MEIJI REFORM: GLOBALIZATION
For over two centuries, Japan was closed off to all foreigners, until in 1854 when American warships forced them to open their ports to international trade. In the beginning, Japan’s globalization and productivity infrastructure were weak compared to Western countries, but with time, this processes not only raised income, but also proved to be a dynamic force of change that produced countrywide and continuous social, economic and political growth (Aqueil).
In current historical study, the Edo period that preceded the Meiji, is viewed as a barbaric community that was separated from the entire world. Some of the transformations that happened during the Meiji Reform were improvements to existing communication and transport networks, increase in the level of productivity per person and the spread of education. These transformations led to the inevitable growth of commerce and international trade that greatly contributed to the globalization of Japan (Sujian and Guo).The objectives of the Meiji government in Japan that leapt into the international trade community were extraordinarily clear and precise. Moreover, the goals were shared by the whole nation, not only by the government, and also included the political opposition. Instantaneously after the opening of Japan’s ports to the rest of the world, the national precedence was security oriented, and defence of its borders became a number one priority, mainly to elude colonization and to protect their independence (Jürgen).
Conversely, as time went on the threat of being dominated by other countries lessened, the national goals shifted and took on the more head on approach to rank equal with the Western countries. This is captured by the phrase ‘fukoku kyohei’ meaning enriching the country, strengthening the military. Though to achieve this they had to find industrialization solutions (shokusan kougyou), expand international trade relations and establish a government with a constitution and parliament.In the early years of the Meiji reform, Japan is mostly still an agrarian economy dependent on fishing and farming; which contributed to over sixty percent of national productivity.
During this time, Japan’s main exports were raw silk, tea and fish. The main market for Japan’s exports was America; while Japan imported manufactured products from Great Britain in for of woollen fabrics and cotton yarn.With the steady growth of Japan’s industries, importation of textile products fell steadily to almost zero. Japan latter on begun to export cotton yarn manufactured locally to its neighbouring countries. The Meiji government contributed to Japan’s economic growth by sourcing foreign specialists to nurture and train Japanese specialists, invest in local industries such as railway line, mining, ship building and agriculture and encouraged invention and domestic productivity.
With all this activities taking place in Japan, there was a large number of Japan’s top candidates who ardently studied engineering and progressed into every branch of the industry and formed a rich pool for Japan’s industrialization processes (Sujian and Guo). Between World War I and II, Japan grew to be accepted as a member of the Five superpowers; Italy, France, Great Britain, and the USA and grew to be a …