A Comparative Analysis of the Differences between Chinese and Japanese Modernization in the Mid-Late Ninetheenth Century, with Particular Regard to the Idea of 'Rich Nation, Strong Army'.
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree NameMaster of Arts
This thesis aims to search for the whys and wherefores of success and failure in Japan's 'catching up' and China's 'slowing down' on the path to modernization / Westernization from the mid-nineteenth century to approximately the end of the first decade of the twentieth century. First, in the introduction (Chapter One) I state what is the aim of the thesis; the definition of 'modernization'; literature review; methodology; outline of the thesis; and problems and limitations. Chronologically, I divide the period into four phases for detailed discussion: legacies, formative, operative, and consequent. In 'the legacies' (Chapter Two), it is shown that elements of the legacies such as territorial integrity, population, and political, military, economic and social circumstances in Tokugawa Japan were relatively more conducive to modernization along Western lines than those in Ch'ing China. In the formative phase (Chapter Three), it is shown that the central government and regional provincial leaders in Ch'ing China knew little and did almost nothing to respond to the menace of the West. By contrast, the Tokugawa Shogunate and more particularly regional daimyō and samurai had a deep sense of crisis and early on launched a series of reforms. In the operative phase (Chapter Four), it will be seen that both nations pursued a national goal of 'rich nation and strong army'. However, the Self-Strengthening Movement in Ch'ing China merely undertook a superficial reform primarily limited to military innovation and introduction of Western industrialization in order to maintain the old dynastic stability. By contrast, in Meiji Japan, under the post-Restoration leadership of an oligarchy of talented and visionary individuals, the government launched a full range of reforms in pursuit of the West. In the consequent phase (Chapter Five), even though China had by now a better comprehension of the West and continued some reforms, its path to modernization was still frustrated because of the ineffective imperial leadership, and the ethnic antipathy and power struggling between the Manchus and the Han officers. In contrast with China, Japan's modernization had shown continuity, integrity, and accumulation and acceleration and it had successfully achieved the national goal of 'rich nation and strong army' by this stage. In Chapter Six, I reveal several famous scholars' comments on this issue of comparative modernisation. As well, I humbly set forth a set of criteria to consider what might be the best principles and model for a nation undertaking modernization. A conclusion reviews the thesis and it arguments in Chapter Seven, and is followed by a series of appendices and illustrations and bibliography.