Peasantry, it is coherent that the Peasantry only used their efforts to fight for their selfish gains but not assist in the restoration of their culture. The act was brought about a revolution, and in the process, most of the Japanese had to accept and be assimilated into a new culture that was defined by the Europeans. Since the Samurai and the Peasantry were protesting against a common thing, they should have complemented their efforts to annihilate government corruption and foreign influence from their ground. The movement could be made more successful to impact the already established French revolution, but these people were not able to work together for reform; instead, certain people only acted as spies to the Europeans. Smith argues that the townsmen in Japan were not able to challenge the aristocratic privileges through practice and theory and this is not common with the impact theory. All the Samurai were expected to engage their leadership skills into a collective strength and fight the already spreading French revolution.
The people were so much concerned with a movement towards a change in the government while they were to focus in the entire country. The interest should have been shown towards the social structure, economic reform and the leadership since all these factors results in a more significant impact on the people. The Samurai did not have a similar focus as those of the French revolution. Social reforms form the basis of good governance since the peoples’ culture is always rooted in the community ways of life. Every effort that is focused on change should also be concerned on how the norm s of the society will be restored but not only on how leadership will be used to stabilize the government. The Samurai intended to only seek representation in the government but not to completely attain an economic reform. The Samurai were not willing to fully use their efforts to bring change among the Japanese since they did not trust in the outcome of their efforts. The civil and army bureaucrats were able to overthrow the French administration but were not able to retain their traditional aristocracy; initiated industrialization and consolidated, centralized nations. According to the sociological concept and which forms the center argument by Smith, a change of restoration is focused on creating a reformation in the traditional lives of the people.
In conclusion, impact theory is a theory of social impact which is shown to be relevant in promoting interpersonal influence and group behavior. The impact theory describes the impact on society in terms of social force fields that push people to behave conventionally. The Samurai and the Peasantry had a common interest in reforming their culture and forms of life, but they were not willing to work together to contribute towards the change concertedly. People had different interests where others were focused on acquiring significant positions in the French administration, and others were also concerned about obtaining personal wealth. Social impact is like a social force which must be done with a common interest. Smith has hence challenged the impact theory of social force since most of these people were not interested in a common influence. The Japanese were expected to go through a process of restoration, but their actions ultimately led to a revolution which is the opposite of the expectations from an impact theory. Therefore, Smith’s contribution to the Japanese aristocracy is a challenge to the social aspects of the impact theory.
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