Comparing and Contrasting China with Japan to 1911

Comparing and Contrasting China with Japan to 1911

Industrialization was an important part of economic success in China and Japan. “China had an Open Door trading policy while Japan was considered a Closed Country. (Duiker – 53, 58) During the Qing dynasty, China was beginning to undergo major economic and social changes that might have led, in due time, to the emergence of an industrialized society. (Duiker – 49) As in early modern Europe, the industrial revolution in Japan was built on the strong backs of the long suffering peasantry.” (Duiker – 61)

“During the early modern period in China, a change that took place was the steady growth of manufacturing and commerce. Trade and manufacturing had existed in China since early times, but they had been limited by a number of factors. Those factors included social prejudice, official restrictions, and state monopolies on mining and on the production of such commodities as alcohol and salt. Now, taking advantage of the long era of peace and prosperity, merchants and manufacturers began to expand their operations beyond their immediate provinces. Trade in silk, metal and wood products, porcelain, cotton goods, and cash crops such as cotton and tobacco developed rapidly, and commercial networks began to operate on a regional and sometimes even a national basis.” (Duiker – 49)

“With its budget needs secured, the government in Japan turned to the promotion of industry. A small but growing industrial economy had already existed under the Tokugawa. By 1700, Japan was one of the most urbanized societies in the world. Japan’s industrial sector received a massive stimulus from the Meiji Restoration. The government provided financial subsidies to needy industries, imported foreign advisers, improved transport and communications, and established a universal system of education emphasizing applied science. In contrast to China, Japan was able to achieve results with minimum reliance on foreign capital. Foreign currency holders came largely from tea and silk which were exported in significant quantities during the latter half of the nineteenth century.” (Duiker – 60, 61)

“During the late Meiji era, Japan’s industrial sector began to grow. Besides tea and silk, other key industries were weaponry, shipbuilding, and sake. From the start, the distinctive feature of the Meiji model was the intimate relationship between government and private business in terms of operations and regulations. Once an individual enterprise or industry was on its feet (or sometimes, when it had ceased to make a profit), it was turned over entirely to private ownership. Although the government often continued to play some role even after its direct involvement in management was terminated.” (Duiker – 61)

China had more trading products than Japan did. China and Japan both traded silk. China did more trading to different nations due to the Open Door policy. (Duiker – 53) While Japan’s territory was small, lacking in resources, and densely populated, and they had no natural outlet for expansion. (Duiker – 61) China did better than Japan in industrial and economic areas.

The status and treatment of women was a significant part of society in China and Japan. European dominance affected the personal rights of women, the status of women in the community, and employment opportunities available to women.

In China, women were treated as property. “During the mid – Qing era, women were still expected to remain in the home. Their status as useless sex objects was painfully symbolized by the practice of foot binding. By the mid nineteenth century, more than half of all adult women probably had bound feet. To provide the best possible marriage for their daughters, upper class families began to perform foot binding during the Song dynasty. Eventually, the practice spread to all social classes in China. Although small feet were supposed to be denote a woman of leisure, most Chinese women with bound feet were in the labor force, working mainly in textiles and handicrafts to supplement the family income.” (Duiker – 57)

“During the second half of the nineteenth century, women had employment opportunities. These opportunities were established in Shanghai in the 1890s, and offered in the cotton mills and in the silk industry. Some women were active in dissident activities – the Taiping Rebellion, the Boxer movement, and the 1911 revolution. “ (Duiker – 57)

In Japan, the treatment of women was similar to China but different techniques were used. “The Meiji reforms also had an impact on the role of women in Japan. In the traditional era, women were constrained by the three obediences imposed on their gender: child to father, wife to husband, and widow to son. Husbands could easily obtain a divorce, but wives could not. Marriages were arranged, and the average age of marriage for females was 16 years. Females did not share inheritance rights with males, and few received any education outside the family.” (Duiker – 61)

“By the end of the nineteenth century, women were beginning to play a crucial role in their nation’s effort to modernize. Urged by their parents to augment the family income as well as by the government to fulfill their patriotic duty, young girls were sent en masse to work in textile mills. From 1894 to 1912, women represented 60 percent of the Japanese labor force. Thanks to them, by 1914, Japan was the world’s leading exporter of silk and dominated cotton manufacturing. If it had not been for the export revenues earned from textile exports, Japan might not have been able to develop its heavy industry and military prowess without an infusion of foreign capital.” (Duiker – 61)