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China and Japan’s Responses to The West

A compare and contrast essay about how China and Japan responded to the West comparatively in the nineteenth century.

            Throughout all of world history, civilizations have been evolving constantly and at a rapid pace. Think of how the first civilizations started out…with stone tools. Centuries later, those stones have increased and emerged as guns, capable of killing many within minutes. However, during the eighteenth century, two Asian regions will be identified as countries that went in completely separate paths as far as responding to Western European influence goes. These two countries are: China & Japan. Beginning the process of reformation in nineteenth century, China and Japan were completely diverse. Political systems and forms of government differentiated tremendously. As far as involvement with the west goes, the Japanese win in that category. Also, the stability of each country took on contrasting roles. Despite the numerous differences, many other aspects of Western influence brought forth some Chinese and Japanese similarities, such as how they were both pried open by the West.

            First and foremost, at the time of Western penetration into the regional areas of Japan and China, Japan and China were unique to themselves in the sense of government and social structure. In essence, China contained a well-organized and extremely centralized government, while Japan was lacking in this category and struggled as it developed into an issue. However, this noticeable difference in China was not as spontaneous as it seems. Government centralization in China has been written in its history for a while which is why “there was no need to brush aside otherworldly commitments or feudal distractions to deal with the West’s material and organizational power.” Due to previous advancements in Chinese civilization, China could have been the Asian piece in which would direct others in responding to the West.

            Furthermore, the Japanese and Chinese presented distinct involvement. Japan and China were both forcibly opened by the West, however, that does not constitute for the fact that both were willing to accept Western influence easily. You could say that Japan was more flexible. Throughout Japan’s history, it has had practice imitating other civilizations, such as China, which made responding to Western penetration a flexible action. One way to exemplify this would be Japan’s willingness to borrow from the West; China, however, had none of this will and wanted nothing from the West. Because of this, Japan will soon not end up far behind the West and China will have to make its great feat to catch up. Due to Japan’s involvement, it quickly came to political solutions, as a parliamentary was implemented, but China finally gained ground and eventually became a communist state.

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