Japan And Modernization

Read Complete Research Material

Japan and Modernization

Japan and Modernization


Prior to Commodore Perry's arrival and Meiji Restoration, Japan's government didn't trade with the Western countries. The ports of Japan only allowed selected Dutch and Chinese traders to come ashore and utilize the opportunities in the Japans economy. Japan was at that time a traditional and culturally strong country having deep reservations to change. The American technology witnessed by the Japanese made them realize how far behind they are in the technological revolution and weaponry. Some scholars prior to American invitation had forecasted the need for Japan to get inspiration from Western modernization and focus on critical factors to become a dominant nation in the world. Among those is Honda Toshiaki whose manuscripts were published long after he died as they highlighted the need for Japan's development. We will explore the development of Japan which took place after commodore Perry's arrival and discuss the Meiji Restoration. We will look upon the teachings of Honda Toshiaki, the writings of Sakuma Shozan and the letter of Iwasaki Yataro to his employees to see how they integrated the need of modernization along with culture and pride of Japanese nation. We will also look at the factors which enabled the Japanese to develop competency to challenge the threats posed by Western countries.


Japan was being ruled by a military general who sought gained power by restricting the people and through the rule of sword. These general used the feudal lords and samurais to control the population and suppressed the people. The authorities of that time were more focused on developing their selves rather than the country. Tokugawa Shogun ruled the country. During his rule, the collective strength of Japan was very weak and armed soldiers were disintegrated.

Commodore Perry

Commodore Perry had a distinguished naval career before he was charged with the assignment of negotiating the trade treaty with Japan. The coast of Japan gave access to some Dutch and Chinese traders and resented any trade with the West. This was going on for centuries and America knew the significance and potential of trade which can achieved if its ships were provided access to the religion. America not only needed to access the Japanese market, but it also needed the Japanese ports to allow replenishment of supplies and coal for its commercial fleet of whaling. Commodore Perry was given a letter by the President of United States to deliver and establish a trading treaty. Commodore went along with four black steam ships loaded with guns and anchored the Bay near Tokyo. The Japanese people experienced battle ships the very first time and become frightened by its size and power. The Commodore insisted to meet the Emperor and refused to meet any of the lesser dignitaries.

The Japanese people and the emperor knew the fragile state of defense they had against the Americans. Witnessing the unbending attitude of Commodore Perry, Japanese ruling elite recognized that their isolation policy will result in war. These facts let them to negotiate a treaty with Commodore Perry ...
Related Ads