Tuesday, February 23, 2010

WH II Honors: 24 February 2010


If our schedule is shortened or in inclement weather the Test may be briefer otherwise today we have the complete Test on Ch. 14.

Put your name on both the Scantron and the Test. You may write on the Test. If you finish early you may take out non-History materials.

Chapter 15 East Asia Under Challenge 1800-1914

Section 3 Rise of Modern Japan

Examine samurai objects
Take a tour of the Japanese city of Edo

Interactive tour of Osaka Castle

Zoom in on a painting of the siege of the castle

Find out more about Hideyoshi.

Timeline of Japanese history
This is the trailer for what is acclaimed as one of the greatest films ever made, Akira Kurosawa's Seven Samurai. Warning: Language, do not view if you are offended by a bit more than PG-13 language.

Kurosawa's film was the inspiration for a classic Western: "The Magnificent 7" (1960), 3:10.

Film trailer for this classic Western starring Yul Brynner, Steve McQueen, James Coburn, Robert Vaughn, Charles Bronson, Horst Buchholz, Brad Dexter and Eli Wallach.

These scenes from a History Channel documentary provides basic information on Japanese history and culture, particularly the importance of bushido, 7:21.

Cause and Effect Illustrated for Japan

An End to Isolation

The Emperor and a traditional Japanese fan

The emperor Meiji wrote a poem to provide inspiration for Japan’s efforts to become a modern country in the late 1800s:

“May our country,

Taking what is good,

and rejecting what is bad,

Be not inferior

To any other.”

In 1853, the United States displayed its new military might, sending a naval force to make Japan open its ports to trade. Japanese leaders debated how to respond. While some resisted giving up their 215-year-old policy of seclusion, others felt that it would be wiser for Japan to learn from the foreigners.

In the end, Japan chose to abandon its centuries of isolation. The country swiftly transformed itself into a modern industrial power and then set out on its own imperialist path.

Reading Check


What benefits did the Treaty of Kanagawa grant the United States?

Resistance to the New Order

In the early 1600s, Japan was still ruled by shoguns, or supreme military dictators. Although emperors still lived in the ceremonial capital of Kyoto, the shoguns held the real power in Edo. Daimyo, or landholding warrior lords, helped the shoguns control Japan. In 1603, a new family, the Tokugawas, seized power. The Tokugawa shoguns reimposed centralized feudalism, closed Japan to foreigners, and forbade Japanese people to travel overseas. The nation’s only window on the world was through Nagasaki, where the Dutch were allowed very limited trade.

For more than 200 years, Japan developed in isolation. Internal commerce expanded, agricultural production grew, and bustling cities sprang up. However, these economic changes strained Japanese society. Many daimyo suffered financial hardship. They needed money in a commercial economy, but a daimyo’s wealth was in land rather than cash. Lesser samurai were unhappy, too, because they lacked the money to live as well as urban merchants.

Merchants in turn resented their place at the bottom of the social ladder. No matter how rich they were, they had no political power. Peasants, meanwhile, suffered under heavy taxes.

The government responded by trying to revive old ways, emphasizing farming over commerce and praising traditional values. These efforts had scant success. By the 1800s, shoguns were no longer strong leaders, and corruption was common. Discontent simmered throughout Japan.

While the shoguns faced troubles at home, disturbing news of the British victory over China in the Opium War and the way in which imperialists had forced China to sign unequal treaties reached Japan. Surely, Japanese officials reasoned, it would not be long before Western powers turned towards Japan.
External Pressure and Internal Revolt

The official’s fears were correct. In July 1853, a fleet of well-armed American ships commanded by Commodore Matthew Perry sailed into lower Tokyo Bay. Perry carried a letter from Millard Fillmore, the President of the United States. The letter demanded that Japan open its ports to diplomatic and commercial exchange.

In the Japanese woodblock print below, Japanese boats go out to meet one of Commodore Matthew Perry’s ships in Tokyo Bay. In response to Perry’s expedition, the Japanese statesman Lord li considered Japan’s strategy toward contact with foreign powers:

Primary Source

“There is a saying that when one is besieged in a castle, to raise the drawbridge is to imprison oneself. . . . Even though the Shogun’s ancestors set up seclusion laws, they left the Dutch and Chinese to act as a bridge. . . . Might this bridge not now be of advantage to us in handling foreign affairs, . . . providing us with the means whereby we may for a time avert the outbreak of hostilities and then, after some time has elapsed, gain a complete victory?”

The shogun’s advisors debated what to do. Japan did not have the ability to defend itself against the powerful United States Navy. In the Treaty of Kanagawa in 1854, the shogun agreed to open two Japanese ports to American ships, though not for trade.

The United States soon won trading and other rights, including extraterritoriality and low taxes on American imports. European nations demanded and won similar rights. Like the Chinese, the Japanese felt humiliated by the terms of these unequal treaties. Some bitterly criticized the shogun for not taking a strong stand against the foreigners.

Primary Source

In the Japanese woodblock print below, Japanese boats go out to meet one of Commodore Matthew Perry’s ships in Tokyo Bay. In response to Perry’s expedition, the Japanese statesman Lord li considered Japan’s strategy toward contact with foreign powers:

Primary Source

“There is a saying that when one is besieged in a castle, to raise the drawbridge is to imprison oneself. . . . Even though the Shogun’s ancestors set up seclusion laws, they left the Dutch and Chinese to act as a bridge. . . . Might this bridge not now be of advantage to us in handling foreign affairs, . . . providing us with the means whereby we may for a time avert the outbreak of hostilities and then, after some time has elapsed, gain a complete victory?”

Travelers Tale

Foreign pressure deepened the social and economic unrest. In 1867, discontented daimyo and samurai led a revolt that unseated the shogun and “restored” the 15-year-old emperor Mutsuhito to power. When he was crowned emperor, Mutsuhito took the name Meiji (may jee), which means “enlightened rule.” He moved from the old imperial capital in Kyoto to the shogun’s palace in Edo, which was renamed Tokyo, or “eastern capital.”

Reading Check


What events led to the collapse of the shogunate system in Japan?

The Meiji Restoration

Transformation of Japanese Politics

The Meiji reformers faced an enormous task. They were committed to replacing the rigid feudal order with a completely new political and social system and to building a modern industrial economy. Change did not come easily. In the end, however, Japan adapted foreign ideas with great speed and success.

A Modern Government

The reformers wanted to create a strong central government, equal to those of Western powers. After studying various European governments, they adapted the German model. In 1889, the emperor issued the Meiji constitution. It set forth the principle that all citizens were equal before the law. Like the German system, however, it gave the emperor autocratic, or absolute, power. A legislature, or Diet, was formed, made up of one elected house and one house appointed by the emperor. Additionally, voting rights were sharply limited.

Japan then established a Western-style bureaucracy with separate departments to supervise finance, the army, the navy, and education. To strengthen the military, it turned to Western technology and ended the special privilege of samurai. In the past, samurai alone were warriors. In modern Japan, as in the West, all men were subject to military service.

Meiji Economics

Meiji leaders made the economy a major priority. They encouraged Japan’s businesses to adopt Western methods. They set up a modern banking system, built railroads, improved ports, and organized a telegraph and postal system.

To get industries started, the government typically built factories and then sold them to wealthy business families who developed them further. With such support, business dynasties like the Kawasaki family soon ruled over industrial empires. These powerful banking and industrial families were known as zaibatsu (zy baht soo).

By the 1890s, industry was booming. With modern machines, silk manufacturing soared. Shipyards, copper and coal mining, and steel making also helped make Japan an industrial powerhouse. As in other industrial countries, the population grew rapidly, and many peasants flocked to the growing cities for work.

Building a Modern Social Structure

The constitution ended legal distinctions between classes, thus allowing more people to become involved in nation building. The government set up schools and a university. It hired Westerners to teach the new generation how to use modern technology.

Daily Life and Women's Rights

Despite the reforms, class distinctions survived in Japan as they did in the West. Also, although literacy increased and some women gained an education, women in general were still assigned a secondary role in society. The reform of the Japanese family system, and women’s position in it, became the topic of major debates in the 1870s. Although the government agreed to some increases in education for women, it dealt harshly with other attempts at change. After 1898, Japanese women were forbidden any political participation and legally were lumped together with minors.

Reading Check


How was Japan's government structured under the Meiji constitution?

Joining the Imperialist Nations

As in Western industrial nations, Japan’s economic needs fed its imperialist desires. As a small island nation, Japan lacked many basic resources that were essential for industrial growth. It depended on other countries to obtain raw materials. Spurred by this dependency and a strong ambition to equal the West, Japan sought to build an empire. With its modern army and navy, it maneuvered for power in East Asia.

Imperialist rivalries put the spotlight on Korea. Located at a crossroads of East Asia, the Korean peninsula was a focus of competition among Russia, China, and Japan. Korea had been a tributary state to China for many years. A tributary state is a state that is independent but acknowledges the supremacy of a stronger state. Although influenced by China, Korea had its own traditions and government. Korea had also shut its doors to foreigners. It did, however, maintain relations with China and sometimes with Japan.

The Japanese in Korea

In this illustration, Japanese soldiers march into Seoul, Korea’s capital city. Japan controlled Korea from 1905 until 1945.

By the 1800s, Korea faced pressure from outsiders. As Chinese power declined, Russia expanded into East Asia. Then, as Japan industrialized, it too eyed Korea. In 1876, Japan used its superior power to force Korea to open its ports to Japanese trade. Faced with similar demands from Western powers, the “Hermit Kingdom” had to accept unequal treaties.

As Japan extended its influence in Korea, it came into conflict with China. In 1894, competition between Japan and China in Korea led to the First Sino-Japanese War (“Sino” means “Chinese.”). Although China had greater resources, Japan had benefited from modernization. To the surprise of China and the West, Japan won easily. It used its victory to gain treaty ports in China and control over the island of Taiwan, thus joining the West in the race for empire.

Japan made Korea a protectorate. In 1910, it annexed Korea outright, absorbing the kingdom into the Japanese empire. Japan ruled Korea for 35 years. Like Western imperialists, the Japanese set out to modernize their newly acquired territory. They built factories, railroads, and communications systems. Development, however, generally benefited Japan. Under Japanese rule, Koreans produced more rice than ever before, but most of it went to Japan.

The Japanese were as unpopular in Korea as Western imperialists were elsewhere. They imposed harsh rule on their colony and deliberately set out to erase the Korean language and identity. Repression bred resentment. And resentment, in turn, nourished a Korean nationalist movement.

Nine years after annexation, a nonviolent protest against the Japanese began on March 1, 1919, and soon spread throughout Korea. The Japanese crushed the uprising and massacred many Koreans. The violence did not discourage people who worked to end Japanese rule. Instead, the March First Movement became a rallying symbol for Korean nationalists.

The Koreans would have to wait many years for freedom. Japan continued to expand in East Asia during the years that followed, seeking natural resources and territory. By the early 1900s, Japan was the strongest power in Asia.

Beginnings of Expansion

Japan modernized with amazing speed during the Meiji period. Its success was due to a number of causes. Japan had a strong sense of identity, partly because it had a homogeneous society—that is, its people shared a common culture and language. Economic growth during Tokugawa times had set Japan on the road to development. Japan also had experience in learning and adapting ideas from foreign nations, such as China.

The Japanese were determined to resist foreign rule. By the 1890s, Japan was strong enough to force Western powers to revise the unequal treaties. By then, it was already acquiring its own overseas empire.

War with Russia

Japan Rising

In this political cartoon, Japan is depicted marching over Korea on its way to Russia.

In 1904, Japan successfully challenged Russia, its other rival for power in Korea and Manchuria. During the Russo-Japanese War, Japan’s armies defeated Russian troops in Manchuria, and its navy destroyed almost an entire Russian fleet. For the first time in modern history, an Asian power humbled a European nation. In the 1905 Treaty of Portsmouth, Japan gained control of Korea as well as rights in parts of Manchuria.

U.S. Relations

Reading Check


Why did Japan turn itself into an imperialist power?

Culture in an Era of Transition

Reading Check


What effect did Japanese culture have on other nations?

Ch. 14 Resources

Take a virtual tour of the Forbidden City.

Fascinating facts about the Forbidden City.

Timeline of China's dynasties.

Timeline of Chinese dynasties.
Interactive time line of 20th century China

Examine samurai objects
Take a tour of the Japanese city of Edo

Interactive tour of Osaka Castle

Zoom in on a painting of the siege of the castle

Find out more about Hideyoshi.

Timeline of Japanese history
The Clash, performing their song, "The Magnificent Seven," live on the Tom Synder Show 1981; this is the first public performance of the song, 5:00.

"The Magnificent Seven" is a song and single by the English punk rock band The Clash. It was the third single from their fourth album Sandinista!. It reached number 34 on the UK singles chart.

The song was inspired by raps by old school hip hop acts from New York City, like the Sugarhill Gang and Grandmaster Flash & The Furious Five. Rap was still a new and emerging music genre at the time and the band, especially Mick Jones, was very impressed with it, so much so that Jones took to carrying a boombox around and got the nickname 'Whack Attack'. The song was recorded in April 1980 at Electric Lady Studios in New York City, built around a bass loop played by Norman Watt-Roy of the Blockheads. Joe Strummer wrote the words on the spot, a technique that was also used to create Sandinista!'s other rap track, "Lightning Strikes (Not Once But Twice)". "The Magnificent Seven" represents the first attempt by a rock band to write and perform original rap music, and one of the earliest examples of hip hop records with political and social content. It is the first major white rap record, predating the recording of Blondie's "Rapture" by six months.

The song is viewed as a critique of excessive consumption which includes a nod to the inexpensive goods produced in Asia.

Thematically, "The Magnificent Seven" is somewhat similar to the punkier "Career Opportunities", in that it takes the drudgery of the working life as its starting point. Unlike "Career Opportunities", however, in stream of consciousness fashion it also deals with consumerism, popular media, historical figures, and addresses these subjects with great exuberance and humor. The first verses of "The Magnificent Seven" follow a nameless worker (narrated in the second person) as he wakes up and goes to work, not for personal advancement but to buy his girlfriend consumer goods:

Working for a rise to better my station / Take my baby to sophistication / She's seen the ads, she thinks it's nice / Better work hard, I seen the price

The nameless worker then goes off for a cheeseburger lunch-break, and the lyrics devolve into a blur of fleeting images from television, movies and advertising:

Italian mobster shoots a lobster / Seafood restaurant gets out of hand / A car in the fridge or a fridge in the car? / Like cowboys do in TV land!

Finally, the song takes historical figures, including Karl Marx, Friedrich Engels, Martin Luther King, Mahatma Gandhi, Richard Nixon and Socrates, and places them in modern America, before asking sarcastically whether "Plato the Greek" or Rin Tin Tin is more famous to the masses.

An exclaimed "newsflash" near the end of the song, "Vacuum Cleaner Sucks Up Budgie!", was in fact a headline in the News of the World newspaper at the time of the song's mixing in England, according to Joe Strummer.

Gimme Honda, Gimme Sony
So cheap and real phony
Hong Kong dollars and Indian cents
English pounds and Eskimo pence. . . .
Karlo Marx and Friedrich Engels
Came to the checkout at the 7-11
Marx was skint - but he had sense
Engels lent him the necessary pence

What have we got? Yeh-o, magnificence!!

Luther King and Mahatma Gandhi
Went to the park to check on the game
But they was murdered by the other team
Who went on to win 50-nil
You can be true, you can be false
You be given the same reward
Socrates and Milhous Nixon
Both went the same way - through the kitchen
Plato the Greek or Rin Tin Tin
Who's more famous to the billion millions?
News Flash: Vacuum Cleaner Sucks Up Budgie
Lyrics reproduced here for educational purposes only; copyright remains in the hands of the copyright holder.

HW email to gmsmith@shanahan.org

1. Wednesday: p. 471, #4-6, 8-9.