Modernization of Japan Essay
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Japan underwent rapid modernization due to the impacts of the West. Significant influences of the West caused Intensive and extensive transformation of japans feudal system to a modern industrialized nation.
The arrival of Commodore Matthew Perry, Commander – in – Chief of US forces in 1853 was a major contribution to the Modernization of Japan. Perry had been sent to force the Japanese inhabitants to concede the following: Protection for American soldiers, opening of one or two ports for repairs and refueling coal and the opening of one or more ports for trading purposes. The shogun accepted Perry’s terms. This lead to the rapid transition and modernization of Japan from a feudal society to an industrialized nation.
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As Historian Doctor Elise K. Tipton recites in the text “From Isolation to Imperialism”, ”The Meiji leaders recognized Western superiority in material aspects of life, technology and scientific techniques, but they still believed that Japanese culture, spirit, and ethics were superior to the West’s. “
The overall goal of the Meiji leaders, to achieve equality with the major Western Powers was summed up by the slogan “A rich country, a strong military”. This lead to the immediate elimination of unequal treaties, such as the Harris Treaty of 1858. The abolition of this treaty meant that Japan gained an aspect of independence by the control of tariffs for imported goods and the ability to prosecute Western offenders under Japanese law. This independence is a result of how the Japanese transformed into a sophisticated modern nation.
Following the principle of “Japanese spirit, Western Techniques”, the Meiji leaders adopted Western practices and the main areas of modernization in Japan were; government, law, military, education, society, economics and Modern technology.
The first aim of the Meiji leaders was to dismantle the feudal system to centralize power. Lands were taken from their lords and controlled by the emperor. “There is no soil within the empire, that does not belong to the Emperor” was words used to describe the mass amounts of land
Social change by definition is the transformation of culture and social institutions over time. The key features of social change are the following: it happens all of the time, it is sometimes intentional but is often unplanned, it is controversial, and some changes matter more than others. There are several social changes that have occurred in the past, and social changes will continue to occur.
Clothing styles, the invention and use of the computer, Genetic Engineering, and the invention of the automobile are all examples of social change. Clothing styles changing happen all of the time, is sometimes intentional but is sometimes an accident, and doesn’t matter that much in the grand scheme of things. The computer was an intentional social change; it was created to better the quality of life, yet it was controversial. Many people had difficulty recognizing that trusting in technology was okay.
see more:role of education in social change
Genetic engineering is ongoing and is very controversial. Some people feel that using genetic engineering is interfering with God’s natural intentions. The invention of the car was intentional and mattered a lot more than other social changes. Without the invention of the car, cultures would not have developed and expanded at near the rate that they did. Modernization by definition is the process of social change begun by industrialization.
The key features of modernization are the decline of small, traditional communities, the expansion of personal choice, the increase of social diversity, and orientation toward the future and a growing awareness of time . Religious freedom, individualization, urbanization, and diverse marriages are all example of modernization. The features of these four examples are the expansion of personal choice, and the increase of social diversity. Modernization will continue to occur as the key elements of the key features of modernization occur.