From The Art and Popular Culture Encyclopedia
The Meiji Restoration, also known as the Meiji Ishin, Revolution, or Renewal, was a chain of events that led to enormous changes in Japan's political and social structure. It occurred in the latter half of the 19th century, a period that spans both the late Edo period (often called Late Tokugawa shogunate) and the beginning of the Meiji Era. Probably the most important foreign account of the events between 1862–1869 is contained in A Diplomat in Japan by Sir Ernest Satow. The restoration was a direct response to the opening of Japan by the arrival of the Black Ships of Commodore Matthew Perry and made Imperial Japan a great power.