On the one hand,
Meiji government immediately carried out “farming and industry” and vigorously accelerated the pace of economic modernization; On the other hand, adhere to the policy of making way for military construction and economic construction, and make only a minimum investment in armaments.
on June 24, 1894, the Japanese army landed in Incheon, Korea. “Shikoku” and “Shikoku” spkds, the first line of Shikoku in Tokyo, are personally celebrating the “Shikoku” and “Shikoku”, and “Shikoku” spkds, the first line of Shikoku in Japan, is expected to be built all over the country, and “Shikoku” spkds is expected to celebrate the “Shikoku” and “Shikoku” in 187kds. The completion of this railway not only means the beginning of Japan’s transportation reform, but also a symbol that Japan has stepped onto the development track of a modern country centered on the development of modern industry.
whether at that time or now 120 years ago, the outcome of the Sino Japanese War of 1894-1895 was somewhat surprising. A small country in East Asia that had been unknown for a long time was able to defeat the Qing Dynasty. Japan’s comprehensive national strength since the Meiji restoration has withstood a severe test. From the situation before the Sino Japanese War of 1894-1895, the Japanese went through an uneven road in order to accumulate economic strength to win the war.
okubulitong, one of the three outstanding figures before Meiji, visited Europe and the United States with Iwakura from 1871 to 1872. In the course of more than a year’s investigation, he felt that Japan at that time was at least 200 years behind Europe and the United States in terms of system and culture, but at the same time, he also noticed that in terms of economic level, there was only a gap of several decades between Japan and Europe and the United States, and knew that Japan was to catch up with the level of developed countries in Europe and the United States in economy. And lamented that if a country “doesn’t enrich the people first, it can’t become a powerful country”.
after returning home, okubolitong quickly put forward the slogan of “enriching the country and strengthening the army”. At that time, this “enriching the country and strengthening the army” contained the profound meaning of first accumulating the economic strength of the people, and then developing armaments. Therefore, on the one hand, the Meiji government immediately carried out “farming and industry” and vigorously accelerated the pace of economic modernization; On the other hand, adhere to the policy of making way for military construction and economic construction, and make only a minimum investment in armaments.
from self-defense to war against the Qing Dynasty
in the first 20 years after the Meiji Restoration, the main function of the Japanese army and navy was to maintain Japan’s domestic security. In the 1970s and 1980s, the new Japanese army was busy at home to quell the old Samurai rebellion and peasant riots. For a small island country like Japan, a large-scale army is not needed to maintain domestic law and order.
at that time, the total active military strength of the six towns of the Japanese army was only more than 16000, and the total military strength of the reserve was only more than 45000. Therefore, the Japanese government urgently mobilized a large number of police and old samurai to join the army after Xixiang Longsheng and others launched a rebellion in Kagoshima, triggering the southwest war. Only then did the army temporarily expand its military strength to more than 100000. At that time, the Japanese Navy was a small fleet with a total tonnage of only 27000 tons, composed of more than 20 old ships received from the old shogunate and various vassal states.
although Japan invaded China in 1874, it was like the rampant “theory of levying Korea” in the same period. In fact, it was a diversion measure taken by the Meiji government to quell the dissatisfaction of the old warriors in China. Although the strategy for the preparation of neighboring soldiers published by the general staff headquarters in 1881 advocated war preparation for the Qing Dynasty, it was only the opinion of a few people, such as Youpeng in Shanxian County, the chief of the General Staff Headquarters. Objectively speaking, Japan’s armament level is still limited to meeting the needs of territorial defense and domestic security.
however, taking the outbreak of the Korean “Renwu military rebellion” in 1882 as an opportunity, Japan’s arms construction policy has changed significantly. The killing and killing of the Japanese by the Korean army and people in the “Renwu military rebellion” and the armed intervention of the Qing army after the “Renwu military rebellion” strongly stimulated the nerves of the Japanese. At this time, most members of the Meiji government began to think that the Qing Empire would be a major obstacle to Japan’s future development. The opinion of “Japan’s Qing Dynasty is bound to be a war after all” put forward by friends of Yamashita, a senior cabinet official, has become a consensus among key government officials, and the voice of military preparation for the Qing Dynasty has risen.
in order to prepare to compete with the Qing Empire with the largest army in Asia, the Meiji government changed the idea of developing limited armaments, and Japan’s military construction entered the fast lane of “military expansion and war preparation” from the slow lane of “moderate construction”. In August 1882, Youpeng of Changshan County, the headquarters of the general staff, proposed to expand the existing 14 infantry detachments into 28 detachments (14 brigades) within 10 years, plus 7 cavalry brigades, 21 field artillery brigades (7 detachments) and 7 engineering and logistics brigades, so as to expand the standing strength of the army to more than 60000 people.
at the same time, Yichun Kawamura of the Navy also proposed to double the total tonnage of the Navy and build and rebuild 42 warships within eight years. Since 1883, the Japanese army and Navy began to carry out arms expansion at the same time. There is no doubt that the modernization of arms expansion will cost a lot of money. Take the army as an example. In order to organize and train the newly created division, the army’s military expenditure has increased by nearly 2 million yen a year. For Japan, which lacks the ability to build its own ships, the only way to realize Kawamura’s ship building plan in just eight years is to order expensive imported warships from Britain, France and other countries. Therefore, the growth rate and growth rate of naval military expenditure are ahead of the army. In 1882, the military expenditure of the navy was less than 40% of that of the army, but it surpassed that of the army in 1890, just eight years later.
military expenditure vs Financial Balance
huge military expenditure increases must rely on strong financial support. To this end, the Meiji government has imposed a series of new taxes, including tobacco tax, alcohol tax and securities trading tax. The increased tax of 7.5 million yen a year has become a stable source of finance to support arms expansion. In order to enable the military to completely control the new military spending without government constraints, MountThe heads of the army and Navy, such as Youpeng of the county and Yichun of Kawamura, established an independent armament Bureau in 1883, which was fully responsible for the expansion of armaments and the use of new military spending. In 1884, the army authority, which benefited less from the new military expenditure allocation (only one-third of the Navy), asked the government to increase the tax to 10 million yen to supplement the army’s armaments.
this is resolutely resisted by Da Zang Qing Songfang justice, who is implementing financial reform. He believed that no matter what kind of urgent reasons the military has, military expenditure must be reasonably arranged on the premise of the government’s balance of revenue and expenditure. At that time, both Hirofumi ITO and shin Inoue of the Meiji government supported the idea of Matsushita justice. Ito and Inoue, taking advantage of the outbreak of the “Juwen Island incident” and in the name of defending Russia, overturned the unreasonable 1886 annual military budget prepared by Yamashita and others. They also took advantage of the situation to dissolve the armaments Bureau, which was not long established, and succeeded in seizing the management authority of military expenditure in the hands of the government. The ideas of Matsuoka, ITO and others are very clear. Only by allowing the domestic economy to develop first can the government finance have the spare power to develop the military. Therefore, they temporarily suppressed the military’s impulse to expand the army internally, adopted the policy of compromise with the Qing Dynasty externally, and readjusted the goal of armament from the preparation for the war against the Qing Dynasty to the territorial defense against the aggression of foreign powers. However, the Meiji government has not slowed down the pace of military expansion and war preparation. By 1890, the army had completed the restructuring of divisions and regiments, and the Navy had also completed the upgrading of equipment. In other words, the preparations for the war against the Qing Dynasty were ready. The joint military exercise of the army and Navy held on Zhiduo Peninsula in Aichi county this year can be regarded as the first actual combat exercise for the later Sino Japanese war. The fiscal policy of “spekds” and “spkds” is to create conditions for the government’s financial reform. Since 1881, in order to solve the serious inflation left by his predecessor Okuma Chongxin (mainly due to the accumulated debts and over issued paper money in the southwest war), Da Zang Qing Songfang justly adopted a strict deflation policy (hereinafter referred to as “Songfang finance”). While “Songfang finance” improved the government’s financial situation, the low interest rate brought by the long-term deflation policy also triggered the climax of the first round of entrepreneurship and factory building in Modern Japan. However, most of the labor force in these factories comes from bankrupt small farmers forced to the death line under the tight finance.
light industry is obviously ahead of heavy industry
in this trend of entrepreneurship and factory building, Japan’s civil light industry has made remarkable progress. The machine industrialization of cotton textile industry, a pillar industry in Modern Japan, was realized under the “Songfang finance”. After the Meiji Restoration, Japan took the lead in realizing the mechanization and large-scale operation of cotton spinning equipment through technology introduction and imitation in order to compete with the high-quality and cheap cotton imported from Britain. By 1890, Japan’s domestic woven cotton not only exceeded the output of imported cotton products, but also began to export to China and India, which were monopolized by British cotton products. Although the Japanese government invested a lot of resources in basic industries such as railway, steel and military industry from the Meiji Restoration to the Sino Japanese War of 1894-1895, the civilian light industry represented by cotton textile industry and silk reeling industry really promoted the process of Japanese industrial modernization during this period.
are different from the cotton textile industry mainly based on the development of the domestic consumer market. From the Meiji Restoration to the early 20th century, raw silk and silk fabrics facing the American market have always been the pillar industries to earn foreign exchange. Since the 1870s, the demand for raw silk in the rapidly expanding American silk weaving industry after the civil war promoted the development and progress of Japanese silk reeling industry. The development of modern reeling industry in Japan adopted the method of combining traditional technology with modern technology, and constantly committed to quality management and technical improvement. In just 20 years, Japan has replaced China as the largest supplier of raw materials for the world’s silk weaving industry.
the development of civil light industry has reduced the dependence on imported manufactured and semi-finished products, thus changing Japan’s foreign trade structure. On the eve of the Sino Japanese War of 1894-1895, Japan’s foreign trade showed a changing trend from “imported products and exported raw materials” to “imported raw materials and exported products”. This is a favorable factor to narrow the trade deficit for Japan, which is subject to unequal treaties and unable to determine its own tariff rate. Moreover, the progress of light industry has also promoted the development of agriculture and the growth of domestic consumption. The resulting economic growth, in turn, has further improved the government’s financial situation. The two additional issues of treasury bonds with a total amount of 80 million yen issued by Tibet Province during the war were issued in Japan.
shows that Japan completely relied on its own economic strength to support the whole Sino Japanese war. If there is no economic growth led by “Songfang finance”, such financial support can not be expected.
of course, although Japan’s basic industries and heavy industries (such as steel industry) developed rapidly before the Sino Japanese War of 1894-1895, they still fell far behind the European and American powers. Take the railway as an example. Before the outbreak of the Sino Japanese War of 1894-1895, the mileage of railway laying in Japan had reached 1400km, but the railway track, locomotive and key signal control system were still heavily dependent on the UK. Before the Sino Japanese War of 1894-1895, most steel mills in Japan were seriously lack of pig iron smelting capacity, and production had to rely on imported pig iron. Although the machinery industry had an average annual growth rate of 12.9% in the 1890s, its output value was less than 1% of that of the cotton textile industry.
at this time, the mining industry dominated by coal mining and copper mining occupies the leading position of Japan’s heavy industry, and most of the coal and ore mined are for export. The weakness of basic industry makes the Japanese military industry before the Sino Japanese War of 1894-1895 still lack the ability to independently support front-line armaments. Due to the backward steel smelting technology, the artillery factories in Tokyo and Osaka and the Yokosuka Naval Shipyard were unable to independently produce artillery steel and ship armor plates before the war. The army had to use poor performance imitation Italian bronze field artillery and mountain artillery to compete with the 75mm Krupp camp artillery of the Qing army.
in terms of rifles, although the 22-year Murata repeater rifle using smokeless propellant was successfully developed on the eve of the war, due to the lack of time, it was only in time to give the guards and soldiers who finally completed the mobilizationThe fourth division changed its clothes. Most of the Japanese soldiers in the Sino Japanese War of 1894-1895 used the old 11 year Murata single shot rifle. The Armstrong rapid fire gun, which played a key role in the Yellow Sea war, did not really succeed until 1896 after the war (the imitation work began in 1888). Although Japan won the Sino Japanese War, its industrialization process is still in its infancy. However, the clear-cut Meiji government leaders overcame Japan’s shortcomings, made full use of the limited resources in their hands, caught up with and surpassed the incompetent Qing government, and overcame the first difficulty of its rise to modern times.
(the author is a doctoral candidate of Kanagawa University in Japan)