Thesis: 19th Century Western Pressures on Japan

Sample Thesis Paper

Japanese leaders realized that in order to prevent the guns from pointing towards them and to expand their own territorial breadth, they needed to join the western powers so that they could demand for expansion in the Asian region (Jansen, 2002). However, it soon became evident to them that Japan was far behind in terms of military strength and had to develop its armies considerably.

Japan went on a rapid pace of military development but failed to build their strength to the level of western imperialist powers. As a result, tensions between Japan and western powers grew (Jansen, 2002). However, the Sino-Japanese war served as an encouragement to Japan but the encouragement was short lived since Japan was visited by fears of invasions by the very country’s it had attempted to stand next to. Another pressure from western powers upon Japan came in the form of the weak Chinese military and economy which would have collapsed if pitted against western powers, thereby leaving Japan all the more vulnerable. Movements such as Russia’s invasion of Port Arthur made Japan consider war all the more seriously and with increased anxiety. Japan’s sovereignty came under pressure as a result of the signing of unequal treaties with Holland, France, Russia and America (Jansen, 2002). Extra-territoriality threatened the Japanese legal system and the Washington Conference and the London Naval Conference put further pressure on Japan’s naval capabilities causing its military to weaken further.

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