Section one- introduction
Section two- summary
The reunification of Japan occurred under the leadership three daimyo that followed each other. These daimyo include Tokugawa Shogunate (1542-1616), Tokuwaga Hideyoshi (1536-1598), and Oda Nabunaga that existed between 1543 to 1582. The daimyo Tokugawa Ieyasu established Tokugawa Shogunate that ruled Japan for more than two hundred years. In its effort to establish order in the international relation, Tokugawa Shogunate prohibited trade between Japan and western nations. It also controlled Japanese from conducting trade with other nations during this period. As a result, the unofficial trade and piracy along the China coast came to an end during the rule of Tokugawa Shogunate. The move also reaffirmed the relationship between Japan on one side with Korea and China on the other side. The leadership signed the “Act of seclusion” in 1636, which secluded Japan from Western Europe for a period of about 200 years. The act only allowed the Dutch a small portion of Nagasaki harbor, and there was no more exchange with the Western Europe. The act also enabled Japan to retain its trade with the countries of the eastern Asia such as china and Korea. The exchange of ideas and goods with these countries continued, and political order was also reinforced with these East Asian countries.
According to the authors, Japan was driven by the desire to gain status and power in the international hierarchy, and to challenge European supremacy that was reigning by then. This urge drove Japan to acquire colonies in order to get raw materials for its emerging industries, and to have living space for its growing population (Ebrey and Walthall 385). During the second industrial revolution, there was tremendous growth in the Japan’s economy though it was not evenly distributed among its citizens. The revolution led to the emergency of modern factories, huge conglomerates, and middle class workers and business owners (Ebrey and Walthall 396). This was followed by economic depression that occurred after the Second World War. This period in Japanese history was marked with a strict social order, economic growth, good forest management policies, isolationist foreign policies, and widespread use of arts and culture. Oligarchs thought they could control the government as well as businesses through bureaucracy, but it was not the case because politicians choose to work more independently. Intellectuals also started to discuss the necessity of representative government, while radicals advocated socialism. They also went to an extent of preaching about communism. The educated women began to raise the issues of women, while demonstrations for workers, tenant farmers, outcasts, and the minority groups increased (Ebrey and Walthall 388). They demanded government to intervene in order to improve their standards of living. In 1923, the great Kanto earthquake occurred that destroyed the old Tokyo to give way to the building of a new city and culture.
Section Three- Analysis and Interpretation
The document is very significant in explaining the history of Japan. The reader is able to understand important events that occurred in the history of Japan such as the great Kanto earthquake and industrial revolution that played an important role in shaping East Asian history. As a reader, I have gained crucial insight in regards to Japan’s history especially for the period between 1900 and 1931. For instance, I understood some forces that acted to pressurize the government to open democratic space. In my opinion, the document is very interesting and convincing, not only to audiences, but also to other readers.
Ebrey, Patricia and Walthall, Anne. East Asia: A cultural, social political history. Boston: Wadsworth, Cengage Learning, 2014.