Japan and The Influence of Imperialism

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Japan, an isolated island located in the Pacific Ocean in East Asia, surprised the world when it first opened its doors to Western influence in 1854. While it had a strict policy about maintaining its isolation, it had no choice but to succumb to imperialism. When Commodore Matthew Perry visited, Japan realized that isolation had resulted in their inability to develop economically and militarily with the industrialized world. Thus from 1854 to 1914, the Japanese changed from being under the influence of imperialism to becoming an imperialist nation, as well as coming out of feudalism and going to into modern militarism. Despite all these changes in its economy and military, Japan had managed to consolidate its power under one single ruler, whether it is the shogun, the emperor, or the military general. From the start of 1854 to the end of 1914, Japan changed from being threatened to trade with the West to aggressively embracing imperialism. After Commodore Matthew Perry’s initial visit, Japan was faced with no choice but to open trade, for it was presented with the threat of destruction. This can be seen in the Treaty of Kanagawa, which opened diplomatic ties between the U.S and Japan. Eventually, more similar treaties were signed in favor of these Western countries. Japan at that time was under the influence of these countries. Eventually, however, Japan began its own imperialism over China, Korea as well as parts of Russia. Japan not only became an imperial power, but it became a world power after driving out the Russians and asserting its hegemony in Nanjing as well as in Manchuria. Through a period of rapid industrialization and development, the Japanese ... ... middle of paper ... ...ned in the Japanese political system. The reason why Japan favored autocracy is because it exhibits greater variation in economic growth rates than do either partial or full democracies. For example, under militarism and aggression, it was easier to modernized since the state controlled the economy. This system of government also gave Japan an advantage over its people by placing a strict policy to crush any resistance. During the late 19th and early 20th centuries, Japan became a regional power that was able to defeat the forces of both China and Russia. During this time period Japan underwent some signifcant changes while at the same time maintaining its autocratic rule over its people. For example, Japan went from being threatned by Europeans to becoming one of the world powers. Despite all this, Japan still had an emperor and authoratative rule was preserved .

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