This chapter attempts to come to grips with both the historical origins and the processes of political development and change in making and reorganising a local government system. The political roots of the Japanese local government system may be traced back to the end of the nineteenth century, when the free trade system that centred on Great Britain began to decline and the imperialist system based on the rise of rival Western powers emerged. Learning from the visit of Commodore Perry’s ‘black ships’ in 1853 and the fate of China at the hands of the Western powers, Meiji leaders took state-building initiatives to assure the survival, security, and prosperity of Japan. According to the literature, as seen in Chapter 1, their mind was set on the creation of a cohesive government capable of hastening industrialisation and militarisation without political opposition. To assist this modernisation process, local government was designed as the local arm of the central government, to serve the purpose of state-building. How did Meiji leaders face political opponents at home? How did they stand up to Western powers? More importantly, in promoting industrial growth and military might, did they really do what seemed best for the nation in good faith? To this end, did they indeed build the local government system cooperatively?