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Modernization Of Japan And Its Effects On Traditional Performance Arts

581 words - 3 pages

With the gradual decline of the Tokugawa Shogunate and the restoration of the Imperial title, Japan began its second phase of foreign borrowing by entering ‘secondary civilization,’ or industrial society (Suzuki, 1995 p.773). Beginning in the late Tokugawa period, the power of the shogun and the damiyos progressively began diminishing under political pressure and the deteriorating financial condition of the nation. Dissatisfied with the conditions, the people began leaning towards the restoration of the nation as an Empire, which occurred in 1867-68 with the resignation of Tokugawa Yoshinobu (15th Tokugawa Shogun), marking the beginning of the Meiji Restoration. The transfer of power to the Emperor proceeded smoothly, indicating the beginning of Japan’s radical influence and changes from the west. At the beginning of the Meiji period, Japan was primarily an agricultural nation with a weak military and scarce technological development still largely traditional in nature. Power was transferred into the hands of noble samurai that had opposed Tokugawa rule, acting in the name of the Emperor. Japan had begun opening its trade routes with the outside world in the dying years of the Edo period (1853) with the arrival of Commodore Matthew Perry from the United States with his “Black Ships.” Over the following five years, Japan had signed a number of trade treaties with other western countries, opening their ports to foreign trade. “ …the penetration of a money economy and the commercialization of economic life led to the dissolution of the peasantry, the impoverishment of the feudal aristocracy, the rise of the merchant class and eventually to the establishment of capitalism” (Thornbury, 1993 p.114).
Having such treaties imposed on them, the Japanese saw it as an attempt from the west to imperialize the Asian continent. Beginning from...

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