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Process of Modernization During Meiji Restoration and the Qing Reform Period and Their Respective Influences on Japan and Chinese Cultures.

Autor:   •  October 6, 2012  •  Research Paper  •  1,169 Words (5 Pages)  •  1,444 Views

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1) Consider and compare how the process of modernization in two East Asian countries affected their cultures. Make sure that you include specific examples in your paper.

The period following the Industrial Revolution advent in 1823 and continuing through the 20th century was an influential time for both China and Japan as their societies became modernized. Although not without challenge and effort, the countries likewise experienced a transformation of their respective cultures during this modernization. Their close geographic relationship and a similar trade route was reflected in some commonalities in the modernization of each; while careful examination reveals some significant differences. In this paper I will offer a comparative analysis described what influences the events, which transpired during Meiji and Qing periods, had on Japanese and Chinese cultures, respectively.

The Japanese experienced a generative period in the wake of the Meiji restoration, or the advent of the “enlightened rule.” The period grew out of frustration and dissatisfaction with the rigid hierarchy and pervasive ruling troubles rooted in their samurai culture, Tokugawa Bakafu. Thee ruling class comprised of a significant proportion of the population, present fiscal troubles in collecting taxes by the government and a immovable social order. This long-standing form of culture was challenged and the central philosophy of the Meiji government was “enrich the country, strengthen the army,” with an intense focus on resisting the West (Beasly, 379). Although Japanese was initially mirroring Western culture in many ways where Tokyo was notably just as any other world city in 1920, the trend reversed as that country began to “buil[d] up military strength” (Irokawa, 198). In order to secure command over modernization the events that occurred in this period focused on tax reform where a “sliding scale [involving] penalizing of upper samurai more than lower,” occurred to curb the ailment of rigid hierarchy (Beasley, 388). In other words, the once “privileged position of samurai as a group… was destroyed,” and the “first intellectual stirring,” of those who would herald new modern culture emerged (Beasly, 389)(Irokawa, 198). This resulted in a culture where self-identity and awareness became key crutches of support where “broader and more free and liberal social awareness,” came into being through group avenues by way of organizations such as the “Peoples’ Movement” (Irokawa, 208).

The drive for modernization in Japan during the Meiji restoration involved the military, monarchy reform, industrialization not to mention modern culture where education and national identity came into the spotlight of leaders and citizens alike. Traditionally the rural class had a great deal of power, while newer developments led to the “gap between cultural levels of ‘country’


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