The West Thought Of China And Japan

1110 Words Dec 15th, 2014 5 Pages
During 19th century, westerners had an ‘Orientalism’ mind about the Eastern countries. The word ‘Orientalism’ was used first in the book Orientalism by Edward W. Said in 1979. Its original meaning was an exoticism of the East appearing in European (Western) culture and art. Today, however, it is used to imply the distortion and bias of the West towards the East, justifying supremacy and domination of the West to the East. During that time, the West and the East (especially China and Japan) had contacted each other and their attitudes towards the West were similar in some ways but different in others. In my essay, I will discuss how the West thought of China and Japan with the concept of Orientalism and their purpose of stepping toward the eastern countries. Also, I will talk about how Japan and China acted differently to the West and how this relationship has changed later on.
Ever since the mediaeval period, Europeans had a belief that China was an empire of mythical characteristics. They considered China as so-called Far East. At first, they praised various traits of China such as the language, education and the political system. However, in the middle of 18th century, these circumstances changed drastically both in Europe and China. Some enlightened Europeans said that China lacked modernity and evolution, remaining in a dead culture like Egyptian hieroglyphics. These viewpoints resonated, and the work of most European intellectuals such as Adam Smith and Marx adhered…

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