Japan and England

"What factors were necessary for modernization to occur"

Japan was a country that was completely closed to contact with European countries up until 1853. At this time Japan did not have manufacturing industries, steam engines, railways, or telegraphic communication, and the traditional weapons of war of its samurai military were the sword, the bow, and muzzle-loading cannon. It was not up until 1854that Japan began to modernize as compared to England which was far more modernized than Japan. There were many factors that contributed to such modernization to occur in Japan including the arrival of Commodre Perry, increase in trade and population, change in power and beliefs, and the change of the social structure.

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It was not until Commodore Perry arrived to Japan with a fleet of steam powered ships in 1853, that initiated the isolated country Japan to modernize. Perry had witnessed that Japan at his point, was rigidly conformist, technologically backward, and military-feudal country that had a large agricultural society and had been almost totally closed to the outside world since 1638. Unlike Japan, England had trade agreements with other countries, thus new ideas and technology were created as the power and the economy of the country increased. At this point England had better technology than Japan, they had trains, communication, roads and trade. It was not until 1854 when the treaty of Kankagawa was signed, that set Japan in a series of sets to modernize and gain new ideas and technologies of European countries such as England.

Another factor for modernization, was the need for a non-rigid social structure. Since Japan had a strict social structure, they isolated themselves from the Western culture as the Shoguns saw no merit in their culture. The Shogun wanted social stability by keeping Japanese people based on a social order. At the top of the order was the Emperor, then the samurai whose leader was the Shogun,…


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