A Century of Reform: Japan

时间:2015-01-13 单词数:3440

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A Century of Reform: Japan


One hundred and fifty years ago, forced by four American ships, the long self-fettered island country Japan chose to open to the outside world. This Oriental island country suffered from huge survival crisis and also ushered in opportunity for rejecting the old for the new.


Since then the outside pressure became the driving force of its internal reform. Fifteen years after that accident, on April 15, 1868, Meiji issued the” Charter Oath” which was a general guiding principle for promoting national reform and opening the political reform. Since then Japan stepped into a new age called Meiji Restoration.


The Japanese government sent the Iwakura Mission composed by top officials to Europe and America. Since then Japan has started industrialization of the country: Okubo Toshimichi promoted breeding industry and civilization through way of copinism and opened many state-run factories and supported the private enterprise greatly. Ito Hirobumi, Okubo Toshimichi’s successor, followed the outcry for free civil rights movement and made Japan’s first constitution which consolidated the outcome of the Meiji Reform. Yet the system of Japanese emperor which was written in the “Japanese Empire Constitution” brought some hidden trouble of the Japanese militarism. The explosion of atomic bomb ended Japan’s pipe dream for militarism.


After World War II, based on “Peaceful Constitution” and under the support of America, Japan’s economy quickly developed and by the year 1968, a hundred years after Meiji Reform, Japan became the third powerful economy in the world, only second to America and the form Soviet Union. Now Japan has surpassed Russia to become the second powerful economy in the world.


Once Japan sought to dominate its own destiny, then it sought to be the leading actor of the world stage. During this modernization process when this island country goes up and down like tides, there is one definite truth: faced with the Western world, you have to learn to surpass. This is also what we should learn from our neighbor Japan.