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History Of Korea China And Japan

1744 words - 7 pages

Throughout the 19th century into the 20th century, the west started to have an increasingly great influence on the other parts of the world. Asia, in particular, was faced with the decision of whether to adopt and conform to the western ways or to reject and stick with their traditional ways of life. In the end, Asia adapted to ways of the western “devils”, but most of their efforts seemed unsuccessful while others were quite successful. The main countries that experienced the western influence were China, Korea and Japan. Although all three countries experienced their share of internal and external strife, China and Korea’s modernization efforts were, in comparison to Japan, unsuccessful. ...view middle of the document...

These two events display the beginning of western imperialism within China. The British basically overwhelmed the Chinese with their military power and was able to take control of the country.
Because of these defeats, along with domestic uprisings such as the Taiping Rebellion (1850-1864), China had recognized the need to strengthen itself as whole. With this realization, scholars began to study western practices, language, and science. This effort to implement western technology in China is known as the Self-Strengthening Movement. From 1861 to 1894, scholars became responsible for establishing modern institutions, developing basic industries, communication improvements, transportation, and modernizing the military. Although these improvements seemed to be important, China failed to recognize the importance of political importance and social theories that had propelled western civilization to its heights. This essentially led to the downfall of the movement. It seems that modernization within this period would prove to be difficult in that China was still deeply Neo Confucian and was dealing with internal conflicts and encroachments. Conflicts such as disapproval from the conservative leaders, Tianjin Massacre, the Sino-French war, and the increased influence of Empress Dowager Cixi all contributed to the failure of China’s modernization during this period.
Another factor that deterred China from achieving modernization was the Hundred Days Reform. The events from this reform period from 1895 to 1900 also affected the modernization goal. In June of 1898, Emperor Guangxu launched a sweeping reform. The progressive leaders of the period wanted to modernize agriculture, medicine, mining, and practical studies, but the conservative leaders, especially Empress Dowager Cixi, were strict on anti-foreignisms. Conservative leaders rejected the reforms because they believed that foreigners were behind the reforms and wanted to expel all foreign people out of China. In the end, a coup led by Empress Dowager Cixi and Yuan Shikai put an end to the reforms, and sparked revolutionary forces within China to rise up. Because of the anti-foreign sentiments that were prevalent with the conservatives, China was unable to reform and adapt to the western imperialism and ways.
Korea also saw their share of internal strife during the 19th and 20th centuries. During the early 19th century, Korea suffered from the monopolized political power of the royal in-laws, government corruption and riots and rebellions from the discontent of the spread of Catholicism. When King Kojong rose to power in the mid 19th century, he attempted to bring about conservative reforms to the country. He reduced corruption, achieved budget surplus, closed private academies, rebuilt the royal palace, sought to import new military technology, and persecuted native and foreign Catholics. Although in the late 19th century Korea successfully adopted useful western practices while retaining...

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