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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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Modernization and Imperialism

Modernization and Imperialism

(p.27) 3 Modernization and Imperialism
Japanese Imperialism 1894–1945

W. G. Beasley

Oxford University Press

Japan, following China, took on a trading role as primary producer, relying on Europe and America for manufactures. This did not last. Whereas China's place in the world economy was to remain essentially unchanged into the middle of the twentieth century, Japan's was being revolutionized by a programme of modernization even before 1900. Japanese modernization was not exclusively the product of Western imperialism by any means. For 300 years before the opening of the ports, Japan had been developing a form of commercial capitalism that bequeathed to the modern economy an essential groundwork of attitudes and expertise. During the same period, the feudal polity had become more centralized. Modernization was a link between the treaty port system and the emergence of Japan's own imperialism. More specifically, the manner of it had the effect of shaping certain ideas, institutions, and interest groups, which were necessary to expansion.

Keywords:   Japan, Western imperialism, commercial capitalism, feudal polity, port system

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