At the beginning of the twentieth century various Western countries were competing for influence and trade on this territory, as Japan strived to be a modern great power2.
Traditionally, Japan had been the only Asian country to escape colonization from the West, it had traditionally sought to avoid foreign intrusion, though Russia, France, and England tried, but with little success. The first significant crack in Japan's trade and travel barriers was forced by the United States in an effort to guarantee and strengthen its shipping interests in the Far East. Japan's guns and ships were no match for those of Commodore Perry in his two U.S. naval expeditions to Japan (1853, 1854). Thus, the United States forcibly opened Japan to the outside world3.
The Japanese, well aware of the implications of foreign penetration through observing what was happening to China, tried to limit Western trade to two ports. In 1858, however, Japan agreed to a full commercial treaty with the United States, followed by similar treaties with the Low Countries, Russia, France, and Britain. These unequal treaties (in the judgment of the Japanese government) granted foreigners in Japan extraterritoriality in legal cases and which imposed on Japan low tariff rates for which the imperialist countries did not grant corresponding concessions in their rates.
At the same tim ...