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Japanese Imperialism 1894–1945$
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W. G. Beasley

Print publication date: 1991

Print ISBN-13: 9780198221685

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198221685.001.0001

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The Treaty Port System and Japan

The Treaty Port System and Japan

(p.14) 2 The Treaty Port System and Japan
Japanese Imperialism 1894–1945

W. G. Beasley

Oxford University Press

The most distinctive feature of Japanese imperialism is that it originated within the structure of informal empire which the West established in East Asia during the nineteenth century. In 1850, Japan was politically feudal and economically backward. This made it an easy prey for powerful intruders like Britain, Russia, and the United States, which imposed upon it the same kind of legal and commercial disabilities as had been devised to serve their needs in China. Japan was incorporated into the treaty port system. By 1860, it had thereby taken its first steps towards integration into the world economy. This circumstance was to be important to the development of Japanese imperialism in two ways. First, it conditioned Japanese responses and the international ambitions to which they gave rise. Treaty privilege in China became a Japanese definition of success. Second, it provided an ineluctable context for action.

Keywords:   Japanese imperialism, China, treaty privilege, maritime, Britain

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