Historians have identified a period when a commoner could fall into the Japanese elite during the Meiji Revolution. This was reported by the press service of the University of Tokyo.
From the 13th century Japanshoguns ruled – military rulers who led the local feudal system. Below him were large feudal lords – daimyo, and the samurai who served them. Japanese feudalism was very different from European feudalism, and one of the differences was the strictly observed distance between classes. Mm, it was forbidden to communicate with commoners, including peasants, artisans and merchants. This limited their social mobility, as they were not allowed to change professions, travel, or marry a member of another class. However, in 1869, the shogunate lost in the Boshin civil war to the emperor, who until then had been only a sacred symbol of Japan. After that, the Meiji Revolution began in the country – a process of rapid modernization and Westernization, during which, among other things, the equality of all Japanese and freedom of choice of occupation were established.
Tomoko Matsumoto of the University of Tokyo and his colleagues decided to use historical sources to test whether this revolution really created social mobility for the Japanese. It turned out that initially when the old regime was overthrown, commoners had the greatest chance of joining the elite classes. At this stage, meritocracy played a huge role – the desire to evaluate people solely on their professional qualities and education.
However, soon the new elite took shape and consolidated, as a result of which social mobility began to decrease again. Scientists note that the onset of this stage testifies to the existing period of the decline of meritocracy.