European Influence on Japan & China

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The European arrival had an effect on both China and Japan. China and Japan had some similar and different reactions to the arrival of the Europeans. In China and Japan, the European arrival affected the technologies and economies of both societies similarly, whereas the reason of isolation differed in these societies.

The technology of the European's following their arrival penetrated both the Japanese and Chinese societies. In China, in order to gain the elites interest in the Christian religion, the Jesuit missionaries introduced the technology of cannons and clocks. In Japan during the 1950s, the Portuguese technology of clock and gun making, influenced society strongly. The Japanese and Chinese both openly accepted the new European technologies because they felt they needed to accept the technologies to keep up with the Europeans, who seemed more technologically advanced. In both China and Japan, people were being converted to Christianity. They were being converted from top to bottom. Once a year, China and Japan, were able to trade with the Europeans. They isolated themselves and traded with each other.

Japan and China also had some different reactions to the European arrival. They had different reasons for isolating. After Zheng He died, the Chinese government decided to close the ports, except two. The Chinese and the Europeans exchanged goods once a year for the next 400 years. China agreed with the isolation because the scholar gentry saw the voyages as a waste of resources. They rather spend the money on defending China. Japan grew doubts with the European intentions, that both merchants and missionaries might subvert the existing social order. This led to official measures to restrict foreign activities in Japan. Under Ieyasu and his successors, the persecution of the Christians increased to isolate Japan from outside influences. In the 1630s, all the Japanese ships were forbidden to trade or even sail overseas. By the mid-17th century, Japan’s...
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