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"Early Westernization in Japan 1868-1900" Topic

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538 hits since 26 Jul 2017
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Tango01 Supporting Member of TMP26 Jul 2017 3:06 p.m. PST

Of possible interest?

"more in the four and a half decades to 1900 since the arrival of Commodore Perry in Shimoda in 1853 than in the three centuries of Tokugawa control is beyond question.

Folklorist Kunio Yanagida sees this change as "virtually revolutionary." One oft quoted contemporary observer, Basil Hall Chamberlain, captures the depth of these changes. "To have lived through the transition stage of modern Japan makes a man feel preternaturally old; for here he is in modern times…. and yet he can himself distinctly remember the Middle Ages."

However, by the end of the nineteenth century as the nation became more confident, voices were raised concerning whether Japan had gone too far in its policy of bunmei kaika and imitation of the West.

The Tokugawa regime attempted to hermetically seal Japan to the outside world to prevent change, the Meiji leaders strove to execute change. The pressure and motivation for this change was the Western threat to Japan's sovereignty itself and the need to reverse the unequal treaties imposed on Japan in the 1850's…"
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magister equitum27 Jul 2017 2:21 p.m. PST

It must be said that Japan had a small elite that made western studies, translated books and was well aware of the technological changes. Still the speed of changes and the willingness to reform are impressive, completely opposite of China that suffered a lot for its conservatism.

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