In this time of transition, in the late 1800s and early 1900s, Japan threw off the yoke of the shogunate and installed a modern-style government.
The text is all in Japanese, but the pictures are well worth the clicking around. When viewing photos of real-life sword-carrying samurai, remember that those swords weren't just for decoration—those guys really knew how to wield those things. (Hat tip to MetaFilter.)
"You talkin' to me? You talkin' to me?"