Japanese relations with America in the Early 20th Century

1191 WordsNov 6, 20135 Pages
Japan’s Road to Identity In Peter Duus’ Japanese Discovery of America, the author shows the learning experience that Japan went through in order to become one of the strongest countries in the early 20th century. From 1797 when the first American ship arrived in Japan, to 1879 when President Grant visited the Meiji emperor, Japan, not one of the strongest countries economically and militarily at the time, had interactions with multiple countries that included Russia, England and Portugal. However, Japan’s Confucianism belief and the development of the Tokaido Road served as roots for their quick rise to modernization. Even though multiple countries were cooperating with Japan, the relations with the United States proved to be the most…show more content…
Women and those of lower classes in Japan would not get the opportunity to learn thus not helping out its country to the fullest potential. Americans also were taught more science and technology which created new findings in agriculture, transportation, and markets. Japan noticed that American citizens were very different than their own; no appointed social class meant that Americans had more spirits of freedom, independence, and self-reliance.6 In comparison to the Americans, those Japanese citizens who were in the upper classes received special treatments and at times were almost untouchable. In America, however, the president and the bourgeoisie could walk around with freedom and happiness, as there was no threat to them. Kume Kunitake notes that, “It is a place where those Europeans most endowed with the spirit of independence and self-government have gathered and are in control.”7 This free spirited attitude without the pressure from the elite showed the happiness and comfort of the citizens. This notion created a happy society within classes. Americans truly understood the notion that they were a self-made country and did not have a set of social beliefs that they were required to follow. Even though Japan was impressed by a lot of the values that Americans held, they believed that they were too different to hold similar cultures. In the 1870s, Japan realized that they wanted to reflect a military like
Open Document