Japan from 1200-present

Tokugawa Shogunate: 1600 - 1868

  • Before Tokugawa Shogunate, Japan was largely feudal
    • Shogun ruled entire realm, local daimyo ruled small provinces
  • In 1600, Tokugawa Ieyasu established the Tokugawa Shogunate
    • Consolidated central power, had rigid social classes, imposed policy of isolationism from Western influences
  • Japan was very strict in isolationism
    • Portuguese came to Japan & brought Christianity and guns in mid 1500s

    • Jesuits also controlled Nagasaki & traded there

    • Shogun didn't want daimyo to become too powerful with guns → Imposed isolationism

    • National Seclusion Policy (1635) prevented Japanese from traveling abroad, except to some nearby nations

    • Portuguese failed to established relationships with Tokugawa shogun

    • Only Dutch had some trading concessions at Nagasaki

    • Japanese wanted to preserve their culture

    • Japanese also persecuted & later banned Christians


Meiji Restoration

In 1853, Commodore Matthew Perry (US navy officer) arrived in Edo with a gunboat to gain trading concessions from Japan

Upon seeing the gunboat, Japanese realized they were lacking behind in technology

In 1868, Tokugawa shogun abdicated, gave throne to Mutsuhito (Meiji). He reformed society, promoted industrialization, imposed constitutional government, removed tariffs. encouraged students to study abroad

Japanese Imperialism Before World War 1

Meiji wanted to get rid of unequal treaties. Conquered many islands near Japan

Defeated Chinese in Sino-Japanese War (1894-1895). Won Korea, Taiwan, & other Chinese lands. Forced China to sign unequal treaties

Defeated Russia in the Russo-Japanese War (1904-1905). Won other territories including Manchuria, making Japan an imperial power

Japan in World War 1

Japan wanted to remove German ships from East Asian waters. Japan also wanted to annex German-controlled Jiaozhou peninsula

Germany refused to comply

Japan declared war on Germany, joined Allies in August 1914. Took over German-controlled islands in Pacific

Japanese Imperialism in Interwar Period

Japan Enhances its Importance

  • Japan became a major imperial power & signed treaties to improve relations with other nations
    • Joined League of Nations as one of the "big five" powers
    • Signed Kellogg-Briand Pact (1928), an international agreement to renounce war
    • Signed treaties with other East Asian nations
  • Japan's munitions industry boomed during WW1 but fell during Great Depression
  • Many workers protested & led strikes, eventually murdering Prime Minister Inukai Tsuyoshi
  • Easily retook Manchuria in 1931 from China due to internal Chinese problems

Japanese Conquest of Manchuria & Mukden Incident (1931)

Japanese led conquest of Manchuria in 1931. Named it Manchukuo. Bombed part of Manchurian railway near Mukden

Japanese blamed China for railway bombing, pretext for war with China

Jiang Jeishi (leader of Guomindang) opposed the Japanese agression in Manchuria

Japan refused to comply & left the League of Nations (1933)

League of Nations told Japan to stop

Jeishi told League of Nations to tell Japan to stop conquering Manchuria

Japan in World War 2

Japanese Aggression in China

  • After conquering Manchuria in 1931, Japan attacked China in 1937
    • Bombed Shanghai (1937)
    • Attacked Nanjing, raped thousands of women in Nanjing (Rape of Nanjing)
    • Killed hundreds of thousands of civilians in Nanjing
  • Japanese aggression led to Chinese nationalism to defeat the Japanese
    • Guomindang and Communists partially united to fight Japanese
    • Conflicts between Guomindang & Communists prevented complete resistance to Japanese
    • Communists eventually prevailed & appealed to peasants
  • Japanese signed more agreements with nations
    • Signed Tripartite pact with Germany & Italy in 1940, all 3 nations were Fascist (known as Axis powers)
    • Signed neutrality pact with USSR in 1941 to prevent them from invading Manchuria

Japanese Entry into War & Pearl Harbor Attack (1941)

German military victories inspired Japan

Japan conquered many places in Southeast Asia, including French Indochina

US imposed oil embargo on Japan to protect the French. Germany, Britain, Dutch supported embargo

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US allied with Britain & USSR (Allies powers) against Germany, Italy, & Japan (Axis powers)

Germany & Italy responded by declaring war on US

Japan renounced tripartite pact (with Germany & Italy) and attacked Pearl Harbor in US (1941)

More Japanese Victories in WW2 & Its Surrender

  • Japan took over Malaya, Singapore, Borneo, Dutch East Indies, Burma, Philippines, & other Pacific islands
    • Defeat of British-owned Singapore was bad as it was one of most prosperous cities in Southeast Asia
    • Japanese conquered these regions with slogan "Asia for Asians," trying to remove European influence from Southeast Asia
    • Actually, Japanese were conquering these lands themselves instead of giving independence
    • Put these lands into Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere

In 1945, as the US dropped two atomic bombs in Japan, & USSR declared war on Japan, Japan was forced to surrender

How Japan Exploited its Conquered People

  • Japan often exploited the resources of the nations it conquered
    • Captured Prisoners of War (POWs) & slaves
    • Japan had 10 million slaves
    • Japan had comfort women that'd serve as prostitutes of soldiers
  • Death rate among the slaves was really high
    • Japanese conducted unethical medical experiments on these slaves
    • Often amputated them, tested them against chemical weapons, gave them surgeries, etc.
  • Resistance was really common
    • Some people burned munitions storages, destroyed transportation infrastructure
    • In Japan, any act against the state was treason