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HistoryOfJapan - Essay Example

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Japan is a world leading economy with many breakthroughs in technology. However, everyone has a history, and so does Japan. Several aspects characterize a nation’s history. They include culture, lifestyle, political, and economic events. As the years go by, these aspects change. This paper takes 3 stops in the history of Japan…
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History of Japan Introduction Japan is a world leading economy with many breakthroughs in technology. Talk of motor vehicles, electronic goods, heavy industrial machines, robotics, and other advances in technology and Japan is to be mentioned. However, everyone has a history, and so does Japan. Several aspects characterize a nation’s history. They include culture, lifestyle, political, and economic events. As the years go by, these aspects change. This paper takes 3 stops in the history of Japan.
3 Stops in Japan’s History
The first stop is the year 1837. This is when Tokugawa Leyoshi becomes the 12th Shogun, marking the start of the Tokugawa Empire. Japan at this time returns to anti-western policies. This period is characterized by social and fiscal disruption. The market economy is growing, and there is a complex monetary system is in place. This system is based on agriculture. This system supports both the farming classes, as well as the privileged samurai classes. The samurai classes are rather unproductive. It is a feudal class system that consists of the Samurai, farmer, artisan, and the merchant in that order. During this period, people have to do with high rents and taxes, and harsh living conditions. One peculiar observation is that women are supposed to shave their eyebrows, as well as blacken their teeth. With the conservative and isolationist policies, the country is limited in its participation with global trade. This Tokugawa dynasty ends in 1868 and can be described as a period when Japan does not make any meaningful gains.
The next stop is the 3rd of January in 1868. This marks the start of the Meiji Restoration, which is led by a teenager called Mutsuhito, (Brown 234). It is this restoration that marks Japan’s birth as a modern nation. Just before this restoration, the people of Japan are not a happy lot. They are under a feudal system. People are faced with hard economic times. The feudal system has led to incidents of agrarian rioting by the people. They feel that there is a need for social reforms. The people have to deal with high rents, interest rates, and taxes. The average person is also faced with cash payments for military conscription, new taxes, and tuition charges for compulsory education. Under the feudal system, the class system consists of the Samurai, farmer, artisan, and merchant. However, the restoration abolishes this system with the daimyo becoming nobility, the samurai becoming gentry, and the other become commoners. It is a period that also marks the assimilation of western science and technology.
The third stop is 1941, and World War II has started two years earlier with the Allies fighting the Axis. It is the 7th of December 1941 and Japan launches a surprise air attack on the United States Naval Base at Hawaii’s Pearl Harbor. After a mere 2 hours of bombing, about two thousand and four hundred Americans are dead, 21 ships have either been damaged or sunk, and more than 188 warplanes have been destroyed, (Brown 346). Japan sees the United States as a hindrance to its expansionist policies. Japanese Americans are isolated and locked away in internment camps. This event officially brings the US into World War II. The war continues until 1945 when the US uses a massive atomic bomb against a town called Hiroshima in Japan. The date is the 6th of August 1945. This together with the bomb at Nagasaki brings Japan to surrender, bringing an end to World War II. The atomic bombs dropped on Japan have devastating effects on the country and its people. The water is contaminated by radioactive material, there is black rain, and many people die from radiation exposure. The effects extend to unborn children, with cancer-related cases such as breast cancer and leukemia being noted. It is a difficult moment for the people of the two cities and Japan at large. It can only be described as the darkest moment in Japanese history.
From these stops, it is clear that Japan has had moments of transformation. However, one thing that I have learnt is that the Meiji Restoration marked an important phase in the modernization of Japan. It was a transformation from the feudal Tokugawa Empire which had witnessed a decline in Japan’s economic and social power. The Meiji Restoration introduced economic, social, and military reforms, with Japan opening up to western science and technology. At the same time, the Hiroshima and Nagasaki atomic bombings left a huge scar in Japan. It was a dark period for the nation.
Works Cited
Brown, Delmer M. The Cambridge History of Japan. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1993. Read More
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