Japan Vs China Imperialism Essay


Several scholars have incriminated the traditional Chinese Confucian thinking as the maincause of the country’s failure in the 19


century. In this chapter I intend to present the determiningpatterns in the Chinese culture, politics and economics of the early 19


century. Lockwood (1956: 40)argues that China “alone among the Asian peoples brought to the modern world a tradition of egalitarianism, of personal freedom and social mobility,” free private property, and “humane politicalideals sanctioned by rebellion.” At the same time the Chinese state traditions had been veryenduring. In the previous two thousand years dynasties had rotated in a cyclical system, which wascharacterized by “decay, chaos, refurbishment of the system, and then decay again” (Levy, 1962:172). Fairbank and Reischauer (1989: 258) argue that by the time the Western powers appeared inthe early 19


century, the Ch’ing empire was in the downward phase of a dynastic cycle.Since they had experienced no formidable opponent, the Chinese viewed themselves as thecentre of Asian civilization. Hsü (1971: 155) states that the traditionalist worldview was expressed inthe emperor’s ‘filial piety’ towards his ancestors: “Filial piety demanded that he preserve theinstitutions set up by his forefathers, and that he place his duty to the family above all else” (Hsü,1971: 155). The examination system – through which the new members of the imperial bureaucracywere chosen – failed to broaden the horizon of the Chinese leaders. Although it was open toeverybody, it monopolized the education; entering the Chinese bureaucracy required hierarchicalloyalty.The history of the Ch’ing empire was by no means monolithic before the European powerspenetrated the region. The emergence of the new agricultural technology resulted in the“industrious revolution” (Akira, cited in Sugihara, 2006: 82), which enabled the Chinese population toincrease from the mid 18


to the mid 19


century from 143 million to 450 million (Harrison, 1967:30). Sugihara (2006: 82) assumes that the East Asian peoples managed to escape the Malthusianchecks and “successfully responded to (...) the scarcity of land, by developing a set of technologicaland institutional devices for full absorption of family labour.” By the mid-19


century however, thisagricultural development reached its boundaries. In absence of further technological developmentFairbank and Reischauer (1989: 263) assume that production was almost totally absorbed byconsumption.The Ch’ing statesmen relied on the traditional economy of agriculture, the resources of which were further drained by the tax-farming allowing the officials to tax the local population. Onlypart of the revenue reached Peking. Moreover, the tax-farmers colluded with the big landownersmaking the tax system ‘regressive’ where the poor paid more (Fairbank and Reischauer, 1989: 264-266).Whereas the model of sovereignty and system of nations developed gradually as the definingconcept of international relations in Europe, the East Asian interpretation of foreign politics was thetributary system. In this system the relations between the different nations were expanded accordingto the role of individuals in the Confucian family model with the Chinese Middle Kingdom in thecentre. The junior members of the model offered tribute to the head of the family, the ChineseEmpire (Hsü, 1971: 79).


All the other peoples with whom the Chinese interacted in the course of history wereregarded as barbarians: “they were but ‘uncivilized and outlandish’ peoples awaiting assimilationinto the Chinese orbit through a cultural transformation” (Hsü, 1971: 82). Thus, China only enteredinto negotiations with another party if they accepted the vassal status. This dogma was interlockedwith Chinese tenets of national security (Tsiang, 1971: 130). Wang (cited in Hsü, 1971: 154) alsostates that “no foreign resident ministers were ever received in the Chinese capital and no foreignministers were ever sent abroad.”

The isolated Japan


This family of nations consisted of several East Asian entities, among them Korea, Annam (Vietnam), Siam(Thailand), Burma, Japan, and the Ryukyu Islands


How Western Imperilism Affects China And Japan


I am handing over the copyrights to Jen Shriver upon doing so you accept this .

Thank you

Mike Sorrentino

Oct. 23, 1996

How Western Imperialism affects China and Japan

China and Japan had very different experiences with Western Imperialism . Their reactions to western interference would lay a foundation for their destiny in a world that was rapidly progressing forward , leaving the traditional world behind .

China viewed themselves as totally self sufficient , superior , and the only truly civilized land in a barbarous world. They were inward looking and were encouraged by the conservative Confucianistic beliefs of their emperors to cling to the ancient and traditional ways of the past . They slid rapidly behind in industrial development , refusing to acknowledge the need for shipbuilding or naval development , and saw no importance in European trade .

Then in the 1800's , Europe thrust its way into the heart of the Middle Kingdom, shattering and destroying its isolation forever. China would then be involved in four wars during the nineteenth century ; Britain's opium war (1839-1842), a second war (1856-1860) fought by British and French , the Sino-Japanese war (1894-1895) , and a final western invasion involving British , French , German , Japanese and U.S troops (1899-1900). Chinese Emperors were compelled to sign unequal treaties and were forced to open a number of ports , as well as agree to other territorial concessions . China was also forced to open its seacoasts and its rivers to Western intruders . The Europeans also exploited China's land by securing rights to build railways and develop its natural resources .

China had been unwilling to learn the ways of the West and so became the next victim to fall prey to Western Imperialism , Japan however, was more open to foreign influences , therefore its outcome to western imperialism was quite different. During the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries , Japan also...

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