Top-ranking military leaders were given direct access to the Emperor and the authority to transmit his pronouncements directly to the troops. The sympathetic relationship between conscripts and officers, particularly junior officers who were drawn mostly from the peasantry, tended to draw the military closer to the people. In time, most people came to look more for guidance in national matters to military than to political leaders.
Japanese artillery unit, at the Koishikawa arsenal, Tokyo, in 1882. Photographed by Hugues Krafft.
The Murata rifle was locally developed in 1880.
By the 1890s, the Imperial Japanese Army had grown to become the most modern army in Asia, well-trained, well-equipped with good morale. However, it was basically an infantry force deficient in cavalry and artillery when compared with its European contemporaries. Artillery pieces, which were purchased from America and a variety of European nations, presented two problems: they were scarce, and the relatively small number that were available were in several different calibers, causing problems with their ammunition supply.
First Sino-Japanese War
Main article: First Sino-Japanese War
The First Sino-Japanese War was a war fought between Qing Dynasty of China and Japanese Meiji government over the control of Korea. The Sino-Japanese War would come to symbolize the weakness of the Qing military, with Japanese securing victory after victory over the Chinese forces. This was the result by Japan's new western-style conscript army which was well equipped and well trained when compared with their Chinese counterparts. The principal results were a shift in regional dominance in Asia from China to Japan and a fatal blow to the Qing Dynasty. Japan fielded a force of 120,000 in two armies and five divisions.