After the Meiji Restoration in 1869, which would herald the Meiji Era, Japan took a giant leap from the old feudal system into a more modern western society. The samurai-caste was disestablished and everything western were brought into Japan as a way to modernize both its society and economy. This included the construction of railroads, reforming the military based on the Prussian system and building new facilities for modern communication and modernising and expanding the domestic industry. It would also bring along western clothing with European clothes as a popular new choice of wardrobe.
Among the things that were imported, the western style walking stick was one of them, and it quickly became a very popular item in Japan, especially for former samurai who were not allowed to wear swords anymore as a sign of their high status and other high-ranking individuals. In 1885, Uchida Ryogoro, who was a student of Shinto Muso-ryu (jodo), devised a new set of self-defence techniques for the tanjo drawn primarily from existing jodo techniques. He did this as a way of popularizing jodo. From the techniques originally created by Uchida Ryogoro a set of 12 kata were put together, with the assistance of his son Uchida Ryohei, and organized into a system which was named Uchida-ryū Tanjōjutsu.
This system is today fully integrated into the Shinto Muso-ryu (jodo) organisation, although some of the techniques and the general handling of the tanjo has been modified over the years.