Modernity of Japan

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Over two centuries ago, against the backdrop of an exceptional social and peace order, Japan's turbulent fluctuations were apparent. The time period known as the Tokugawa period, which was called for the military emperors of Japan, lasted from 1600 to 1868. The Tokugawa system was strengthened by stringent regulations and laws limiting social and geographic mobility. However, it was true that the Tokugawa era's growing cries for reform as well as shifts in the socioeconomic and cultural realms contributed significantly to the speed and scope of the Meji regime's modernization efforts. The essay will go into detail on the variations in Japan. The Japanese society just like all other societies has experienced many changes over the course of history. Western influence can be argued as being responsible for the changes that took place in Japanese culture and way of life especially during the twentieth century as well as in the rest of the world. There was an initial fear in regards to a westernized society, but the change still took place. The changes experienced in Japan were primarily because of industrialization whereby it saw a difference in their economy and population as they experienced an increase 55 million by 1920 from 35 million in 1872. The various groups of Japan's society went through change due to economic growth.

Changes in Mass Culture

How have changes in mass culture reflected political, economic, and social change across the twentieth century. Despite the initial excitement of this period, the changes in mass culture resulted in many hardships for the individuals who did not come from the social elite. The lives of men and women were completely different as well as the lives of those in cities and rural areas. There was a very significant difference between urban Japan and rural Japan resulting in young men, women, industrial working class, and the rural population expressing their anger which led to protests erupting. These changes brought out a reflection of a struggling working class who were trying to keep up with this idea modernity mainly because of the lack of money and the government's attitudes at the time (Gordon 157). The changes of mass culture reflected social changes of a troubled society most probably because of the problems concerning landlords. Each part of Japan was experiencing modernity but life during this period was easy. But from the 1970s Japan became a paradise of homogeneity because the social division and produce of false stereotypes began to decline. The gap that was between those with higher and primary education also diminished.

Political Changes

The mass culture in regards to political change reflected a more politically unified and strong national identity of people in Japan something that was not in their premodern era. It brought about a modernized monarchy that which was a significant break from what was in the past. There was also an import of political ideas and institutions which made substantial contributions towards the achievements of classical Japanese civilization in the eras of Heian and Nara. It also brought out political changes that value Buddhism and Confucianism (Gordon 203). Several Buddhist temples went ahead to build up complexes for private armies and sought for political influence.

Economic Development

The political regime that was in power during this period was durable and was allowed considerable change to take place over time. An unprecedented peace was established in the Islands of Japan, and the economy grew substantially (Gordon 142). The development of cities had a significant impact on the economics of Japan. The first effect was that infrastructure of transportation and communications was established and maintained for the supplying of material goods and the parading of the daimyo. The modern industry had an economic power, the social ability of educated citizens together with western nation-states provoked an interest in the people which resulted in a robust motivation of a shopping spree in the Western institutions owned mall (Gordon 73).

Part B

Changes in Japan after the U.S occupation According to David Pilling in his book 'Bending Adversity,' he elaborated that Japan cut itself off immediately the U.S occupied the place. Pilling pointed out that during the Paris peace conference that happened in 1919, Japan pressed for the racial equality to be part of the League of Nation (Pilling 148). Japan also refused to face up to its war record with the aim of re-establishing the order since the U.S had already restored the power of the emperor immediately after the occupation. There was also active censorship that was imposed to keep the discussion of Nagasaki and Hiroshima to the minimal. The significance of these changes was that Japan lost its ground relatively because of the population dropped and prices deceased immediately it cut itself after the occupation. However, the GDP per capita was adjusted and made Japan better than other places. In this reflection, the absolute terms made Japan enjoy very low crimes, high living standards, and a low employment rate (Pilling 244).

Continuity in the Pre-1945 and Post-1945

The existence of continuity in the pre-1945and post-1945. After the political rule that elected the politicians that formed the cabinets, the members began taking control of the Taisho era (Gordon 161). The dramatic change also brought the continuity as well because all prominent advocates of the Meja parliament era and the supporters of the bureaucracy and military were vociferous imperial loyalists. In support of the empire, there was equality in vociferous loyalist. In pre-war Japan, the supporters of the more democratic political order had the belief that the loyalty to the pursuit of empire, the monarch, and the widespread participation was mutually compatible because of reinforcement (Gordon 161).


The death of the emperor also revealed other essential continuities that took place in the imperial establishment in Japan. During the declining months in Japan, the newspapers printed reports concerning the bodily traumas and emperor's vital signs which highlighted the pulse and temperatures of the incidents when people were vomiting blood, during transfusion and rectal bleeding. Despite the cover-up of cancer, there was a strange invasive public spectacle concerning death particularly of the monarchy whose thoughts, physical conditions and private acts were hidden from the views of life (Gordon 310). The significance of the continuity was that the development of Japan since 1945 had a more unique process of the indigenous change than the reforms of the occupation era. The importance of continuity as observed that took place denied the persistent of Japan's social and political features in the twentieth century. This included the relations among the groups, the enduring authority of the fundamental institution and the patterns of behavior and thought that shaped and animated the relations in Japan (Gordon 310).


Japan, as elaborated in the essay, is a country that underwent various changes and challenges before becoming what it is. As observed, the nation itself suffered through current changes when the occupation of the United States. The changes in mass culture reflection are seen when the political regime that was in power during this period was durable and was allowed considerable change to take place over time. In this case, an unprecedented peace was established in the Islands of Japan, and the economy grew substantially. The essay has therefore supported the thesis by elaborating the modern changes in Japan.

Works Cited

Gordon, Andrew. A modern history of Japan: from Tokugawa times to the present. Oxford University Press, 2014. pp 150-314

Pilling, David. Bending adversity: Japan and the art of survival. Penguin Books, 2015. pp 148-250.

April 13, 2023

World History Culture



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