The making of modern Japan: US-Japanese relations since the Meiji Restoration

Seares, Blake Alexander (2014) The making of modern Japan: US-Japanese relations since the Meiji Restoration. BA dissertation, University of Portsmouth.

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    This dissertation will explore the complex history of Japan through its relations with the United States of America which has greatly impacted and influenced modern Japan. Starting from the 1800s, this piece follows US regionalism of the Monroe Doctrine and the forced opening of Japan to trade after over two-hundred years of isolationism. The Meiji Restoration in 1868 set Japan on a course of rapid industrialisation, facilitated by increasing militarism and nationalism. The US feared Russian influence on Japan, while Japan’s powerful military and navy threatened US interests in China. Moving on to the events of World War II, this work examines the reasoning for the attack on Pearl Harbor, how Japan sought to end the war but would not surrender and why the use of nuclear weapons on Japan was perceived as necessary by the US. The US Occupation of Japan allowed the US to remodel Japan in their image, fitting with American ideas of manifest destiny while the threat of the USSR influenced the US’s restructuring of the Japanese economy. Japan played a vital part in US foreign policy during the Cold War, acting as a barrier to communism and a base from which to show the strength of free-market capitalism in contrast to communism which was dominant on the east-Asian mainland. In the present day, without the Cold War to justify a continued American presence, Japan is seeking to move away from US protection. Japan is now home to one of the world’s most powerful modern economies. The aim of this dissertation is to show how the US has affected Japan, resulting in the capitalist country we know today, and how the two nations have influenced each other over the last two centuries.

    Item Type: Dissertation
    Departments/Research Groups: Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences > School of Languages and Area Studies
    Depositing User: Beth Atkins
    Date Deposited: 16 Sep 2014 13:57
    Last Modified: 28 Jan 2015 12:40

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