China And China

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China and Japan differed in their responses to western influence in the 19th century. One failed in westernizing while the other succeeded. In the 19th century Japan and China were under a lot of pressure to accept foreign relations and trade with the West. The Industrial Revolution in the early 1800’s left China and Japan behind in technology and the military. Without the power to stand up to Westerners the Asian nations were forced to open their cities and ports to foreigners. Nevertheless, this process and reaction happened distinctly in each country. Japan and China’s response to the West in the 19th century differed since China refused to open to trade while Japan gave in to Western pressure. Due to that, Japan successfully modernized but China, on the other hand, failed to do so. China had very limited knowledge about the West since Chinese were prohibited contact with foreigners. The people would limit themselves to texts that had been recopied since the Ming Dynasty. Hence, changes that occurred during the Industrial revolution couldn’t be understood by Chinese officials. The people thought of Westerners as “barbarians” because they were unaware of the superior military power the nations held. Correspondingly, China’s way of handling foreign relations became useless and the West seized China by surprise. Japan, on the contrary, was interested in knowing about and from the West. The Shogunate promoted learning about the West. In 1857, a school of Western School of knowledge and language was created allowing Chinese officials to make decisions based on facts instead of prejudgement. Japan was very amenable to demands of Westerners which also contributed to the success of the nation. Japan authorities accepted to negotiate w... ... middle of paper ... ...heir responses to Western influences. The structure of Japan’s government was another factor leading to success in modernization. Power was less unified than in China, where the system stifled competition. Japan allowed economic competition between different groups because of its flexible political institutions. China and Japan, despite their similarities, responded very differently to western influences in the 19th century. China was held back by its institutions and refused to break isolationism, while Japan gave in to their demands and successfully modernized. Japan’s political system, dynamic elite, and acceptance to borrow culture led to efficient industrialization and modernization. Japan’s success was also due to the greater knowledge of the West and the understanding of the consequences the nation would serve if they didn’t accept the pressure from the West.

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