Essay about Western Influence in China and Japan

Words: 1667
Pages: 7

China and Japan are two unique civilizations that went through similar, yet vastly different changes throughout their histories. Their growth and response to other nations differed in many ways in government, lifestyle, and general well-being. One of the main causes for such difference between the countries is the way the West influenced each region, and the way China and Japan responded to this influence. China focused more on the idea of being a "status oriented" society, while Japan was more "goal oriented" based. In China, anyone had the ability to better themselves and change their status through civil examinations given by the government. Western impact however slowly changed this old age system. Japan's caste system viewed …show more content…
So I could never take out my feelings in ill treatment of my inferiors to avenge myself for the abuse I received – I was of low rank, but there were many men lower than myself" (Fukuzawa 179). This feeling of mutual respect that he embodies was learned from his father. Even though he was often subjected to difficult and unpleasant experiences, he showed no sign of disrespect. Fukuzawa continues to explain his view by saying "I never made a show of my rank in my mingling with any persons, even with the merchants of the town or the farmers outside. Of course there was no use in trying to resist the proud aristocrats even if I wanted to" (Fukuzawa 180). While he may be a unique case of showing equivalence to others, he must have not been the only one. Fukuzawa expresses his opinion that other ranks and people were just as important as he was to the well-being of Japan. Chinese elite lifestyles focused primarily on education and achieving more knowledge. Chiang describes his choices during a young age to follow a path of schooling and acquiring more education about Western and Chinese ideas. His "own decision was finally to acquire more learning in preparation for the civil examinations" and even though "my early schooling, [was] distasteful to me, [it] had instilled into my mind somewhat vaguely the importance of learning above everything else" (Chiang 40). Chiang understood early on that learning and education was key to success for the