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triumph over Russia in 1904–5, Japan not only extended its empire
through acquisition of the Liaotung Peninsula and Korea (formally
annexed in 1910) but also vaulted into the ranks of the world powers.
Thus, within a half-century, the “Meiji miracle” of modernization—made
indubitable by the fine criterion of Japan’s proven capacity to beat other
major countries in war—had been spectacularly accomplished.
In the year Japan went to war with China, 1894, it also secured revision
(effective in 1899) of its unequal treaties with the Western nations,
thereby achieving a foreign policy goal that had become a national obsession. This achievement, along with Japan’s many other advances in
modern technology and the spectacular military victories that were soon
forthcoming over China, fostered a universal sense of pride among the
Japanese people. Despite the growing differences of opinion among intellectuals and government leaders (discussed in the last chapter) about
methods of modernization and the cultural values proper to it, the Japanese were still capable in the mid-1890s of a remarkable unanimity of
attitude toward national goals. No one, for example, vocally opposed the
Chinese war; on the contrary, virtually all Japanese who spoke out publicly extolled its glories. That candid old Westernizer, Fukuzawa Yukichi,
observed, for example, that one thing Westerners “[never] expected, thirty
or forty years ago, was the establishment of Japan’s imperial prestige in a 272 The Fruits of Modernity great war. . . . When I think of our marvelous fortune, I feel as though in
a dream and can only weep tears of joy.” And Tokutomi Sohò, carried
away with national pride, proclaimed, “Now we are no longer ashamed
to stand before the world as Japanese. . . . Before, we did not know ourselves, and the world did not yet know us. But now that we have tested
our strength, we know ourselves and we are known by the world. Moreover, we know we are known by the world.”1
Even the devout Christian Uchimura Kanzò called the war a righteous
undertaking. It seemed, indeed, to be...
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This note was uploaded on 02/08/2013 for the course ANTH 142 taught by Professor Hans during the Spring '13 term at UBC.
- Spring '13