CIRJE-F-1042 "Mobility and Continuity of Political Elites over Phases of Regime Change: Case of Meiji Restoration Japan"
Author Name

Matsumoto, Tomoko and Tetsuji Okazaki

Date March 2017
Full Paper PDF file 
Remarks Revised in August 2017 

Despite its significance for regime change and state building, the impact of regime change on elite group has not received adequate scholarly attention. Using the newly constructed 2,979 government elites’ data after the Meiji Restoration in Japan, this paper shows that the uprising camp changes the strategies used to recruit political elites from the regime transition phase to its consolidation phase. Dividing the elites into the pre- and post-Meiji-Restoration born groups, we analyze how the membership and internal ranking of political elites shifted over phases of the regime change and state building. Two main findings emerged: (1) barriers preventing commoners’ access to the elite group were steadily lowered throughout the process and (2) once the transfer of power was achieved, the new government reintegrated old elites into the elite group, and the intra-elite hierarchy again reflected the social stratum of the former regime.