Essay: to What Extent Was Japan Modernized by 1920s?

1030 Words Dec 14th, 2011 5 Pages
Essay: To what extent was Japan modernized by 1920s?

Modernization is a process by which human beings progress in political, economic, social, intellectual and military aspects for the betterment of society as a whole. In the early 20th century, Japan achieved different levels of modernization in political, social, economic and cultural aspects. Although Japan still kept many traditional beliefs, it was the most modernized country in Asia at that time. Here, I will evaluate to what extent was Japan modernized by 1920s.

In political aspect, Japan copied the political system of the Western countries by gradually setting up its constitutional monarchy in the early 20th century. Under the Meiji Constitution, a cabinet headed by the Prime
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Therefore, the maintenance of autocratic tradition in political system was a disproof of modernization. To conclude, Japan was politically modernized by 1920s to a small extent.

In diplomatic aspect, Japan took part in the Eight-Power Expedition to fight against the Qing government. After that, Japan defeated Russia in the Russo-Japanese War. Japan also declared war on Germany and sent troops to occupy Shandong, a German sphere of influence in China. These caused damage to the relationship with other countries and unfavorable to modernization.

But, Japan tried to establish friendly relations with Western countries in order to achieve an equal status with them. For example, in 1902, it signed the Anglo-Japanese Alliance with Britain; in the First World War, it joined Britain, France and the US to fight against Germany; after the First World War, it attended the Paris Peace Conference in 1919 and the Washington Conference from 1921-1922; it even became a permanent member of the League of Nations. These helped Japan to improve its relationship with other countries. To conclude, Japan was diplomatically modernized by 1920s to a large extent.

In economic aspect, both light and heavy industries in Japan were well developed and this helped to speed up Japan’s industrialization. After the Sino-Japanese War and the Russo-Japanese War, Japan controlled Korea, Northeast China, Taiwan and Fujian. It gained many economic benefits from these places, and…

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