Essay Shanghai and Tokyo: The Birth of Modern Cities of the East

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Since the opening of treaty ports to foreign powers in the late 19th century, China and Japan have transformed themselves from being secluded countries to making an impressive claim in the world economy. Two of the biggest port cities were Japan’s Tokyo and China’s Shanghai. These two cities have followed a similar path of living the good life and facing devastating blows to their countries and their economies. Although their histories have found themselves pinned against one another, they have prevailed. Both China and Japan have been able to modernize from rural villages to mega metropolises that rival the cities of the West.
Shanghai can be considered a separate country from the rest of China in early 20th century, if not the Western
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The allure of the Sing Song House and opium parlors attracted many of China’s younger generation to leave home. Most of them came with dreams of trying to make it big in Shanghai while hoping they could make enough to send money back home as well. With the colonization of Western nations in Shanghai such as the International Settlement and French Concession, the real estate market soared, with buildings in Chinese and Western styles. Factories sprung up all over Shanghai mostly owned by the British, and Japanese, “in the 1920s and 1930s it had half of China’s modern industry.”(Ebrey, 431) With the death of a Chinese employee working for a Japanese factory on May 15, 1925, riots and protests began to run rampart. During this time the minds of the people of Shanghai turned against the Municipal Council creating even more tensions with foreigners especially the Japanese. The city of Shanghai is a place “where foreigners exercised their political and economic power and enjoyed special privileges, and as the places from which emanated modern, Western influences.”(Lu, 93) Students and factory workers alike were the main pushers for a change in China. Inspired by the late Sun Yatsen’s words, a nationalist sprit began to grow within Shanghai and move through China. “The movement also coincided with the beginning of the civil war in China, a war that eventually drew Japan into a full-scale invasion, and ended only with the ascension to power

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