Japan: A Changing Society


Japan, as a nation, is a continually changing society. Ever since
western nations became involved with Japan, it's changes over recent times
have increased at a substantial rate. Japan now faces cultural, economical
and social differences as a result of the western involvement. The
involvement was initiated by the Japanese themselves, beginning during the
Meiji Period1 through current times. As time increases, Japan is slowly
becoming more 'westernized' because of western involvement. Western
involvement is greatly affecting Japan.

Western involvement began in Japan during the late 1800's. The Meiji
dynasty helped to carry it through, seeing the importance of western ideas.
"Learn all you can from the Europeans and Americans"2 was what Emperor
Meiji was saying to the Japanese in 1867. During this period, Japan agreed
to change it's hereditary authority and class barriers between its people.3
Japan also opened their ports during this period4 and sold fuel to other
countries such as the Us.5 The Japanese language took a major turn, too,
with the addition of borrowed words from all over the world.6 Japan
borrowed the American education system of elementary, middle school and
universities during this time.7 A new western style army and universal
military conscription program were soon set up by General Yamagata Autamo
as well.8 The Meiji period was an important part of Japan's changing
western ways. After World War II, Japan changed forever. With the Atomic
bomb physically destroying their cities, and their defeat destroying their
imperialistic mentalities, Japan was deeply wounded. Japan lost the
respect of the world during the war and few people felt sorry for them.
However, they were soon willing to accept the concepts and ideas from
abroad.9 The Us helped Japan and showed them many new things to help them
get on their feet again. We explained to them about the electric telegraph
and soon after we even connected them with California's telegraphs.10 Many
Japanese women started to wear western dresses or even sweaters and
slacks.11 Japan changed politically as well. Japan became divided up into
47 profectures, which are similar to American states. Japan has carried
over America's democratic ideas of social freedom, economic independence,
and democratic liberties and privileges Japan's government soon began the
executive, legislative, and judicial branches seen in America seen after
the war.13 These changes all became possible soon after the war with great
financial aid from the Us.14 Japan's progress in America's modernization
program was so fast, we had to begin recognizing Japan as a world power.15

After Japan's modernization program, Japanese life began to change
less dramatically, but never stopped. Within recent times, many
western-style appliances and such can be found in Japanese homes.16 The
Japanese schools, based on America's, teach the same things in grade school
as American schools.17 Many of the students are learning in these schools
to take English language courses to help them as they get older.18 Sports
today, are shaped similar to America's. Japan has carried over many sports
from America including frisbees, jogging, skateboarding19, and baseball.20
Baseball is among their favorites and was brought over by an American
teacher as far back as the late 1800s.21 Japanese baseball is made up of
the same components of American baseball as well. For example, leagues in
Tokyo are made up with leagues of 6 universities similar to our leagues.22
The Japanese have joined the Olympic game stream and now they are active
participants and were even hosts for the 1964 Games.23 Many clubs after
Japanese schools end were brought over from Western countries, too.24
Following the world trends, Japanese silk mills have turned largely to the
spinning of synthetic fiber textiles, which was started from the west, to
keep up with other countries in the silk trade.25 Many of the Japanese
people now wear and even make western style clothing everyday, except for
special occasions or relaxing at home.26 The family lives are even
becoming similar to Western ways as the children get more respect and the
members learn to voice their opinions in a household.27 Japan, with recent
developments, needs to trade with other nations and learn from them.28

Japan, with the growing western influence, is changing very rapidly.
Japan survived the initial shock of the western impact only to run into the
problems of the west today.29 Yet, Japan continues to try to overcome
these challenges by every passing day. Japan is a much different country
from the pre-1800s. Because of these changes, Japan has a different
cultural living currently, with the introduction of baseball to Japan and
other sports. Japan's economy has changed with the inclusion of American
money and products in trade. Finally, Japan's political ideas have changed
shape with our