DMPQ-Write an essay on the rise of modern Japan.

Japan was the only country to remain outside colonial clutches. Japanese military generals called  ‘shoguns’ ruled Japan for more than 200 years and emperor was mere figurehead. Japanese  society was almost feudal and it was largely disconnected from the wider world.

Japan awakened to the modern development in middle  of 19th century only when its very independence was  threatened. Within a few decades, it not only warded  off that threat, but even became a force to be reckon  with. In 1853, Commodore Perry led a fleet to Japan  and threatened it with an ultimatum. Japan had to open  two of its ports for US ships as a result via a treaty and  similar treaties were signed with the other countries as  well.

In 1868, the rule of Shoguns was ended and a new set  of rulers and advisers arrived on scene who ruled in the  name of emperor whose authority was restored in  theory. This event is termed as ‘Meiji Restoration’. Meiji is the title that new emperor took.  Within 4 decades after it, Japan transformed itself. Unlike European industrialisation which was driven by capitalism and private enterprise, it was totally backed by state. The Meiji regime, which assumed power in Japan in 1868, believed that Japan needed to industrialise in order to resist Western domination. So it initiated a series of measures to help industrialisation. Postal services, telegraph, railways, steam powered shipping were developed. The most advanced  technology from the West was imported and adapted to the needs of Japan. Foreign experts  were brought to train Japanese professionals. Industrialists were provided with generous loans  for investment by banks set up the government. Large industries were first started by the  government and then sold off at cheap rates to business families. In Japan the fear of foreign  conquest spurred industrialisation. But this also meant that the Japanese industrial  development from the beginning was linked to military needs.

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