Japan Critique 1 Why was Japan unwilling to open itself up to western traders?

Essay by aewilliamsonCollege, UndergraduateA-, September 2009

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Japan Opens to the WestWith the recent steroid craze in major league baseball, there has been an outcry by the Japanese baseball players. Many of them had been rejected by major league teams saying they couldn’t adjust to American style, now they want their chance. Baseball is one of the most influential aspects of the Japanese economy, it could be considered the most dominate gathering in Japan’s culture today. Had it not been for the early opening of Japan’s ports to America, baseball would never have gained the notoriety it has in present day Japan. Not just baseball, but looking all over Japan it’s hard not to see a foreign influence, whether it’s a Pepsi or a poster of David Beckham the island nation has foreign trends all over. While these foreign influences have greatly helped stimulate their economy, when these first foreigners came to Japan there was a great deal of controversy.

With capitalism spreading and each country fighting for colonies ; it was not a surprise that western interest soon passed on to Japan, “American Commodore Matthew Perry sailed into Edo Bay in 1853 and 1854; he forced the shogunate to end Japan's restrictions on contacts with Western countries”(Gordon 188). In 1854 the shogunate submitted to foreign demands and signed treaties that ended Japan's isolation. In 1858 the shogunate signed a commercial treaty with the United States, which opened six ports and guaranteed rights of trade and residence for Americans in Japan. When Tokugawa rule was defeated, it was the start of the Meiji Period named by Emperor Mutsuhito, meaning "Enlightened Government". The Meiji Restoration of Japan involved many contributing factors that led to a successful reform. These major reforms took place in areas such as political and judicial, military and education, and economic and industrial. They...