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By Farisah Arafeen. The Attitudes of China and Japan to Reform and Change During the Period 1861 to 1894. Thesis.
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By Farisah Arafeen The Attitudes of China and Japan to Reform and Change During the Period 1861 to 1894
Thesis • The comparisons and contrasts between China and Japan's attitude towards reform and economic, social and political change through the Self-strengthening Movement and The Meiji Restoration between 1864 to 1891.
Comparisons • The Self-strengthening Movement in China and the Meiji Restoration in Japan aim was to improve the economical, social and political conditions. • The Self-strengthening Movement in China and the Meiji Restoration in Japan both aimed to improve military and education. • In Japan, the Meiji Restoration in 1868 had produced rapid changes in terms of industrial growth. And the Self-strengthening Movement also allowed the development of industries in China.
Comparisons • China and Japan both began to adopt Western arms and machines. So, the Chinese and Japanese militarily were equipped with modern arms and battleships. Japan even had people from the West to train the military to use certain weapons. • The Self-strengthening Movement and Meiji Restoration opened up China and Japan to the West and ended their isolation. • Socially and economically, there was a strong Western influence in both China and Japan. Socially, people began to eat more meat and vegetables such as cabbage and onions due to the preference for these items amongst Westerners which they previously did not eat.
Comparisons • Education was given more importance by both China and Japan. • Women were given the right to education. • People began to learn English. • With the Meiji Restoration, the class system was less stricter as the people in the higher class could now wear clothes made from cotton rather than wearing silk all the time. Likewise, in China, people began wearing different material clothes.
Contrasts • The Self-strengthening Movement in China and the Meiji Restoration in Japan aim was to improve the economical, social and political conditions but in China the movement accomplished very less and in Japan it was able to industrialize and become a powerful nation. • People were more hesitant to accept change in China than they were in Japan. Empress Cixi herself was not in complete favor of the movement.
The people in Japan supported the reform actively. However, in China, many officials and the Empress Cixi resisted the carry out of the self-strengthening movement. • Because of the disapproval of self-strengthening movement of Empress Cixi, the neutral officials did not support the movement actively. • In terms of improving the military, although both China and Japan adopted foreign weapons, Japan gave more importance to their navy and aimed at making it similar to the British navy.
Contrasts • The class system was officially abolished in Japan and diplomatic relations with other countries were established. Whereas, in China the people still were not over the class system completely for example, women still had their feet binded in order to differentiate between the classes.
Summary • The comparisons and contrasts between China and Japan's attitude towards reform and economic, social and political change through the Self-strengthening Movement and The Meiji Restoration between 1864 to 1891 is that, both movements allowed changes in the countries as the military was improved, navy was trained better and taught to use foreign weapons in Japan, the class system in Japan was abolished, in China and Japan industrialization began to grow and more importantly, both countries were no longer isolated from the rest of the world, they were now open to the world especially the West. • The Self-strengthening Movement was not a success compared to the Meiji Restoration in Japan because, the Self-strengthening Movement was not completely supported by the Empress Cixi herself and the Sino-Japanese War of 1894-95 revealed the unsuccessful movement whereas, for Japan the Meiji Restoration proved to be successful as people were willing to accept change and those that did not such as the Daimyo at the beginning were taken care of as with their debts payed off, and lands given to them for supervision. So, in the First Sino-Japanese War Japan won as they were industrialized more compared to China and also equipped better because of their successful reforms prior to the war.