|My History Textbook... and the cat.... :/ This really|
has nothing to do with this post besides the history
textbook.... so there you go.
Throughout History China and Japan have taken very different approaches to various cultural political and economic trends. Both China and Japan have strong cultural and religious roots. Religion was pertinent to their governing, fighting, and everyday living. Their cultural ancestors and traditions have always, and continue to be vital to their individual and national identities. But how China and Japan used and treated their culture versus a western one was drastically different.
As demonstrated in Primary Source Boxer Propaganda, the Boxer uprising exemplifies many of the Chinese people’s desire to have western influence out of China. The Boxers pushed Europeans, and their influences out, forcing the government to come alongside them. They killed European missionaries and Chinese Christian converts as well as anyone who continued to follow western practices or anyone who helped westerners and Christians escape persecution.
In stark contrast the Japanese were more open to missionaries and western schools of thought, thought they were not totally sold out on the principles at first. They sought to analyze the pros and cons of Western philosophy and really look at the modern evidence to decide what to follow and who to trust, before making rash decisions.
For the most part the Chinese government did not see the western world or their ways as a big threat. Rather they focused their energies on suppressing internal revolutions, which continued to rise up; the peasants sensed change was needed, they simply never knew whom exactly to blame or what would really change their circumstances. Usually both uprising and suppressions came back to the Chinese ideal of going back to the basics, to what worked in past Chinese societies; but one key point China did not realize, was the world was changing. What worked in the past, was simply not sufficient for the quickly modernizing world.
While China refused contact with the western world, Japan studied their tactics. The Japanese sought to introduce a careful balance of Japanese culture and western tactics. Japan realized what China did not- to survive they must change their ways. One of the most important innovations the Japanese government instituted was the westernization of their military. This made them a military power to be reckoned with. While the Chinese were still trying to suppress the calls for change, the Japanese put the call for change into action.
This is not to say that none of the Chinese agreed with western principles. In fact merchants loved trading with western entities because of the silver and opium they could obtain, and the significant business that westerners maintained for their commodities. The Chinese government did it’s best to put a stop to this trading, but to no significant avail. There suppressions and regulations only raised more resentment in the Chinese people towards their government.
Ultimately Japan would institute important European economic, military, and ruling tactics, while keeping their cultural identity and heritage successfully. Contrarily, China would focus on suppressing it’s own people, not realizing the dangers of the western world if they did not revolutionize their ways until it was too late. China and Japan both loved their past culture and heritage but they used and treated this culture quite differently in relation to western influences.