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Industrialization in other countries: Japan

Industrialization in other countries: Japan

Tokugawa Shogunate Era

  • Japan was a feudal state which was in seclusion with Emperor just as a figurehead and real power lying with Shogun, who was originally the chief officer of Emperor but had managed to monopolise the power.
  • Under the shogunate, bureaucracy worked with semi-feudal alliances between regional daimyos (powerful feudal lords) and samurai (warrior class).
  • Japanese intellectual and cultural life continued to expand under the Shogunate.
    • Neo-Confucianism kept its hold among the elite at the expense of Buddhism.
    • Variety among Confucian schools prevented the intellectual sterility common in China.
    • Education expanded beyond the upper classes and led to the highest literacy rate outside of the West.
    • Even though Confucianism was dominant, there were many intellectual rivals. Some groups pursued an interest in Western scientific progress.
  • The Japanese economy continued to develop as internal commerce expanded and manufacturing spread into the countryside.
  • By the 1850s, economic growth was slowing as technological limitations hindered agricultural growth and population increased. Rural riots reflected peasant distress and helped to weaken the shogunate.

The years 1853-1894 witnessed the transformation of Japan

  • Opening of Japan to Western exploitation:
    • Japan had wrapped herself in rigid seclusion but in 1853, her veil was opened by the USA when US Navy appeared in Japanese waters to demonstrate strength, demanding protection for American sailors and allowing American ships to put into Japanese ports.
    • Japan was forced accept the treaty to throw open two ports to Americans.
    • By 1867, almost all European nations concluded treaties with Japan by which they secured commercial rights, open ports, extra-territorial rights and control over tariff.
    • The shogunate bureaucrats had yielded to Western naval superiority.
  • Restoration of Meiji Emperor (1868):
    • The opening up of Japan by foreigners gave rise to anti-foreign movement which soon developed into agitation to abolish the Shogunate, who was blamed for allowing foreigners.
    • The shogunate had depended on the policy of isolation and proved unable to withstand the stresses caused by foreign intervention.
    • Many of the feudal lords with strong anti-foreigner sentiments demanded that actual power of the state be restored to the Emperor.
    • In 1867 Shogunate was abolished and the imperial authority was restored, thus started Meiji era (with the proclamation of rule by Emperor Mutsuhito, called Meiji) which will lead to the Japanese Westernization and Industrialization began completely.

Why Japan and not China?

  • Japan and China, despite both being part of the same civilization orbit, responded very differently to Western pressures.
    • Both nations had chosen isolation from outside influences from about 1600 to the middle of the nineteenth century, and thus fell behind the West.
    • China had the capability to react to the challenge, but did not act.
    • Japan, with knowledge of the benefits of imitation, acted differently.
  • Japan’s limited population pressure, in contrast to Chinese population growth, also assisted its response.
  • In political affairs China, by the middle of the nineteenth century, was suffering a dynastic crisis; Japan maintained political and economic vigor.
  • Japan had early advantage due to the achievements of Tokugawa Japan (1600-1868) during a long period of “closed country”:
    • A high level of urbanization;
    • well developed road networks;
    • the channeling of river water flow with embankments and the extensive elaboration of irrigation ditches that encouraged the refinement of rice cultivation based upon improving seed varieties, fertilizers and planting methods;
    • the development of proto-industrial (craft) production by merchant houses in the major cities like Osaka and Edo (now called Tokyo) and its diffusion to rural areas after 1700; and
    • the promotion of education and population control among both the military elite (the samurai) and the well-to-do peasantry in the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries.
  • Readiness to emulate the West:
    • As a result of above mentioned domestic advances, Japan was well positioned to take up the Western challenge.
    • Japan harnessed its infrastructure, its high level of literacy, and its proto-industrial distribution networks to the task of emulating Western organizational forms and Western techniques in energy production, first and foremost enlisting energy sources like coal and the other fossil fuels to generate steam power.
  • Japan’s response to outside pressure was more direct and successful than that of China. The Japanese adapted to the challenge of industrial change and internal market reform. Many institutions had to be altered and much societal change resulted.

Industrialisation during Meiji Era

  • Twin Policies:
    • After the Tokugawa government collapsed in 1868, a new Meiji government committed to the twin policies of wealthy country and strong military.
    • It took up the challenge of renegotiating its treaties with the Western powers.
    • It created infrastructure that facilitated industrialization.
    • It built a modern navy and army that could keep the Western powers at bay and establish a protective buffer zone in North East Asia that eventually formed the basis for a burgeoning Japanese empire in Asia and the Pacific.
  • Internal reconstruction of Japan (helped in industrialisation of Japan):
    • Centralization of authority:
      • The abolition of the Shogunate paved the way for centralization of authority which was the first need of the state.
      • Next step was the abolition of feudalism.
    • Abolition of feudalism:
      • The feudal lords voluntarily surrendered to the Emperor their fief and became in the eyes of the law ordinary subjects.
      • The old warrior class Samurai also gave up their class privileges.
      • In one stroke, feudalism was abolished which gave the way for the organization of the state on a national basis.
      • The bureaucracy was reorganized, expanded, and opened to those taking civil service examinations.
      • A change so sudden and inspired by such unselfish patriotism is rare in history.
    • The new centralized administration expanded state power to carry out economic and social change.
    • National army:
      • With the end of feudalism, fighting ceased to be privilege of the warrior class, the Samurai.
      • This was substituted with national army which recruited from all section of society.
    • Social changes:
      • As a result of nationalisation of army, an important social change took place.
      • The old distinction between warrior class (Samurai) and the commoners disappeared and everyone became equal in the eyes of the law.
      • Many Samurai sought opportunities in commerce and politics.
  • Westernisation and industrialisation of Japan:
    • Imitation of West:
      • Japan studied the affairs of Western Europe and adopted Western institutions, economy and technology.
      • Officials were sent to Europe and the United States to study their economies, technologies, and political systems.
      • In 1871, a group of Japanese politicians known as the Iwakura Mission toured Europe and the USA to learn western ways.
      • The result was a deliberate state-led industrialization policy to enable Japan to quickly catch up.
    • New constitution:
      • A new constitution was framed on Prussian model with Emperor as head of State and a representative assembly with two houses.
      • This avoided excess of democracy yet encouraged talent of every class for the service of nation.
    • New code of law:
      • New legal codes based on France and Prussia was built.
      • Objectionable features of old laws like use of torture was abolished.
      • Japan hoped that new codes would help in knocking out extra-territoriality
    • Army and Navy:
      • The army was nationalized, reorganized on Prussian lines, equipped with modern weapon and compulsory military service introduced.
      • Steps were taken to build navy on British lines.
      • Industries based on defence was established.
    • Industrialisation (mainly State led):
      • Diffusion of best-practice agriculture:
        • The abolition of feudal fiefs and consolidation under a strong national government that virtually monopolized taxation authority, gave a strong push to the diffusion of best practice agricultural technique.
        • The nationwide diffusion of seed varieties spearheaded a substantial improvement in agricultural productivity.
        • Simultaneously, expansion of agriculture (using traditional Japanese technology) and manufacturing (using imported Western technology) resulted.
      • Modern industry first appeared in textiles, including cotton and especially silk, which was based in home workshops in rural areas.
      • Government initiative dominated manufacturing because of lack of capital and unfamiliar technology.
        • A ministry of industry was created in 1870 to establish overall economic policy and operate certain industries.
        • Model factories were created to provide industrial experience, and an expanded education system offered technical training.
      • Private enterprise was involved in the growing economy, especially in textiles.
        • The merchants in Osaka, the merchant capital of Japan, already well versed in proto-industrial production, turned to harnessing steam and coal, investing heavily in integrated spinning and weaving steam-driven textile mills during the 1880s.
      • Progress of education:
        • Government inaugurated a new Western-based education system for all young people, sent thousands of students to the United States and Europe, and hired more than 3,000 Westerners to teach modern science, mathematics, technology, and foreign languages in Japan.
        • Compulsory elementary education was introduced for both boys and girls.
        • Universities and technical schools on Western lines were founded under state supervision and emphasis was led on vocational education.
        • Foreign teachers were invited and English was made compulsory in schools.
        • Ministry of Education:
          • The freshly formed Ministry of Education promoted compulsory primary schooling for the masses and elite university education aimed at deepening engineering and scientific knowledge.
      • Bank of Japan:
        • New banks were established to fund trade and provide investment capital.
        • The Ministry of Finance created the Bank of Japan in 1882, laying the foundations for a private banking system backed up a lender of last resort.
        • The Bank of Japan used taxes to fund model steel and textile factories.
      • Transportation:
        • The government built railroads and improved roads.
        • Railways and steam vessels improved national communications.
        • The government began building a steam railroad trunk line girding the four major islands, encouraging private companies to participate in the project.
        • The national government committed itself to constructing a line connecting the Tokyo/Yokohama region to the Osaka/Kobe conurbation along the Pacific coastline of the main island of Honshu.
        • Government created deepwater harbors at Yokohama and Kobe that could accommodate deep-hulled steamships.
      • Other progress:
        • In an amazingly short time, Japan equipped herself with railways, telegraphs, postal facilities, steamship.
        • Mines were developed and new industries involving machinery and large scale production were introduced.
        • The currency was reformed, banking sector developed and international commerce increased several folds.
        • Many old restrictions on commerce, such as guilds and internal tariffs, were removed.
        • Land reform cleared the way for individual ownership and stimulated production.
        • Social reform led to the entrepreneurs coming from all social ranks.
      • Balanced growth:
        • Growth at the close of the nineteenth century was balanced in the sense that:
          • traditional and modern technology using sectors grew at roughly equal rates, and
          • labor — especially young girls recruited out of farm households to labor in the steam using textile mills — flowed back and forth between rural and urban Japan at wages that were roughly equal in industrial and agricultural pursuits.
    • By 1890s, Japan practically completed the transition period of her history which had started from 1853.
      • Japan was transformed from a backward feudal state to a modern state.
      • Huge industrial combines had been formed and Japan was fully engaged in an industrial revolution.
      • But Japan before World War I was still behind the West. It depended on Western imports—of equipment and coal –and on world economic conditions. Successful exports required inexpensive labor so labor organization efforts were repressed.

Japan’s industrial growth during World Wars

  • Rapid growth and structural change characterized Japan’s two periods of economic development since 1868.
  • In the first period, the economy grew only moderately at first and relied heavily on traditional agriculture to finance modern industrial infrastructure.
    • When the Russo-Japanese War began in 1904, 65% of employment and 38% of the gross domestic product (GDP) was still based on agriculture but modern industry had begun to expand substantially.
  • During World War I and 1920’s:
    • During World War I, Japan used the absence of the war-torn European competitors on the world market to advance its economy, generating a trade surplus for the first time.
    • By the late 1920’s, manufacturing and mining contributed 23% of GDP, compared with 21% for agriculture. Transportation and communications had developed to sustain heavy industrial development.
  • In 1930s:
    • In the 1930’s, the Japanese economy suffered less from the Great Depression than most industrialized nations, expanding at the rapid rate of 5% of GDP per year.
    • Manufacturing and mining came to account for more than 30% of GDP, more than twice the value for the agricultural sector.
    • Most industrial growth, however, was geared toward expanding the nation’s military power.
    • Before World War II, Japan built an extensive empire that included Taiwan, Korea, Manchuria, and parts of northern China.
      • The Japanese regarded this sphere of influence as a political and economic necessity, preventing foreign states from strangling Japan by blocking its access to raw materials and crucial sea-lanes, as Japan possessed very few natural and mining resources of its own, although it imported large amounts of coal from Korea, Manchukuo, and some regions of occupied China.
      • Japan’s large military force was regarded as essential to the empire’s defense.
  • During the World War II:
    • Beginning in 1937 with significant land seizures in China, and to a greater extent after 1941, when annexations and invasions across Southeast Asia and the Pacific created the Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere, the Japanese government sought to acquire and develop critical natural resources in order to secure economic independence.
      • Among the natural resources Japan seized and developed were: coal in China, sugarcane in the Philippines, petroleum from the Dutch East Indies and Burma, and tin and bauxite from the Dutch East Indies and Malaya.
      • During the early stages of Japan’s expansion, the Japanese economy expanded considerably.
        • Steel production rose from 6.4 million tonnes to 8.8 million tonnes over the same time period.
        • In 1941 Japanese aircraft industries had the capacity to manufacture 10,000 aircraft per year.
        • Much of this economic expansion benefited the “zaibatsu”, large industrial conglomerates.
    • Over the course of the Pacific War, the economies of Japan and its occupied territories all suffered severely.
      • Inflation was rampant; Japanese heavy industry, forced to devote nearly all its production to meeting military needs, was unable to meet the commercial requirements of Japan (which had previously relied on trade with Western countries for their manufactured goods).
      • Local industries were unable to produce at high enough levels to avoid severe shortfalls.
      • Furthermore, maritime trade, upon which the Empire depended greatly, was sharply curtailed by damage to the Japanese merchant fleet over the course of the war.
    • By the end of the war, what remained of the Japanese Empire was wracked by shortages, inflation, and currency devaluation.
      • Transport was nearly impossible, and industrial production in Japan’s shattered cities ground to a halt.
      • The destruction wrought by the war eventually brought the Japanese economy to a virtual standstill.

Effects of Japanese Industrial Revolution

  • Social and Cultural Effects of Industrialization:
    • Industrialization went along with a massive population increase that supplied cheap labor but strained resources and stability.
    • In the cultural sphere, the government introduced a universal education system stressing science, technology, and loyalty to the nation.
      • The scientific approach enhanced the earlier secular bent of elite culture.
      • Western fashions in dress and personal care were adopted, along with the calendar and metric system. Christianity, however, gained few converts.
    • In family life, the birth rate dropped as population growth forced movement from the land and factory labor made children less useful.
      • Family instability showed in a high divorce rate.
      • The traditional view of the inferiority of women in the household continued; formality of manners and diet were maintained.
    • Shintoism (The ancient indigenous religion of Japan; characterized by a veneration of nature spirits and of ancestors) found new believers.
  • International Impact of Industrialization:
    • The changes in Japan’s economic power influenced foreign policy.
    • By the 1890s, Japan joined the imperialist nations. The change provided nationalist stimulation for the populace.
    • Japan’s need for raw materials helped pressure expansion. China and Japan fought over Korea in 1894-1895; Japan’s quick victory demonstrated the presence of a new Asian power.
    • A 1902 alliance with Britain made it an equal partner in the great power diplomatic system.
    • Rivalry with Russia brought war in 1904 and another Japanese victory. Korea was annexed in 1910.
    • The rise of Japan changed the world diplomatic picture by the early twentieth century. Japan was not yet a major world power, but Westerners thought about a “Yellow Peril” as they watched its new strength.
  • The Strain of Modernization:
    • Japanese success had its costs, among them poor living standards in crowded cities and arguments between generations over Westernization.
    • The emergence of political parties caused disputes with the emperor and his ministers, leading to frequent elections and political assassinations.
    • Many intellectuals worried about the loss of identity in a changing world; others were concerned at lack of economic opportunities for the enlarged educated class. To counter the malaise, officials urged loyalty to the emperor as a center of national identity.
    • Japanese nationalism built on traditions of superiority and cohesion, deference to rulers, and the tensions from change. Its strength was a main factor in preventing the revolutions occurring in other industrializing nations. No other nation outside the West matched Japan’s achievements.
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