Events marking the change of the Japanese empire in to the modern empire of today include the Sino-Japanese War and its consequences, tensions and international treaties with China, and most obviously, the Pacific War with the United States. These events marked the transformation of a militaristic and expansionist empire in to a democratic nation and ally. Japanese expansionism was politically and economically motivated in the case of expanding in to Korea. Korea, under the control of China, was seen as an economic source for Japan as well as an opportunity to expand Japanese security. After two Opium Wars and the Sino-French War, China had become weak and was unable to resist western intervention and encroachment.
From the eighteenth century through the early twentieth century, China and Japan had similar views regarding Western penetration, yet both countries responded in different ways. By subverting colonial powers, both countries had to adjust their traditional cultures, economy, and political structures in order keep up with westernization. In the past, China was always hesitant to foreign occupation and wanted to keep them out as much as possible. During the Qing dynasty, trade was greatly discouraged. China did not keep up with industrialization as much as the Europeans because they believed that their country was already prosperous and productive with its large labor force that produced everything they needed.
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.
The start of trouble between Japan and the United States was the open door policy. In 1899 the U.S. created the Open Door Policy, which stated that all countries had equal privileges when trading with China. China expressed their displeasure with this policy with the Boxer rebellion, when the boxers of China came together and tried to force foreigners out of China. However, foreign forces overtook them and they were stuck with being open for trade and business. In 1900 Secretary of State John Hay decided to send out a second document, in a response to the Boxer Rebellion, stating that countries should respect China and it integrity, although no replies were requested all of the major powers except Japan agreed to these terms.
During the 19th Century, China and Japan each responded differently to western penetration. China was against industrializing and did not want to create an empire like those of the western empires. Japan however learned that if they wanted to survive they had to adopt the changes that the western empires were adopting. Japan began to create an industrialized society and soon became one of the major industrial powers. China went through many rebellions and finally decided to industrialize just enough to be able to fight off the western empires.