Yet the story most commonly told about Japan in the nineteenth century does not concern the Meiji Restoration itself as much as everything that happened subsequently to it. This was when Japan embarked on its frantic quest to catch up with Europe and North America. The most immediate aim was to make the country strong enough to withstand foreign pressure but as the new leaders realised military might required an economic base and also radical social reforms. As soon became clear the Japanese were spectacularly successful in attaining these objectives. Even as they were allowed into the country in ever larger numbers, the foreigners were successfully held at bay. The unequal treatise were renegotiated and Japan won wars, first against China in 1895 and then against Russia in 1905. Economic growth took off and Japanese society began changing rapidly.