Module 4 pgs 874 878

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Module 1.4 pgs 874 – 878

* During the 1800s, Japan’s power was increasing and they were able to remain isolated more successfully than the Chinese.

* At first, only the port of Nagasaki was open to trade.

* The US Commodore Matthew Perry demanded diplomatic negotiations. The Japanese agreed and opened two ports for trade.

* This was an example of “gunboat diplomacy.”

* The samurai, who enjoyed peace and privilege for 200 years, were humiliated by the American intrusion. Some reform minded samurai staged a coup and ousted the Tokugawas. This began the Meiji Restoration.

* The oligarchs of this movement used the young emperor as a figurehead for their movement.

* Their goal was to “enrich the state and strengthen the armed forces.”

* The initiated reforms with the goal of mastering Western military and industrial technology.

* They sought foreign knowledge from all over the world and sent out delegations to learn from other countries.

* Soon, the samurai were reduced in social status. At first, they were given less money by the government, then, they had to find work.

* This “leveled the playing field” for commoners and samurai. However, some samurai did protest, albeit unsuccessfully.

* The Japanese created a new war college similar to the German one and a professional officer corps was trained. Shogun Daimyo Daimyo Daimyo Emperor Greater Samurai Greater Samurai Greater Samurai Lesser Samurai Lesser Samurai Lesser Samurai

* Japan advanced so much that it was able to open Korea, defeat China, gain Taiwan, and win a war against Russia.

* The Japanese adopted a Western style Constitution in 1889.

* They modeled their constitution on the German one.

* This was an authoritarian system in which the emperor was sacred and the lower house of the Diet (parliament) had very little power.

* The culture shifted from being China-based to being based on Western ideas and culture.

* Fukuzawa was an influential author who encouraged Western learning.

* The leaders of the Meiji restoration wanted Japan to be a modern industrial nation with western technology, science, medicine, industry, and education.

* Along with this increase, the standard of living increased for average people. Rice production and public health was improved. The population grew from 30 million to 45 million from 1868 to 1900.


1) What was the Meiji restoration? Why was it important for Japan’s history?

a. The Meiji restoration was the movement to westernized and modernize Japan in industry, technology, science, education, and medicine.

b. It was important because it succeeded. It successfully transformed Japan into a modern, industrial power.

2) How did Japan differ from China in its response to the west?

a. The Chinese continue to refer to Westerners as barbarians. They loathed their ideas and refused to treat them as equals. However, the Japanese eagerly adopted Western ideas and cultures. They took what they saw to be the best elements of Western society and incorporated them into Japanese society.

3) Why was Japan’s modernization so remarkable?

a. Its scope – all industries were modernized.

b. The standard of living improved for all people.

c. Its speed – Japan had successfully modernized by the early 1900s.

d. It was unprecedented. No non-western country had adopted Western ideas so quickly and modernized so rapidly.

Class Notes

The Opening of Japan

* Japanese were hostile to shipwrecked sailors and often killed sailor by boiling them alive.

* The US attempted to persuade the Japanese to modernize and open their country

* They sent four steam warships to Tokyo – this struck fear into the Japanese and coerced them into opening four ports for trade.

The Meiji Restoration

* The Tokugawas lost face after the arrival of the westerners.

* Young samurai were frustrated by stagnation, lack of opportunity, the Tokugawas ineptitude, and want to ‘restore’ the emperor’s power.

* They took control in 1868 and began a rapid modernization program.

* The samurai of the restoration supported Emperor Mutsuhito and ran the country through him.

* They take what is good and reject what is bad about Western civilization.

* Japan didn’t want to repeat China’s mistake in not modernizing.

* This was extremely pivotal in Japanese history – they succeeded in less than fifty years.

* By 1900, Japan was a modern industrial power that was able to defeat the Russians.

* They were equipped with modern military and industry


* Samurai class disappears

* Centralized government

* End of the caste system – people can now move to a higher social class

* Modernization

* Westernization

Reasons for Success

1) Capable leaders

a. Young, educated samurai

2) Japanese advantages

i. Small country

ii. Culturally united

iii. Samurai-led → people had been trained to obey the samurai, embedded in the culture

iv. Only limited resistance against – the Satsuma rebellion

3) Western example and guidance

a. Sent samurai all over the world to various universities to study a wide range of topics.

4) Effective end of Feudalism

Ultimate Demise

1) Nationalism

a. Extreme devotion to the nation-state, idea of a Japanese “race”

2) Militarism

a. Wanted the greatest military in Asia

b. Greatness = military strength

c. Fits with bushido and the idea of the exalted warrior class (samurai)

3) Imperialism

a. Greatness = large empire

b. Defeated China in 1894

c. Expand their influence in Asia

Module 1.5 pgs 988 – 993

Notes from the Reading

* Along with the great reforms of the Meiji Restoration, there was a rise in nationalism.

* The Japanese nationalists believed it was their duty to enlighten and protect Asia.

* Living standards in Japan were the best in Asia and there was an extremely high literacy rate.

* However, Japan’s improvements had downsides. Natural resources were scarce and Japan was vulnerable to small fluctuations in the economy.

* Colonies and expansion became vital to the Japanese because of this lack of resources.

* The Japanese developed a dualistic economy – there were two parts.

* The first part, the Zaibatsu, were enormous corporations such as Mitsubishi which had thousands of workers, vast resources, and enormous economic power. They were able to influence the government and corruption resulted.

* The second part was everyone besides the Zaibatsu. These people were unorganized peasant farmers and craftsman.

* The Japanese also were influenced by European nationalism. The Japanese ultranationalists gained power. They were anti-western, anti-democracy, anti-Marxism, and anti-big business. They wanted to restore Japanese practices.

* They valued the emperor’s god-like status and the Bushido code.

* The wanted to make “Asia for Asians”

* They were so ethnocentric that they believed that it was the destiny of the Japanese race to lead China and India.

* The ultranationalists were able to take power in the 1930s because of unemployment and suffering due to the world depression. They blamed the western ideas and current system and won the votes of the people.

* Chinese nationalism threatened Japan’s control over Manchuria.

* The Japanese invaded Manchuria with the pretense of self-defense when they staged a bombing of their trains at Mukden.

* They installed a puppet emperor and used Manchuria as a base.

* By late 1938, the Japanese had fought the Chinese and occupied much of north-eastern China.

* However, the conflict degenerated into a stalemate.


1) Identify zaibatsu.

a. The zaibatsu were enormous corporations that were powerful in a certain industry. They employed thousands of workers, owned many factories, and could out-produce the unorganized peasants and artisans.

b. The Zaibatsu grew so powerful that they were able to influence the government and cause corruption.

2) How did the conflict between Communists and Nationalists in China encourage Japanese aggression in Asia?

a. The Chinese nationalists threatened Japanese control in China. So, the Japanese invaded Manchuria and set up a puppet government.

b. The nationalism of the Chinese was pitted against the nationalism of the Japanese in a bitter struggle in China.

3) Examine the map on page 992. What cities were under Japanese control in 1938?

a. Shanghaiu, Nanking, Beijing, Tianjin, Mukden, Nanchang, Wuhan, Jinan, Qingdao, and Hangzhou.

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