The Overthrow of the Shogun
Towards the end of the Edo period, the Samurai formally wielded power,
but were at the mercy of wealthy merchants in practice.
Awareness of the emperor again increased, as of the mid-19th-century,
alongside criticism of the military regime. Financial distress created disorder,
and western countries pressurised Japan to open up to trade.
With the last shogun Tokugawa Yoshinobu unwilling to resist change,
he stood aside voluntarily.
The bakufu was overthrown during the Meiji restoration in 1867-1868,
class divisions abolished in 1871-1872, and carrying a sword forbidden as of 1876.