Essay on The History of China's and Japan's Western Influence

Essay on The History of China's and Japan's Western Influence

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After a long period of isolationism, China and Japan were pressured to open trade and have foreign relations with the West in the nineteenth century. During the late 1800’s the Industrial Revolution created a huge gap between the Western and Eastern powers, which left China and Japan in a military and technological disadvantage (Fruhstuck, Lecture). Initially, China and Japan closed their doors to the West because they were both self sustaining nations, did not like foreign influences, and believed that their society was superior to the West. They both tried to resist foreign influences by keeping their interaction with the West to a minimum, but they were no match for Western technology and eventually they each had to sign unequal treaties that favored the Western powers (Craig & Reischauer, 1978). However, China and Japan’s reactions to the treaties that forced them to open their trading ports for foreigners were very different; China rejected Westernization while Japan accepted it (Lockwood, 1956).
China and Japan’s main differences in responding the Western invasion was that Japan accepted Westernization and China did not, which resulted in Japan becoming a modernized nation while China failed to do so. In order for China and Japan to keep their trade to a minimum, but also have a spread of trade goods that they wanted, each nation had opened one port specifically for trade; Guangzhou and Nagasaki, respectively (Fruhstuck, Lecture). Both countries had limited trade with the West and maintained isolation from around the sixteenth century to the late eighteenth century. China opened Guangzhou by the late seventeenth century but the western merchants that landed there had no rights or privileges and were confined to the borders ...


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...he West was much more superior in military technology and power.


Works Cited

Cheng, Pei-kai, Michael Elliot. Lestz, and Jonathan D. Spence. The Search for Modern China: A Documentary Collection. New York: Norton, 1999. Print.
Fairbank, John King, and Edwin O. Reischauer. China: Tradition and Transformation. Sydney: Allen & Unwin, 1979. Print.
Gluck, Carol. Japan's Modern Myths: Ideology in the Late Meiji Period. Princeton, NJ: Princeton UP, 1985. Print.
Hall, John Whitney. Japan from Prehistory to Modern times. New York: Delacorte, 1979. Print.
Lockwood, William W. Japan's Response to the West: The Contrast with China .. New Haven: n.p., 1956. Print.
Reischauer, Edwin O., and Albert M. Craig. Japan, Tradition & Transformation. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1978. Print.
Storry, Richard. A History of Modern Japan. Harmondsworth, Middlesex: Penguin, 1960. Print.

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