Comparison of Japans Meiji Period with Chinas Great Leap Forward - Essay Example

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The Meiji Period in Japan lasted for close to half a century (1868 – 1912). This time in Japan’s history was one of its most successful, mainly due to Emperor Meiji moving the capital from Kyoto to Tokyo. …
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Comparison of Japans Meiji Period with Chinas Great Leap Forward
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Comparison of Japan’s Meiji Period with China’s Great Leap Forward The Meiji Period in Japan lasted for close to half a century (1868 – 1912). Thistime in Japan’s history was one of its most successful, mainly due to Emperor Meiji moving the capital from Kyoto to Tokyo. This helped set up the foundation of a strong capital city today. On the other hand, China’s Great Leap Forward lasted no more than a few years (1958 – 1963). History will look back on this time in China’s history with regret because Mao set China back decades. Even though these periods in Japan’s and China’s history were close to a century apart, the goal of each country was very similar—an attempt to catch up to Western imperialized nations.
One of the main reasons why the Meiji Period is considered a success while the Great Leap Forward a failure is due to the length of time each was given to succeed. The Meiji Period occurred over a longer period of time, and so was more likely to succeed. Emperor Meiji decided that Japan needed to establish itself as one of the world’s leading nations both economically and militarily. To fuel this growth, democracy was promoted as a key component of change in Japan. The old feudal lords had their powers decreased to the point where all Japanese citizens were treated equally. Conversely, China’s Great Leap Forward was abandoned after only a few short years because the goals and objectives set forth by Mao were completely unrealistic. He too realized that China needed to catch up to the Western powers, but he did so in a completely different way than Emperor Meiji. Unlike Japan, which had embraced democracy, China was deeply rooted in communist principles. Mao decided that two improvements would significantly boost the Chinese economy: industry and agriculture. He was correct in saying that these are key areas that need to form the backbone of any economy. Where he got it wrong was setting unrealistic goals and targets for the people to reach. Additionally, families were housed in communes and had no control over their own state of affairs. The result of this was that many people starved to death due to a lack of food.
Even though both the Meiji Period and Great Leap Forward set out with the same purpose, the reason why one succeeded and one failed is how they went about it. Japan decided to study Western ways of learning; the Japanese education system was Western-based and education became compulsory for every Japanese child. Advanced intellectuals even went overseas to try and enhance their knowledge; from the other side, experts from Western countries were brought in to train locals. For the military side of things, the Japanese navy was based around the Prussian and British models. Compared to the Great Leap Forward, the Meiji Period was always likely to succeed because they put the right fundamentals in place to help the nation to thrive. On the other hand, the Chinese Great Leap Forward was very inward looking, with no help from outsiders considered. Another thing that contributed to the Great Leap Forward’s downfall was that too much was attempted to be accomplished too fast. If more time and care had been taken, then it may have been possible for the Great Leap Forward to succeed. Read More
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