Westernization in the 19th and 20th century

As we dwell on the multitude of different ideas and cultures of the start of the 20th centruy we notice a trend amongst most countries or regions. This trend is best categorized as a “dissatisfaction” of the political or cultural landscape of one’s country.  This is most prevalent in places such as Eastern Asia or South America during this period. Rio De Janeiro is indicative of this ideology through their attempts at westernization and incentivizing immigration to their country. They attempted to “westernize” their city through redesigning their infrastructure to emulate that of western Europe as well as incentivizing immigrants from the western world to come to Rio in an attempt to slowly make the dominant race in Rio one that was synonymous to the Western world.

Similarly, we see Eastern Asia attempt this as well in the form of “De-Asianization”. Japan during this era is another place that is indicative of the belief that countries had a dissatisfaction with their current landscape which they usually viewed as atavistic. They thought that “modern civilization was incompatible with the old customs of japan, and if we were to reject the old customs the government too would be abolished at the same time.” (Fukuzawa 130). This quote indicates that japan not only viewed their government as archaic but rather if they did not change this government soon the rest of the world would eventually triumph over them, ultimately leading to their demise.

All in all, countries did not attempt to emulate the western world out of superficiality or out of certain subjective beliefs. they wholeheartedly viewed the western world as the pioneer in a new era that they felt they needed to become a part of in order to survive. They felt threatened by the advancements and felt the need for urgent change otherwise they would lose their own freedoms which they valued more than anything.

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