Catherine Matta

Section 4
Global History
Ms. Vanathayan

What was the impact of the Meiji Restoration on Japan and on the rest of the world?

Modernization, could be one of the greatest virtues for some, but could also be the
greatest vice for others. For Japan, however, it was both congenial and discordant, having them
flourishing, in return for giving most of their ancient culture away. For other countries, though,
it was excruciating, having being painfully taken over by Japan. During the Meiji Restoration,
Japan has experienced, westernization, modernization, industrialization and imperialism. They
became one of the most dominant countries in the world later on, and intimidating 1st world
countries. Since Japan is geographically segregated from Asia and the rest of the world, they
were not in contact with their outer environments. Having experienced the Tokugawa Period
previously, in which they extremely hated anything that had to do with the west, they had
improved majorly in their military and their education.
Initially, during the Tokugawa Period, they wanted to be isolated from everything but
themselves. Isolationation, being economically and politically segregated from other countries.
During the Industrial Revolution, Europe and America have boomed and flourished, while Japan
refused to do any type of interaction with outsiders of any kind. Japan's isolationism had made
them less advanced and gave them an enclosed environment. From the "Closed Country Edict of
1635", which describes the set of rules that have made Japan detached from the rest of the world,
states, " No single trading-city shall be permitted to purchase merchandise brought by foreign

ships." Causing trade to be very limited, and completely eliminating the chance of any type of
cultural diffusion. In various images about the Japanese's sarcasm of the Westerns, they called
them the blue eyed barbarians, and they drew Commodore Matthew Perry, the American who has
made Japan open itself to the world, as an alien or some kind of a bizarre creature. The truth is
that, the Japanese had no actual knowledge of how they looked like since they never interact
with the Westerns because of their hatred for them, it is a never ending cycle.
Furthermore, when later they started flourishing during the Meiji Restoration, after
Commodore Matthew Perry’s visit to Japan, they had many improvements and advancements
mainly in the military and the education. The changes in the military have made Japan stronger
as claimed from Encyclopedia Britannica, 2014, “Even though in terms of numbers the armed
forces were not a proportion of Japan’s society( they numbered around 41,000 in 1878 [Westney]
and 73,000 in 1883 building to a wartime strength of around 200,000.” Showing that military has
become larger and bigger, making them one of the strongest ever. Their education was greatly
influenced by the West. From Encyclopedia Britannica, 2014, discussing education, and how it
was affected, siting, “An area of greater change and modernization was in the field of education,
though the changes owed more to western ideals than actual practice.”
On the other side, Japan needed more resources to fill the emptiness and the isolation
they have experienced for years making them become extremely imperialistic, conquering
Russia, China, and Korea. Imperialism is the policy of extending the rule or authority of an
empire or nation over foreign countries, or of acquiring and holding colonies and dependencies.
From Andrew Nahm, Korea: Tradition and Transformation, P.255, that discuss the events
happening in Korea after Japan’s takeover, stating, “By both covert and overt means the use of
Japanese language upon the Koreans. Failure to speak Japanese denied the Koreans many rights

and privileges.” The Japanese wanted to change the Korean culture to make a very strong nation
or more likely an empire, they did not want the new generations to adapt to their older
cultures.This shows that the Koreans are becoming natives in their own native land, after being
discriminated by who invaded them.
Ultimately, there were various impacts of the modernization of Japan, both favorable and
disastrous. They took over other countries, and have also flourished inside and out, with a more
powerful military and a better education. They have been isolated for years in the Tokugawa
Period, hating to do anything with the foreigners. Then later they have cracked their egg shell,
they became one of the countries to ever survive. Nowadays, you see that Korea and China are
both influenced by the Japanese culture