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By the turn of the twentieth century, Japan began to develop its own imperial ambitions. With its growing population and need for natural resources, it began to pursue its expansionist ambitions more aggressively. It established a military draft in 1872, forcing all able-bodied males between the ages of 17 or 18 and 35, regardless of class, to serve a mandatory term of three years in the reserves and subjecting them to the military draft at age 20. Many Japanese, including peasants and samurai, opposed mandatory military service. For the samurai it signaled the end of their social standing, as they were now sharing military service with what they called “dirt farmers.” For the peasants, the expectation of military service was viewed as a “blood tax” since the idea of dying for Japan, the nation that gave them so little, was not welcomed.
Revolutionary writings and efforts by leaders such as Sun Yat-sen and Zou Rong played a key role in the end of Qing rule in China. By the early twentieth century, feudalism was on the verge of collapse. Years of humiliation and defeat at the hands of Western colonial powers and the Japanese, and a series of failed uprisings, set the stage for the end of the Qing dynasty. Two key events were seminal in this process.