Essay, Research Paper
How Western Imperialism affects China and Japan
China and Japan had very different experiences with Western Imperialism .
Their reactions to western interference would lay a foundation for their destiny
in a world that was rapidly progressing forward , leaving the traditional world
China viewed themselves as totally self sufficient , superior , and the
only truly civilized land in a barbarous world. They were inward looking and
were encouraged by the conservative Confucianistic beliefs of their emperors to
cling to the ancient and traditional ways of the past . They slid rapidly behind
in industrial development , refusing to acknowledge the need for shipbuilding or
naval development , and saw no importance in European trade .
Then in the 1800’s , Europe thrust its way into the heart of the Middle
Kingdom, shattering and destroying its isolation forever. China would then be
involved in four wars during the nineteenth century ; Britain’s opium war (1839-
1842), a second war (1856-1860) fought by British and French , the Sino-Japanese
war (1894-1895) , and a final western invasion involving British , French ,
German , Japanese and U.S troops (1899-1900). Chinese Emperors were compelled to
sign unequal treaties and were forced to open a number of ports , as well as
agree to other territorial concessions . China was also forced to open its
seacoasts and its rivers to Western intruders . The Europeans also exploited
China’s land by securing rights to build railways and develop its natural
China had been unwilling to learn the ways of the West and so became the
next victim to fall prey to Western Imperialism , Japan however, was more open
to foreign influences , therefore its outcome to western imperialism was quite
different. During the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries , Japan also turned
inward seeking its own isolation from the larger world . Then in 1853 ,
Commodore Mathew Perry of the U.S arrived with a naval squadron and Japan
signed its first unequal treaty . Soon other western countries would follow ,
but in 1868 a new ruler was put into power and Japans fate would soon change .
Under the sixteen year old emperor – the Meiji , (”Enlightened Rule “) Japan
began preparing to resist Western penetration and in the process engineered a
remarkable transformation of its country .
The Japanese emperor set out to Westernize Japan and adopt Western
methods of education , transportation , communication , industry , agriculture ,
banking and most of all Japan’s military was updated and modernized .
Politically and economically , Japan was a nation in rapid growth and vigorous
transition . Japan also won two victories over the world’s two largest empires -
China in 1895 and Russia in 1905 , which gave Japan Korea, the Liaotung
peninsula in North China , and a new status as a world power .
Between 1900 and 1940 , Japan’s exports would triple , manufactured
goods multiplied a dozen times , and it’s population would climb to 78 million
by 1940. Japan’s expanding commercial , industrial and financial economy was due
mainly through the small group of wealthy business families known as the
Zaibatsu . These included industrial dynasties such as Mitsubishi , Mitsui ,
Kawasaki , and other major firms .
The Japanese used the most effective way to maintain their national
identity , which was to adopt Western techniques , become “civilized ” in the
Western view , and deal with foreigners on equal economic and diplomatic terms .
Japan succeeded in understanding the basic political and moral ideas of Western
civilization whereas China had not . Both had wanted to rid foreign intervention
, however Japan learned the ways of the West to prevent Western intervention and
control. Japan rose from an isolated nation to a world power able to control its
own destiny and future of its people . China however, with its traditional and
steadfast ways , succumbed to Western Imperialism , and was left behind by the
ever progressing world and the power of change .
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