Comparing To Western Penetration In Essay
Japan and China had many contrasting responses to western penetration in the nineteenth century, including economic interaction – economically China suffered and Japan prospered, Japanese agricultural productivity increased while China’s did not, and China only accepted a small amount of goods while Japan accepted a wide range of goods- and political interaction – China went to war but Japan did not, Japan adopted western learning styles but China did not, and Japan heavily increased taxes on their people after 1890, while China did not -but had very comparable geographic traits – both had ocean borders – Japan was completely surrounded by water while China was bordered on a large percentage of itself, both kept their ports either fully closed, like Japan which completely isolated itself in the beginning, or like China which opened a only limited number of ports and cities to trade, and both conducted their trade – China with Britain, Japan with America – by boat across the ocean.
Following the Western penetration in The Nineteenth Century Japanese agricultural productivity increased. However in China there was no such increase. In the end Japan’s economy boomed. Whereas China’s did not. This could be due to the fact that Japan accepted the western penetration whereas China resisted. The Chinese accpeted only a tiny selection of Western goods in trade. Whereas the Japanese were much more open to western trade and accepted a wide range of western goods. When China lost the first Opium war with the British they were forced to sign several “unequal treaties,” in addition they had to surrender Hong Kong. Whereas the Japanese did not get into a war with the British. This could be due to the fact that the Japanese were more open to trading with the British then the Chinese were. The Japanese in order to avoid westerm domination adopted western learning, economics, and military methods.
There is also evidence to suggest that the emperor himself was personally inclined toward westernization. The Chinese however were much more reluctant to adopt western characteristics. This could be be because the Chinese viewed all outsiders as barbarians. In Japan taxes increased considerably for both the upper and lower classes. This new tax system helped to fund a national education system. Whereas the Chinese had no such tax increases. This could be due to the fact that they were more reluctant to westernize so they were not trying to fund as many new programs as the Japanese were. While differing ecomically and politically in their responses to western penetration, Japan and China had similarities in the way of geography.
China only allowed Europeans to trade with it in a limited number of ports and cities, which limited the amount of goods Europeans were allowed to transfer overseas. Japan isolated itself as a whole from trade for an entire decade, and when it did open it was cautious towards westerners. Additionally, both were bordered by the ocean at least to a certain extent – Japan was surrounded entirely, being an island, by water, and a large percentage of China’s borders was water. It is because of this that the third similarity arose – both did trade by ocean. China with Britain, simply because it was the easiest, cheapest, and most efficient form of travel between the two, and Japan because there was obviously no choice considering Japan is an island.
These geographical similarities arose purely from the coincidence that both were bordered by the ocean, which created the necessity for boats and by the time the opportunity for trade arose they already had efficient means for transporting the goods. Even as Japan and China had many dissimilarties when it came to responses to western penetration in the ways of politics and economics- China clashing with it’s foreign trade and Japan avoiding conflict- they had some similarities when it came to geography, being connected to each other through the ocean and their opening of a limited number of ports. Throughout history in their interactions they both experienced clashes and resolved their problems in their own unique ways.