Chapter 31 Outline – Japan and the Pacific Rim VI. The Present Era



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Chapter 31 Outline – Japan and the Pacific Rim
VI. The Present Era (1914 – Present)

  1. Japan and the Pacific Rim

  1. Decades of Turmoil: The World Wars and Their Consequences

  1. Japan’s Ongoing Development (between WW1 and WW2, 1918-1939)

  • By the 1920s, the Japanese economy soared and became modernized

  • Japan had huge businesses (called zaibatsu) and shipbuilding and metallurgy grew

  • A new consumer culture emerged (ex: people went to movies and read newspapers)

  • Universal education began, more people went to college, and Japan catching West in technology

  • Japan’s economy vulnerable to what was going on in the world b/c relied on selling exports (ex: silk exports weakening b/c of competition from Western made artificial fibers like rayon)

  • Japan had huge population growth (1868 = 30 million, 1940 = 73 million) which led to crowded cities and poor living conditions

  • Japan hurt by Great Depression in 1930s, but military spending for WW2 helped recovery

  • Korekiyo Takahashi = Japanese minister of finance in 1930s who encouraged government spending (government provided jobs which helped stimulate economy)

  • By late 1930s, Japan had 3rd largest navy in world, and basically caught up to West technologically

  1. Political Crisis and Growing Militarism

  • While the Japanese economy was growing, politically Japan was going through a crisis

  • Starting in 1920s, Japan’s military leaders had major influence over foreign policy decisions

  • Military leaders opposed civilian leaders, who wanted to limit spending on military (ex: civilian leaders angry when military leaders decided to take Manchuria from China)

  • As Great Depression set in, conservative nationalist groups began rejecting Western influences that had begun to spread to the quickly modernizing Japan

  • These conservative leaders used the Great Depression to attack parliamentary system as weak

  • A series of coups (rebellions) took place in Japan in the 1930s

  • 1932 = Prime minister killed by group of conservative military officers, though they didn’t rule Japan, and instead a moderate military rule was established (no more civilian rule thought)

  • 1936 = A failed coup was attempted, but more militaristic prime ministers began leading Japan

  • Tojo Hideki = General who helped prevent 1936 coup, pushed for military-style rule in Japan

  • By 1938, Japan had expanded (controlled Manchuria, Korea, and Taiwan, from which it sold exports and got imports) and leaders wanted to further expand Japan

  1. Change in Other Pacific Rim Areas

  • B/t WW1 and WW2 the countries in the Pacific Rim (east Asia) each had different experiences

  • Japan controlled Korea during this time (Japan exploited Korea, leading to resentment by Koreans)

  • Chinese culture no longer dominant influence on Korea, as Japanese put their stamp on Korea

  • Japan abolished Korean monarchy in 1909 and limited power of Korean court aristocracy

  • Korean language newspapers banned and Japanese weights and measures and money used

  • Resources in Korea were given to Japanese businesses, and Korean peasants forced to grow rice for export to Japan and other foreign markets

  • While terrible, the economic exploitation of Korea by Japan had some beneficial effects

  • Keys to later economic success of Korea developed under Japanese rule

  • Korea’s Christian minority became a basis for independent identity under Japanese occupation

  • Singapore = Part of Britain’s Malaya colony; city with largely Chinese population; underwent important development in 1930s when British tried to build it into strong naval base

  • Singapore was major international port w/ access to rubber and tin producing areas of Malaya

  • Occupied by Japan during WW2 which led to widespread poverty after the war

  1. East Asia in the Postwar Settlements

  1. New Divisions and the End of Empires

  • Asia was totally restructured after WW2 by the Allied nations that won the war

  • After WW2: Korea divided, Taiwan returned to China, Europeans regained colonies of Vietnam, Malaya, and Indonesia (though each soon got independence), U.S. regained control of the Philippines (though soon granted it independence), and Japan was occupied by U.S.

  1. Japanese Recovery (Post-WW2 Japan)

  • Japan was totally destroyed by the end of WW2 (1945) but experienced a rapid recovery

  • The U.S., which occupied Japan after the war. avoided punishment and helped Japan recover

  • General Douglas MacArthur = Led U.S. occupation of Japan; ended military rule in Japan

  • Americans supported democracy in Japan – gave women right to vote, encouraged labor unions, as abolished Shinto as state religion

  • U.S. also reformed Japan economically – helped small farmers by breaking up large estates, and also broke up the powerful zaibatsu

  • A new constitution was written, and parliament was made the supreme ruling body

  • Civil liberties and freedoms were guaranteed

  • Japan’s military was abolished (U.S. vowed to protect Japan), which made Japanese people happy since they had grown wary of military rule

  • The emperor became a figurehead, with no political power and no longer considered holy

  • Japanese had parliamentary system in past, so transition to new constitution went smoothly

  • Japan became democracy that allowed different political parties, but it was unique b/c only one party ruled for decades

  • Liberal Democratic Party =Moderate political party; dominated Japanese politics

  • Women had gained right to vote, yet their condition was worse than women in the West

  • Japan placed huge emphasis on education, w/ rigorous exams to determine next level school

  1. Korea: Intervention and War (Post-WW2 Korea)

  • Korea had many problems after WW2, and was divided into two nations

  • Republic of Korea = South Korea, supported by the U.S., had authoritarian government led by Syngman Rhee (not a democracy, but not communist which U.S. liked)

  • People’s Democratic Republic of Korea = North Korea, supported by the Soviets, led by communist dictator Kim Il-Sung until his death in 1994

  • Korean War (1950-1953) = N. Korea attacked S. Korea (tried to make 1 communist nation)

  • United Nation forces, led by the U.S. and Douglas MacArthur, drove the North Koreans out of South Korea and all the way back to the Chinese border

  • War turned into a stalemate and original border was kept, and fighting ended in 1953

  • After the Korean War, North Korea and South Korea continued to develop very differently

  • North Korea became isolated

  • South Korea was helped by American aid and the economy grew

  • Still today, there is much tension along the border between the two Koreas

  1. Emerging Stability in Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Singapore

  • Taiwan after WWW2: (this will be discussed more in chapter 35)

  • Civil war in China (1945-1949) led to communists taking over mainland China (the nationalists fled to Taiwan and established authoritarian government under Chiang Kai-shek)

  • In another part of Pacific Rim, Hong Kong and Singapore had close ties to the British

  • Hong Kong = Remained British colony after WW2, though gained more autonomy over time, and in 1997 it was given back to China

  • Singapore gained independence from British in 1971

  • From 1960s onward, these areas had international influence due to manufacturing and trade

  1. Japan, Incorporated

  1. The Distinctive Political and Cultural Style

  • Japanese politics very stable as Liberal Democratic Party held power from 1955-1990

  • Unlike other democracies where power shifts b/t political parties, Japan dominated by 1 party

  • Wasn’t until late 1980s when political scandals emerged that people challenged the 1 party

  • Japan’s government was very supportive of business, which allowed industry to soar

  • “Japan, Incorporated” = Nickname for Japan b/c government was so pro-business

  • Culturally, Japan preserved many of its traditions

  • Traditional styles of poetry and painting, tea ceremonies common

  • Kabuki and No theater flourished

  • Painters and architects influenced by the international style, but put a Japanese twist on it

  • Orchestras played Western composer music, but they incorporated Japanese flute and zither

  • While Japan borrowed culture (adding Japanese twist), Japanese culture didn’t spread to world

  1. The Economic Surge

  • Japan’s biggest impact on world was economically, starting in mid 1950s

  • By 1970s, Japan was one of top 3 economies in world, (by 1983, Japanese economy bigger than both Koreas, Taiwan, India, Pakistan, Australia, and Brazil combined)

  • Per capita income (average salary) was still behind the West, but only slightly

  • Japanese corporations did huge international business, especially selling cars and electronics

  • There were several reasons for this rapid economic growth post-WW2

  • The government actively encouraged economic growth (remember, “Japan Incorporated”)

  • Since Japan had no military, that money was spent on education, and this major focus on education allowed Japan to produce more engineers than anywhere in world

  • Japan’s labor policy worked well (how workers were treated)

  • Each company had its own unions, so employees felt loyalty to their company and worked hard

  • Group loyalty was encouraged (ex: morning exercises that workers would do together)

  • Managers listened to ideas of employees, so workers felt they had stake in company’s success

  • Managers took active interest in employee suggestions making them feel important

  • Japanese reluctant to take vacations, and thus had less leisure time than workers in the West

  • Family life in Japan was different from family life in the West

  • Despite access to better education, Japanese women did not gain as many rights as they did in West (Japanese women expected to be housewives and moms)

  • When raising children, conforming to the group was a trait instilled in the child (unlike West)

  • Tough exams and little leisure time led to many Japanese having a lot of stress, and it was more acceptable in Japan to go on drinking binges and visit Geisha houses

  • While Japanese tried to maintain culture, there were changes in popular culture over time

  • Baseball became popular beginning when Americans occupied Japan after WW2

  • Tensions b/t older generation (preserve traditions) and younger generations (open to West)

  • Another change that arose was pollution becoming a major problem in Japan by the 1960s, and some people began wearing masks in public

  • The 1990s brought new questions to Japan

  • The Liberal Democratic Party lost power due to corruption, ending long 1 party rule

  • Economic problems set in, and a severe recession led to large-scale unemployment

  1. The Pacific Rim: New Japans?

  1. The Korean Miracle (Post-WW2 South Korea)

  • Other than Japan, South Korea saw the biggest economic growth in the Pacific Rim

  • South Korea was generally ruled by authoritarian, militaristic leaders, mostly army leaders

  • In 1980s, protests ousted military leaders from power, but conservative leaders replaced them, so things didn’t change much

  • Like Japan, South Korean government mostly focused on economic growth

  • Huge industries were created, partly by the government, and partly through private ownership

  • By 1980s, South Korea was competing with Japan in consumer goods, steel, textiles, and cars

  • Like in Japan, huge companies emerged which had a lot of political clout

  • Hyundai = South Korean multinational automobile corporation; had so much power it basically governed southeast South Korea (built ships including petroleum supertankers, built thousands of homes, sold to low paid workers, at below market rates, built schools)

  • Since Hyundai provided cheap homes and schooling, workers put in 6 day work weeks with only 3 vacation days per year

  • The economic growth of South Korea produced a lot of changes for the nation

  • Population soared, and South Korea had one of the highest population densities in the world

  • Government eventually encouraged couples to limit birthrate

  1. Advances in Taiwan and the City-States (post-WW2 Taiwan, Singapore, and Hong Kong)

  • Taiwan also had a high rate of economic growth after WW2 (we study Taiwan more in chapter 35)

  • Land reform that helped small farmers reason for agricultural growth

  • Taiwanese government involved in economy, but allowed for private ownership also

  • Education increased greatly

  • Taiwan preserved culture, but Western culture spread also (ex: medicine and entertainment)

  • Taiwan began trading with east Asia, especially Japan

  • Taiwan was formed by the Chinese leaders who fled after communists won civil war to rule China

  • Chiang Ching-kuo = son of 1st ruler, Chiang Kai-shek; took power after his dad died (1978)

  • Still very authoritarian, although allowed more native Taiwanese to be in government

  • Singapore’s economic growth resembled Taiwan’s in many ways

  • Lee Kuan Yew = Prime minister of Singapore, 1959-1990, when it gained full independence

  • Yew was leader of only political party in Singapore, the People’s Action Party (PAP)

  • Government of Singapore strict, and used harsh discipline, which led to low crime rates

  • To grow economy, government allowed free enterprise (Singapore became a leading exporter of manufactured goods and also is big in banking industry)

  • By 1980s, Singapore had highest per capita income in Asia and health conditions and education had improved greatly

  • Hong Kong was also a major port

  • Also became center of international banking (bridge b/t communist China and rest of world)

  • By 1980s, textiles and clothing 39% of exports

  • Prosperous middle class emerged

  • In 1997, Britain gave Hong Kong back to China, and communist China promised to respect the Hong Kong’s free market economy and democratic rights

  1. Common Themes and New Problems

  • Pacific Rim had more in common than just rapid economic growth and exports

  • All stressed group loyalties over individual excess

  • All had reliance on government planning and direction, while limiting dissent

  • Economic growth of the Pacific Rim began spreading throughout southeast Asia by the 1980s

  • “Little tigers” Indonesia, Malaysia, and Thailand began to have rapid economic growth along with accompanying pollution problems

  • But the end of the 1990s revealed weakness in the Pacific Rim

  • Growth stopped, unemployment went up, and currencies took a hit

  • West argued must get government out of economy and allow more free market

  • Political pressure came along with economic struggles(ex: long-term dictator of Indonesia was overthrown in 1998 and democracy came)



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