Modernization in late Qing China (1861-1910) and Meiji Japan (1868-1912)

by Wong, Chin-kiu

Abstract (Summary)
(Uncorrected OCR) Abstract

Both China and Japan went through the threats of Western penetration and suffered

from unequal treaties in the post-l 860s period. Both had launched a series of reforms

in face of this enormous challenge. The similar stimuli that aroused the two countries

to launch reforms, the geographical proximity of the two countries, the time span that

the two countries started their modernization process, made them an appropriate

subject of the study of modernization.

Modernization outside of Europe and North America is the interplay of indigenous

and foreign culture. It is a process that influences every aspect of life in a country. The

progress of modernization depends on how successful a country is in merging the two

elements together. As a result certain features of the indigenous culture and the

preconditions before the absorption of foreign culture would have fundamental

impacts on the path of modernization.

In Chapter One of this paper I shall examine the platform for modernization in Meiji

Japan and late Qing China. We shall see how the different settings for modernization

influence the pattern of modernization. In Chapter Two, we shall have a brief outline

of the reform movements in Meiji Japan and late Qing China. In Chapter Three, Four,

and Five we shall discuss the economic, military and constitutional modernization

programmes in Meiji Japan and late Qing China respectively.

The modernization programmes that we shall discuss will illustrate the degree to

which the pre-conditions of a culture influence its process of incorporating foreign

elements. In Meiji Japan, the modernization programmes followed a transfer of power,

with a new band of officials who took charge of the country's reforms. There was an

energetic atmosphere for them to explore new goals. In late Qing China, a

government of more than two hundred years old was pursuing reforms to save itself

from collapse. There was a lack of vigor, yet the traditional establishment was too

strong for foreign elements to penetrate. The contrastive political framework, together

with other indigenous features, shaped the modernization patterns of the two


Bibliographical Information:


School:The University of Hong Kong

School Location:China - Hong Kong SAR

Source Type:Master's Thesis

Keywords:china politics and government 19th century economic conditions 1644 1912 history military qing dynasty japan 1868 1918 meiji period


Date of Publication:01/01/2003

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