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The Meiji Restoration Modernization or Westernization - Essay Example

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The Meiji Restoration Modernization or Westernization

For the sake of a common starting point, a definition will be supplied here - one that will be developed as the paper continues. The terms, first of all, are not synonymous. In examining a number of discussions on the subject, however, it appears that some do not have a developed view of the two terms - thus resulting in general confusion - and, for them, there will be no clearer understanding than what they have, until such a clarification is made.
In short, McNeil defines it as change, one that is "incessant," and a "self-transformation," one that is based upon a constant influx of ideas - that came from within. The change is both technological, and ideological. This change, in the Western world, had no model from which to pattern its changes - there was no external force prompting it.
Modernization, on the other hand, may not be as complete as was Westernization - which was a complete and, as of yet, an unending transformation. It is merely going from a more historically stagnant position (whether it be caused by lack of resources, technology, education, political theory - or all four), to a position that is more in line with levels of other cultures surrounding them - not necessarily Western cultures.
When a nation awakens, and finds itself in the proverbial Dark Ages, unequal to, and incompatible with cultures outside their own, then there is often an awakening of the heart of that nation to possess what others have - for advantage, and sometimes out of fear. Westerners often have the opinion that, because we (the West) are among the most modern nations on earth, that any modernization is necessarily a Westernization. Because of our often outspoken voices, other nations, not as technologically advanced, often parrot that view, too. They are, however, separable upon closer examination.
Now comes time to bring in the historical transformation of Japan, which came immediately following the arrival of Commodore Perry, in what is called the Meiji Movement. In this examination of a particular historical event, it will be seen that the two, at the end, at least, are separable.
The Meiji Movement
In this examination of the historical Meiji Movement, a rather extensive explanation of
the events, and how thorough it was needs to be given. It will be done through mentioning four conditions of pre-Meiji Japan, and then by showing five changes made during the Emporer's reign.
1. Japan Was Isolated
Japan, prior to the arrival of Co ...Show more


The debate over Westernization and modernization will go on and on - probably never coming to a satisfactory end. Part of that problem seems to stem from the fact that there often is not a common definition of the two terms given before the matter is "intelligently" discussed…
Author : creminkellie
The Meiji Restoration Modernization or Westernization essay example
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