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Discuss the impact of increased contact with the outside world on Japan in the 1850's and 1860's.

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Introduction

Discuss the impact of increased contact with the outside world on Japan in the 1850's and 1860's. By Danni Patterson 10D In 1639, Japan's seclusion policy was adopted and enforced, aiming to legitimize and strengthen its authority, both domestically and in East Asia. The seclusion policy prohibited trade with, and travel to , foreign countries by all Japanese. There was no overseas contact with Japan with the exception of the Portuguese, who were situated on a vessel on the Japanese island of Nagasaki. They were only allowed one trading boat per year in the hope to reduce overseas trade. The aim of this isolation was impede the spread of foreign ideas such as Christianity and to become a self-sufficient nation. Although lasting for almost 200 years, Japan knew that it wouldn't be long before the west came with new trade agreements.Towards the end of the eighteenth century, focus was again on the pacific region and the Chinese trade, and once again Western attention was focusing on Japan. ...read more.

Middle

Japan became vulnerable to other nations with supremacy over itself, and as foreign intrest in Japan grew, pressure on Japan to sign treaties grew. This became even more evident as later that year, similar treaties were signed with unfair trade agreements with other western countries, including France, Holland, Britain and Russia. All of these treaties were based on power and they clearly favored the interests of the other countries and did not give Japan equal privileges. It can be strongly argued that Japan was bullied to sign them. By the 1860's opposition centred on Japans south west clans. Many people with considerable financial support and power opposed two Clans in particular, Satsuma and Choshu and after the recent events, were calling for the countries power to be back in the hands of the emporer rather than the shogun. Many believed that the officials had made poor decisions on behalf of their country and were not happy with the way that Japan changed as a result of it. ...read more.

Conclusion

During this time a number of social, political, economical, military and educational modernizations occurred. Japan's new leaders knew that if Japan was going to be a strong and powerful country it would have to be stronger militarily. A new capital city was formed in Toyko, and here a central government had become a political reality in Meiji Japan. These changes were also put down in a Charter Oath and Constitution. A democratic system was also established to make sure that all matters were decided by public discussion. During this time, superiority between the different social classes decreased as to become a powerful country Japan believed that had to have people treated with equality. There were many positive affects that came out of increased contact with foreigners and the fall of the Tokugawa Shogunate. With a young, new and ambitious leader, Japan did what it had to, to become one of the worlds most powerful nations. It was a long awaited change that was needed to make Japan advance. The Meiji Restoration marked the real beginning of Japan's transformation and entry into the international world. ...read more.

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