Japan’s relatively small size, homogeneous population and centralised government allowed it to modernise quickly. By the late 1800s it had become the strongest of the Asian countries. This had a large Impact upon Japanese society and Its position In the Asian region. Japan managed to adopt modern ways whilst also being able to keep Its unique culture and traditions. Modernisation In religion, education, the military, economics, and polltlcs had a signiflcant effect on society in Japan and its position in the Asian region.
To egin with, education in Japan was modernised during the Meiji period to help adopt Western technology and philosophies, but at the same time preserve Japanese culture and traditions. To ensure the success of the modernisation process, it was realised that a universal system of education was necessary. Compulsory primary education was introduced in 1879, but it wasn’t until 1910 that universal education was achieved. This led toJapan being the first literate nation in Asia.
The first textbooks in Japan were translations from American and French textbooks before education official started writing textbooks themselves. Even though Western culture was appearing In Japanese schools, they still kept Japanese Ideologies and customs. Education was Important In bringing the Japanese the secrets of Western power and technology, but Japans cultural heritage and the worship of the Emperor was still significant and taught in all schools. Additionally, the leaders during the Meiji Restoration encouraged people to adopt a more modern lifestyle which lead to Japanese society to become more westernised.
They did this because they recognised that the Western nations were more powerful than Asian nations and believed this was because of certain aspects of Western culture. They also thought that becoming more western would make Western nations respect Japan and not take over the country. Japanese people then started to wear western clothing, cut their hair like westerners, and take up western habits such as smoking, drinking wine, and listening to western music.
They also began to eat meat, which was previously forbidden in Buddhism, and other western foods using cutlery rather than chopsticks. In the cltles the Japanese people were quick to accept these new ways as were the young generations whereas people living in the country and older generations were more reluctant. This modernisation of Japanese lifestyle had a large impact on Japanese society and culture. Furthermore, Japans rapid modernisation due to its small size, centralised government and homogenous population led it to become the strongest Asian nation by the late 1800s.
Japans saw that all the large western powers had empires and so, wanting to become a stronger nation, began to desire an empire for itself. Japan also lacked many natural resources, and its industrial growth had a demand for raw goods and food for its urban workers. Thus Japans foreign policy became increasingly aggressive. Japan’s first show of strength was the Sino-Japanese War, where Japan being more modern than Its enemy, China, became victorious.
Modernisation helped Japan gain respect and power over Its fellow Aslan nations. In conclusion, modernlsatlon had a major Impact on Japanese society and Its posltlon In the Asian region. Modernisation in education led Japan to become to first literate also keep their traditions and culture. The modernisation and westernisation of the Japanese lifestyle shaped Japanese society and helped the country become more modern. Its rapid modernisation led Japan to become the strongest Asian nation and helped Japans industrial growth.