Japanese Imperialism

Only available on StudyMode
  • Download(s) : 463
  • Published : December 6, 2012
Open Document
Text Preview
Imperialism in its most simplistic form can be defined by the dictionary of human geography as “the creation and or maintenance of an unequal economic, cultural and territorial relationship, usually between states and often in the form of an empire, based on domination and subordination.” It is also declared by this work to be primarily a western phenomenon that utilizes “expansionist, mercantilist policies” which was demonstrated during the nineteenth and twentieth century. Japan in the earlier years of the Tokugawa reign isolated itself from the rest of the world. It was a feudal system in which each citizen was obedient and knew its place in society. However by 1914, Japan had grown to be an imperial power itself following various strategies of the western powers after they themselves had been a colony of a European state. After a period of isolation before the onset of the Meiji restoration and the strong emergence as an imperial power one must examine all the characteristics and strategies that Japan had possessed by 1914 to gain imperial power like that of a north Atlantic power. One strategy that served to be important in Japan’s rise as an imperial power was the development of its nationalistic nature. It can be believed that Japan’s early years of exclusion from the outer world was influential of its expansion as an empire. They developed a systematic and rigid system of living which they despised overseas influences and saw that alliances that could possibly be formed against the shogun were forbidden through the use of an “organized hostage system.” They also developed an attitude of which they were not enthusiastic of foreign intervention and sub-ordination by external powers. Even during the Meiji restoration and the transformation of all systems the Japanese had a feeling a loss of their culture and this provoked the introduction of Confucianism and Shintoism in the remodeled education systems. This created an ideology that Japan was a conservative state which saw itself as being its own nation. They were able to develop a strong sense of culture and self worth that was unimaginable even as they were eventually forced to accept intervention by the United States. It was admirable as Japan never lost its culture while this larger imperial power set place within its state. Also unlike other dominated territories of its time, Japan faced its foreign intrusion with bellowing nationalism and unity. The Meiji emperor by the influence of the oligarchs was placed upon a high, celestial standard, ensuring that all forms of reformation was supported. Teachers were trained to promote loyalty to the Meiji emperor, Japanese religion and their culture and respect for their relatives. Additionally, Richie (1992, p56) claims that standard school history texts stressed a moral obligation of loyalty to the emperor and promoted a spirit of unity and national strength. It was noted that education in this highly literate nation promoted patriotism and the military were taught the virtues of "unquestioning obedience and sacrifice." This self worth grew further into a nature of power politics as they desired a role that showed authority and prestige relative to those of other countries. The Japanese were highly influenced by the imperial nations and used a strategy of duplication to successfully achieve the status of an imperial North Atlantic nation. In 1853, foreign intervention began as Japan still continued to exclude itself from the rest of the world. It was required by the foreign powers that they opened their ports to passing ships. In 1853 Commodore Perry, after sailing to Edo bay, delivered a letter on behalf of the American president Adams stating,” No nation can cut itself off from the rest of the world,” in addition to ships carrying heavy atelier, demanding that they be able to access their harbors. This instigated other powers such as Britain, France and Russia to do the same as the United States actions seemed to be...
tracking img