The Preservation of Traditions with Regard to Modernity in China and Japan

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In the contemporary setting, modernity revolves around the numerous changes taking place at the community level. These transformations entail a change in the technological processes, elimination of traditions, education, and equality, among others. The exposure to modernity in China and Japan led to the establishment of different changes in the social and economic setting. The influence of the Western nations led to a change of values, beliefs, and practices in the respective nations. The influence of these nations attributed to the Unequal Treaties, which had detrimental effects on China and Japan. It hindered effective interactions with other global countries, especially in trade and business engagements. The introduction of the Unequal Treaties Regime presented adverse consequences such as humiliation for the nations. For example, Japan lost control of its tariffs, thus facing humiliation from other global nations (Christopher, 2009). However, modernity, as outlined by mechanization and modernization, created new and improved infrastructural systems which enabled social and economic processes. Changes such as beliefs and practices were supported by the shift from the traditional ways of doing things to a modernized approach. Influenced by the West, the development of nationalism due to modernity occurring in China and Japan was linked to both countries’ education, restoring national standing, and industrialization; and they approach these in different ways.

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The western political influence changed China during the nineteenth century. According to Mitter, the inception of the Opium Wars left the nation feeling unsafe to the outside world. China’s leadership during the early nineteenth century initiated a new perspective to modernity. The new perspective includes Military force and popular, which support paved the way for the development of the Chinese form of government during the nineteenth century. Even though Chiang Kaishek’s leadership during the time had significant challenges such as the use of forceful power, it has vital strengths overlooked by many. For example, Chiang’s government made a major step to advance the industrialization and infrastructural systems, which is a vital strength. The adjustments created a new opportunity to invest in economic segments, capable of delivering growth and development. Japan also adopted the same approach, where it imported the Chinese ways of thinking. It has transformed from a feudal state to an industrial empire. The development of industrial start-ups based in China initiated a new perspective linked to nationalism. It positioned itself as one of the global nations seek to develop itself through business and trade engagements. Notably, the improvement of the transport infrastructure build its image across the world where potential business persons and entities sought to do business with the nation. One of the other crucial issues which cannot be overlooked is the successful renegotiation between China and other nations. Mitter states that China renegotiated the ‘unequal treaties’ which had barred the relations between the nation and the imperial powers which had existed since the Opium Wars (Mitter, 2009).

Japan also found itself in the struggle against the Unequal Treaties Regime. The Western powers prohibited opium trade with the Japanese nation. According to Christopher, Japan lost control of its tariffs despite opening its borders to trade and commerce with the western nations. The nation was deemed as an unequal member of the international community and therefore liable to receive the treatment it did from the Western nations. The situation complicated its interaction and relationship with its trading partners, among other key business stakeholders. The treatment directed on the Japanese nation led to these humiliations. Unlike in the past, when Japan took pride in its affairs, the Unequal Treaties left the nation exploited by western nation/ losing its. For example, it lost control of its tariffs and deemed as an unequal member of the global community (Christopher, 2009). Thus, the role played by the Western nations in changing the status of global influences of the Chinese and Japanese communities cannot be underestimated. If people need to restore their national status and standing, it is vital to restore their national spirit (Sources of Chinese Tradition, n.d). Thus, the quest of modernity approach by China and Japan to advance their standing was linked to a desire to ensure their survival despite a fall of the states. The nations valued their status, but the inception of the Western influence as evidenced by the Unequal Treaties perspectives, created numerous challenges. Besides the opportunity to advance its industrial and infrastructural systems, the modernity approach affected respective values in one way or the other.

Unlike in the old times when the Chinese community relied on handcrafts, the introduction of imperialism changed different production processes. Chinese ways of thinking in the nineteenth century emerged from the influence of the West (Sources of Chinese Tradition, n.d). The Chinese people had been accustomed to practices such as the spinning of yarn by hand, especially in the cotton mills (Mitter, 2009). However, the development of mechanization processes led to the decline and rejection of traditional approaches. Notably, the weaving of high-quality handmade cotton clothes had been vital in the nation’s economy during the pre-war period (Mitter, 2009). Thus, the introduction of mechanization and imperialism changed the country’s long-held traditions and practices. The Nationalist vision for China viewed the nation as an industrialized state (Mitter, 2009). The industrialization and modernization processes supported the abandonment of traditional approaches (Mitter, 2009). The nation strived to eliminate the traditional folk customs and religious practices in efforts to develop a modern China (Mitter, 2009). Not only did modernity support the abandonment of old practices but also introduced a state of individualism. In the case of the Japanese community, the nation affirmed its traditions and values amidst the onslaught of the Westernization and modernization processes. Christopher states that no matter the situation and the changes taking place in Japan, the nation remained itself (Christopher, 2009). However, despite the need to ensure that Japan remained Japan, it transformed from a semi-feudal political state into a unified national polity. This ensured that the nation developed its national economy and its image across the international sphere. It slowly absorbed the Western technology, ideology and knowledge in efforts to define but also preserve elements which made them the ‘Japanese’ community (Christopher, 2009).

Establishment of the Confucian values such as propriety and righteousness highlighted an aspect of modernity in China. The locals shifted from the old ways of life to adopt a new perspective in life because of the western influence. Western influence also demanded that individuals should wear frugal but clean clothes (Mitter, 2009). Another aspect supported by the movement was the consumption of Chinese locally made products and abandonment of luxurious foreign products. The action was deemed as an individualistic behavior since it meant that the nation could no longer support products offered by other nations due to overreliance on their own.

In the case of Japanese community, Japan didn’t nationalism was supported by the development of a public debate linked to the meaning of patriotism and its relevance to the nation. It also changed the perception of the people about the state of their nation. According to Christopher (2009), Japan needs to claim its modernity for its own sake. It means that Japan portrayed a new and improved perception of its nation. The recognition that other nations, such as the U.S viewed their nation in great admiration and took pride in local processes ignited the attention of the Japanese. Americans have an ‘American dream’ and so should the Japans have a ‘Japanese dream.’ Thus, the call for enhanced cultural confidence and increased patriotism was supported by modernity.

The development of nationalism is linked to the influence of the West, especially during the nineteenth century. China and Japan assimilated particular values, beliefs, and practices emerging from the Western powers. Notably, the development of the industrialization and mechanization process initiated vital changes in practices and ways of life. The changes witnessed in segments such as the industrialization and infrastructural development adjusted different functions and processes. These nations also shifted from the old ways of doing things and adopted modern processes, which made life easier. For instance, mechanization led to newer and advanced ways of life meant to enhance the standards of living. Segments such as business and trade were greatly affected due to the emergence of particular policies. For example, the presence of the Unequal Treaties Regime complicated interaction between the two countries and other nations. Despite the efforts sought to ensure the two nations developed from the industrialization and the mechanization processes, the unequal regime barred the nations from engaging in trade and business. To a greater extent, nationalism is linked to a shift from feudalism to industrialization and mechanization, a change in beliefs and practices as well as abandonment of traditions to adopting new methods.

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