Modernization Response

The 1900s are the most notable years in history for modernization of less-developed countries. While this is true, the beginning of modernization in Japan started in their Kaei years, described as the period from 1848-1854. This era opened Japan to the Western world, where influences of political, social, and economic nature started to encroach on the customs and traditions of old Japan. Yukichi equates this eastward cultural expansion to measles, with the culture of the western world having the possibility of disrupting “ancient manners and customs has changed little for the past hundreds and thousands of years” (Yukichi 131).

One of the reasons why Yukichi defends Japanese ideals so vehemently, setting aside his national pride, is because of Western civilizations grouping East Asian countries into one block of ideologies, not caring for the great history, and differences, between China, Korea, and Japan. Western society tries to push their technology and politics into a world that they have no place in, forcing these East Asian countries to feel that they need to adapt or be left behind. Yukichi argues that instead of trying to keep the same traditions and refuse the technology of the western world, Japan should remember their tradition and accept the new parts of the world into their lives so they can continue to progress without losing values that are important to them. He goes as far to say that “Rather, we should leave their ranks to join the camp of the civilized countries of the West,” (133) which he rationalizes as the best course of action for Japan to keep up with the Western world in leaps and bounds of technology.


Leave a Reply