Western Imperialism and Modern East Asia

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Western imperialism in East Asia caused many tribulations for China, Japan, and Korea but also helped them to become contemporary nations. The East Asian countries were tremendously affected by unequal treaties, extraterritoriality, and above all, technology. Great Britain encroached upon China their greed for open trade with the Chinese empire resulting in the deterioration of the Chinese culture, which led to the emergence of a modernized civilization. Japan was co-subjugated by Russia and the United States so that the trade routes of these western countries could extend into the east, which resulted in the foundation of industrialization in Modern East Asia. Finally, the spread of western Christianity and influential neighbors, namely China and Japan, culturally influenced Korea while bringing some semblance of unification. Therefore, imperialism affected 18th and 19th century East Asia by the system’s inherent exploitation of the countries' resources and worldly ignorance but also managed to give rise to a stronger Modern East Asia.

The imperial realms of East Asia before the 19th century were largely based on the theory that Asian countries were far better than their neighbors in the West. The nonchalant manner portrayed by East Asian countries towards western technology and culture led China to become unknowledgeable of the Western empires. As a result, China was astonishingly impacted by imperialism from Great Britain during the 1800’s. During the 18th century Great Britain had set up trade off the coast of the Chinese borders to trade British silver for China’s soft silks, fine porcelain, and strong teas. During this period Qing officials overlooked the foreign brokers. By the early 1800’s, however, Great Britain b...

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...erty, social unrest, drug addictions, and government bankruptcy when foreign exploitation emerged. In spite of this, China by not being able to withstand western influence incorporated imperialism and obtained a modern military and technology from the favored nations. Albeit, the western powers forced imperialism to East Asia differently than the rest of the world. Modern East Asia still emerged with parts of its ancient culture still intact. The unequal treaties, extraterritoriality, and other forms of discriminatory decrees created the Westernization of China, Japan, and Korea and gave these nations hope for the future that Western dominance would soon pass.

Works Cited

Ebrey, Patricia , Anne Walthall, and James Palais. "The Age of Western Imperialism." Modern East Asia From 1600. Second Edition ed. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 2009. 295-367. Print.
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