The Rise of Militarism Was Caused by Internal Factors Essay

The Rise of Militarism Was Caused by Internal Factors Essay.

For long, Japan was under the emperor system and it tried to shifted into democratic politics. But during 1930s, it was the beginning of militarism as the militarist took power of the state, there were several factors causing it. To a certain extent, I agree to the statement that’ the rise of militarism was caused by internal factor. Firstly, internally, in political aspect, the long military tradition was one of the reason of the rise of Japanese militarism.

Before Emperor Meiji regained the political power in 1868, Japan had been ruled by Towugawa Shogunate, for several centuries, the shogun have imposed military rule.

Moreover, under Meiji Constitution, the military still enjoyed superior status. They had direct access to the emperor and were not controlled by the parliament (Diet). The education reforms emphasis on the thoughts of obedience and loyalty. Thus, it helped the rise of militarism and long military tradition was a internal factor causing it.

Secondly, internally, in political aspect, the weakness of the democratic government was one of the factor cause the rise of militarism in Japan.

From 1918 to 1932, the Taisho era, Japan entered a short period of party politics as the military that time was not strong enough. However, the parties in power failed to seize chance to make the democratic government strong, one reason for this was the serious corruption and bribery. Another reason, many citizens the democratic government was biased in favor of the rich as political parties colluded with the Zaibatsu because it financially influence them.

Furthermore, a crucial problem was the Great Depression in 1929, and Japan blamed the political parties of the inability to solve the problem. All of these lead to frequent replacement of the government as Japan had no trust in supremacy democracy anymore. Therefore, the weakness of democratic government was a internal factor which led to the rise of militarism. Thirdly, internally, in economical aspect, the Zaibatsu gains over the control of the economy was one factor in the rise of militarism. The Zaibatsu bought heavy industries during the Meiji era for a low price.

In 1920s, some small and medium sized banks went bankrupt because of financial problem and it led to the concentration of wealth in several large banks which were controlled by the Zaibatsu. In order to protect their interest, the Zaibatsu joined with the military leaders and became powerful supports, thus this caused the rise of militarism in Japan. Lastly, internally, in social and cultural aspect, the rise of extreme nationalism was one of the factor in the rise of militarism. Since the Meiji era, Japan had emphasized the extreme nationalism which honored the supremacy of the nation and the Japanese race.

For example, in schools, this idea is strongly taught to children, as the government controlled the national education system and the context of the textbooks, it cultivated the virtues of patriotism and loyalty to the emperor. This idea became stringer in 1920s, when they were discriminated by the west, they missed the time when they won wars, it made them more determine to have military expansion. For example, some extreme nationalists promoted militarism, such as the Kita Ikki, as he wrote ‘An outline plan for the reconstruction of Japan’ and Tanaka Giichi, he submitted the Tanaka Memorial, these plan promote foreign expansion.

Thus, due to the extreme nationalism, it was one factor internally that led to the rise of militarism. Although there were the rise of militarism due to internal factors, there were also externally factors causing the rise of militarism. Firstly, externally, in political aspect, the impact of totalitarianism was one of the factor that led to the rise of militarism. The Great Depression of 1929 caused great damage to the whole world, and many people became unemployed. The western powers had severe economic difficulties. Even Japan suffered from the Great Depression, this worried Japan as they copied the West.

It began to lose confidence in Western political ideas of democracy. But, on the other hand, Italy and Germany practiced totalitarianism, and they were more successful in solving their economic problems, and in growing their national strength. Therefore, Japan lose confidence in democracy as many nations were not successful as the dictatorship in Germany and Italy, therefore the impact of totalitarianism in Europe led to the rise of Japanese militarist. Secondly, externally, in diplomatic aspect, due to the Western discrimination was one of the factor that led to the rise of militarism.

There were many events where Japanese militarist had anti- Western feeling because of the Western discrimination towards Japan. For example, The western power refused to include a clause of “racial equality” in the League of Nation. Another example, in Washington Conference in 1921-1922, Japan was forced to return Shandong to China as they got at in WW1, moreover, the navy of Japan was limited. Furthermore, in London Naval conference in 1930, Japan again failed to increase the ratio of navy to those of US and Britain.

They also believed that the peaceful economic expansion policy would show Japan weak. Therefore, in order to make Japan strong and rich and to gain respect of the West, they had to overthrow the democratic government and start the militarism. Lastly, in externally, in economically aspect, one of the factor that led to the rise of militarism. The US suffered from Great Depression in 1929. In order to protect their own economy, they posed heavy customs duties on Japan commodities which increased Japan’s difficulties.

For example, by 1931, Japan’s export were fallen by 50%. This led to a decrease in wages, and the number of people unemployed reached to 3 million. So, Japanese militarist thought only wars can be a solution of economic problems as it expand the military industry. Thus this led to the rise of militarist caused by an external factor of Great Depression. In conclusion, both internal factors and external factors caused the rise of Japanese militarism. To a certain extent, I believe the rise of Japanese militarism was caused by internal factor.

The Rise of Militarism Was Caused by Internal Factors Essay

Was Truman right to drop the atomic bomb on Japan? Essay

Was Truman right to drop the atomic bomb on Japan? Essay.

The Second World War started in 1939’s. In the beginning it was a war only in Europe, but as the time passed on, all world was getting involved in it. Some countries weren’t happy about their situation and one of them was Japan. In this essay I am going to discuss why Japanese attack the US Pacific Fleet at Pearl Harbor, Japan getting stronger, about atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, was Truman right to drop it.

War in Pacific began when General Tojo, Chief Minister of Japan, on Sunday 7 December 1941 decided to attack Pearl Harbor, in Hawaii.

USA was not at the war that time and no one was at the anti-aircraft guns. Meanwhile, 300 kilometers to the north, 183 Japanese fighter-bombers were taking off from aircraft-carriers. They headed to Pearl Harbor. Within minutes they arrived to their target and bombing began. Within two hours, five battleships had been sunk, another 16 damaged, 188 aircraft destroyed and 2403 American people had been killed and another 1,178 injured.

This attack also killed less than 100 Japanese.

No more than chance saved three US aircraft carriers, usually stationed at Pearl Harbor but assigned to a different place on the day. Japanese before attacking knew that it was a big gamble to attack strongest nation in the world. But they also believed that if their country was to survive as a proud, independent notion they would have to fight the USA sometime. This shows that Japan knew what they are doing and they thought that it is the best time to attack Pearl Harbor while Europe was busy in the war and they would not help America with supplying with aircrafts and worships. This proves us that Japan was very weak and they really needed to do something about it, because they had large growing population, their land was infertile and they didn’t have good supplies of raw materials.

When Nazi Germany was in the middle of its Blitz in the Europe, Japan was able to enlarge her control over a great territory by August 1942. They colonized Taiwan and Manchuria, the Japanese Army invaded and jailed most of the coastal Chinese cities and occupied French Indochina, British Malaya and other places in Dutch East Indies They had also reached the borders of India and Australia. Japan very fast established an empire which was nearly all through Pacific Ocean. But General Tojo’s gamble failed because most important ships weren’t there – they were out to the sea.

The USA recovered from its losses at Pearl Harbor much more quickly than Tojo thought. Only six months later, in June 1942, the US fleet defeated Japan in the Battle of Midway. In my opinion the gamble failed because he took a great risk in trying to guess that all the ships and airplanes for war supply were there but America is very big and it doesn’t mean that all needs must be in Pearl Harbor. This shows us that they succeeded in what they wanted to do because they had a big empire over Pacific Ocean but Americans recovered fast and decided to do something about what Japan did.

By the summer of 1945 Japanese were clearly defeated. huge air raids were launched on Japanese cities – in Tokyo in the raid 84,000 people died on 9 March 1945. But Japan still didn’t want to surrender. The obvious next move was to invade Japan, but Japanese fought to the last man and for US if they would try to take some action and land on Japan it could take Americans years to defeat them and it would cost hundreds of thousands lives. There was another option for Americans. Allied scientist, many of the refugees from Nazi Europe, had been working in the USA on the “Manhattan Project”. Their task was to develop a bomb which used atomic fission to release huge amounts of energy in a single reaction. In July 1945 they exploded a test bomb in the New Mexico desert. The ball of fire rose 12,000 meters above the site.

They had enough material for two more bombs. The US President, Harry S. Truman, ordered one to be used on Hiroshima. On 6 August 1945 a simple plane, the Enola Gay, dropped the bomb, timed to explode 570 above the ground. About 80,000 people were killed. The total number of deaths in Hiroshima was around 200,000 After this Truman wrote a statement:This source tells us what Harry S. Truman’s fateful words after the atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima. This source proves us that Truman wanted to use this bomb in my opinion, because of the attack in Pearl Harbor and the loss of Japan’s The Battle of Midway Japan still didn’t want to surrender and because of Japanese people who fought to the death like in Iwo Jima, Americans found the best way too finish the war with atomic bomb which also brought to a scientific world lots of success. This shows us that Truman was even proud of himself to do this because he thought this stopped the war and it destroyed enemy’s usefulness.

Three days later a second bomb was dropped on Nagarski. In Nagasaki, the total number of deaths from the atomic bomb was 73,884 people, with another 25,000 dying in the years to follow. The blame for this event can be placed on two different nations. One would be the United States for of course, it dropped the bomb. However, the Japanese are also at fault, because they didn’t surrender after the first 130,000 died in attack in Hiroshima. In my opinion another reason for Americans dropping second bomb was that they did not want to let their money go to waste and wanted to show the former USSR that America was militarily superior.

The affects of this bomb were a disastrous thing. Lots of people died for a war actually which wasn’t needed, but on the other hand this saved also lots of lives because if the bomb would not be dropped millions of civilians might have died in the war with Japan and America. This atom was more destructive than any before in History. Ninety-five percent of the people within 800 metres of bomb died at one and so did many more further. People simply evaporated at the temperature which was calculate to 6000Cº.

Others were killed by burning or collapsing the buildings. There were other diseases like diarrhea and leukemia were increased over the territory of Japan. In the ten years after1945, 60,000 more people died from Radiation sickness. However US scientist didn’t know what the long effects of bomb will be. This shows us that this atomic bomb was just tested and people didn’t now what are effects of it and Truman didn’t know about it a lot but he believed this to stop Japan’s leaders and make Japan surrender because from the evidence here we now that Truman didn’t like that way that women and children had to suffer all this bombing which gave very bad causes for the next long time of period.

ConclusionIn my opinion Truman was right to drop the bomb on Hiroshima and Nagarski. Japanese took a great gamble in attacking a Pearl Harbor which brought America to the war that’s why he had a good reason, because Japanese are these people that they can fight until the death which would bring more victims than causes of these two bombs. Japanese also didn’t want to surrender after first bomb was dropped which means that if they would have done that they would have saved lots of their peoples lives. I think these casualties are justified. So many things in this world could be prevented if the time was taken to investigate the situation.


ttp://www.trumanlibrary.org Twentieth Century- Christopher Culpin

Was Truman right to drop the atomic bomb on Japan? Essay

American Norms vs. Japan Norms Essay

American Norms vs. Japan Norms Essay.

In sociology, when we discuss culture (which is the totality of learned socially transmitted customs, knowledge, material objects, and behavior (Schaefer 2010:50)), we discuss how culture includes such things as; language, beliefs, values and norms. When sociologists studied culture they mainly looked upon the norms of society. Norms are “the agreed-upon expectations and rules by which a culture guides the members in any given situation”(Cultural Norms). There are four types of norms; folkways, mores, taboo, and laws. Although it is important to know that norms vary across the world and two examples of how norms differ around the world would be in America and Japan.

The first type of norm that will be discussed is folkways. Folkways are “the standards of behavior that are socially approved but not morally significant” (Cultural Norms). “Folkways are sometimes known as “conventions” or “customs” (Cultural Norms). A example of a folkway that varies in America and Japan are business cards. In Japan business cards (called meishi) are a common practice upon meeting someone, but there is a particular set of norms that dictates this kind of exchange.

When meeting someone it is common to “exchange meishi at the beginning of the meeting while standing up”(2). This may be completely weird for most people in America, but in Japan people exchanging meishi upon meeting someone forms a foundation of trust and hopefully builds a respectful partnership that will affect the meeting.

When a person receives a meishi “the receiver should look over the details of the card and perhaps even remark or ask questions about some of the information, so as to show interest”(2). The receiver should never placed the card in their wallets for it shows disrespect and would be considered very offensive because the meishi shows the individuals occupation and identity. The receiver should place the meishi into their shirt pocket or keep it out during the meeting for it shows that the person has respect for the person their meeting with. While in America people treat business cards very differently. Business cards are handed out when there’s a certain of trust has been reached or when a business transaction has been made.

Another example of a folkway is closing your eyes during a meeting. In Japan when a person closes their eyes during a meeting when a presenter is speaking shoes that their concentrating on the information that is being presenting to them. The closing of eyes in Japan is consider normal and not perceive as inappropriate. While in America when someone closes their eyes during something is consider rude in our society since it indicates boredom or disinterest.

The last type of norm that will be discussed are laws. Laws are “the formal body of rules enacted by the state and backed by the power of the state”(Cultural Norms). There are laws that vary from America and Japan, and an example would be crossing the street. Firstly when someone is visiting Japan they need to be “respectful of the customs and laws in place because it’s for the good of all members in the society and to allow society to be efficient and productive”(5). In crossing a street in Japan the person has an obligation to wait until the signal shows that it is time to cross the street. Laws are more formal and expected to be followed in Japan than they are in America.

Although America does have laws and they’re in force, but it does not mean people will follow or be intact by them. People will often cross the street wherever and whenever they want. This norm shows that in America laws are also formal but it also shows that people are less likely to follow some laws because society tells that it is okay to not follow all laws.

Social Norms are perceived and interrupted differently across the world. What may be consider weird, abnormal, and different to our society is consider normal to another society. When people do study society it is important to remember that each society has norms that they abided by in their everyday life and may vary with our own set of norms.

Worked Cited

“Sociology: Cultural Norms.” _WWW.cliffsnotes.com_. N.p., n.d. Web. 1 Oct. 2012.

“A Japan Experience: Social Customs.” _A Japan Experience: Social Customs_. N.p., n.d. Web. 10 Oct. 2012. .

American Norms vs. Japan Norms Essay

Benihana of Tokyo Essay

Benihana of Tokyo Essay.

Benihana of Tokyo Essay. The key difference was the way in which food was prepared. During the time period of the case Teppanyaki style dining was unknown in the United States. In this model, food was prepped table side by a chef instead of a kitchen in back. In this setup, customers were entertained with a “dinner show” and were able to see their (foreign/exotic) meal being prepared, something which Rocky Aoki felt would alleviate some of the reservations Americans held for “exotic foods.

The Benihana concept also allowed for guests to experience the benefits of having ‘made-to-order’ products instead of ‘made-to-stock’ without the higher costs associated with that level of service.

From a customer-focused perspective, the more intimate the experience or relationship between provider and customer, the perceived value gained in significantly increased. Benihana was able to provide a unique, high quality meal at a good perceived value.


The use of the hibachi tables in food production allowed for the back kitchen to be significantly smaller than a typical restaurant.

Benihana of Tokyo Essay

Relative to total floor space, this design required only ~22% of the restaurant to be used as the prep kitchen as opposed to ~30% in a traditional kitchen. This allowed for much greater utilization of the restaurant building (a fixed cost). Being able to serve a higher number of customers as compared to traditional restaurants having a similar amount of total floor space helps Benihana to drive efficiencies such as scale economies (the more you make the cheaper everything gets).

The teppanyaki style restaurant also allowed for the reduction in labor without sacrificing customer service. The customers are being entertained and attended to by their chef for the majority of their dining experience. In this setup, a team consisting of a chef and a waitress are able to serve two tables of eight and still provide an “unusual amount of attention.”

Because of the higher efficiency of the staff to take care of customers, we might infer additional (profitable) benefits. This model also eliminates the task of waiters and waitresses bringing food out to the tables (with the exception of the simple appetizers of salad and soup) since it’s brought out uncooked and then served by the chef, this way the wait staff can better focus on taking and serving drink orders. If this assumption were to hold true, the restaurants are able to sell a higher ratio of drinks to food which increases profitability. Food generally costs about 40% of the menu price, in contrast alcoholic drinks cost around 20% of selling price and soda only 8%! (1, 2, 3).

The “golden ratio” of restaurant food service is 45:55 food to drink sales (4). This is the target that restaurateurs try to achieve. Benihana was able to achieve a 30:70 food to drink sales ratio, something that would be very enviable for any fine dining establishment. This evidence supports the aforementioned inference.

Rocky also made it a point to have a very limited menu with only 3 main entrees choices consisting of steak, chicken and shrimp. A 2013 study shows that the average number of menu items at the top 500 restaurant chains exceeds 75 items. Specifically at full-service restaurants this number is over 60 (5). The number of ingredients and storage space required to sustain that many items is very costly. Having drastically fewer menu offerings and ingredients allowed Benihana to greatly reduce food waste. A typical restaurant has food costs of 40% of food sales, but due to reduction in waste Benihana was able to operate at 30%-35% (1). Here the saying that “less is more” definitely holds true.

At Benihana, the dining experience usually doesn’t begin until all 8 seats at the dining table are occupied. This coupled with there being very few entrée options (c) allows for Benihana to operate as a batch operation to further improve its operating efficiency as compared to other traditional restaurants. There is a high probability that 2 or more guests will order the same item (or at least a version of it, ex. rare vs med-well filet mignon), allowing for the chef to prepare meals for the guests with very little additional labor. In a conventional restaurant the likelihood of a chef being able to prepare two of more meals simultaneously is remote. In this comparison a standard restaurant is something more akin to a ‘job-shop’ in the sense that several different items need to be made in with minimal control over the particular order.


There were several unique benefits of the teppanyaki style restaurant innovated by Rocky Aoki when he created the Benihana restaurants. Increased asset utilization in floor space and cooking space being semi-combined, efficient use of labor allowing for more value-added activities, reduction in production material waste by minimizing the ingredients and menu offerings and finally, the batch processing-like operations allowing for significantly increased production efficiency all allowed the restaurant to operate very successfully. Coupled with Benihana’s unique aesthetic appeal and exotic offerings, all of things allowed for huge successes for the restaurant concept.


Benihana of Tokyo Essay

Meiji Restoration (1868-1912) Essay

Meiji Restoration (1868-1912) Essay.

The Meiji Restoration brought enormous changes in Japan’s structure. It eliminated the Tokugawa Shogunate, which allowed the emperor to regain full power, and transformed Japan from a feudal system to a modern state. The new era established the Meiji Constitution, which created a new structure for the government and laws, reformed the military and education system, experienced westernization and was the catalyst towards industrialization. However, it cannot be completely considered as a revolution. Although there were changes in the nature of Japan’s economic and social system, and some aspects proved itself to be a complete transformation, a few were still practiced traditionally, mainly the political structure.

Also, a revolution is defined as ‘a quick and complete overthrow or repudiation of an established government or political system through replacement by the people governed’, and although there were major changes, it was by no means a quick and complete change.

It is without a doubt that the new government created by the Meiji constitution of 1889, a Prussian like constitution, appeared to have had drastic changes.

Their aim was to build Japan into ‘A Rich Country, A Strong Army’ and achieve national unity, and westernization was inevitable since westernization presented itself a universal path of progress. To introduce a new and centralized government authority, known as the Prefecture System, the Meiji Government abolished the Han system in 1871. Undoubtedly, there were obvious transformations. The new government was now based on a national assembly, an appointive Council of Advisors (Sangi), and eight Ministries: Civil Affair/Home Ministry, Foreign Affairs, Finance, War, Imperial Household, Justice, Public Works and Education. The emperor was the central symbol of the political system, for example being able to exercise all executive authority, being in supreme command of the navy and army and the right to suspend temporarily the Diet ( the bicameral legislature), unlike before.

He was the only one who could make amendments to the constitution, dissolve the Lower House and present ordinances when the Diet is not present in the session. The imperial government now consisted of Genro (elder statesmen), Military Boards, War and Navy ministers, Prime Minister, Cabinet, Privy Council and the Diet. The Lower house of the legislature was elected by males paying taxes of 15 yen or mor, which was only around 5 percent of the male population, and the Upper house was to serve as a check on the Lower House The decision-making in the government was restricted to a closed oligarchy of around 20 individuals from Satsuma, Chōshū, Tosa, Hizen clans and from the Imperial Court .

However, political power was simply seen as being changed from the Tokugawa Shogun to an oligarchy consisting of themselves and the transformation proved itself slow as they spent a lot of time getting consensus on what type of constitution they wanted. Some rejected democracy, others disputed about which type of western constitution to follow. This illustrated their belief in the more traditional practice of imperial rule, whereby the emperor performs his high priestly duties and his ministers govern the nation in his name, and was just their intention of restoring the ancient administration of Japan, which was a restoration, not a complete change.

Education was another element that witnessed great modification, but was not a complete change. Unlike before, the new Meiji government stressed the need for universal public education to spread western and modern ideas. The Ministry of Education was established in 1871, and the school system began to be based on the American structure, with a utilitarian system, and with a centrally controlled school administration similar to the French one. However, the early educational system met many oppositions and a new curriculum was established which emphasized conservative, traditional ideals more reflective of Japanese values. Confucian principles were stressed, especially those relating to the hierarchical nature of human relations, service to the Meiji state, the pursuit of learning, and morality, which proved that they still kept the guiding philosophy of the Tokugawa era.

The Meiji era also promoted women’s education through a separate girl’s system, unlike in the Tokugawa era, where girls were usually educated informally at home. The curriculum was based centrally on moral education, mathematics, reading and writing, composition, Japanese calligraphy, Japanese history, geography, science, drawing, singing, and physical education, which was a mix of the new and the old. Though this showed westernization in the education system, the process was also very slow in pace because there were many changes made throughout the Meiji era such as the change from an American model to a Prussian one, and the constant centralizing and decentralizing of the administration of education.

Industrialization is also another factor that can be considered a break from the past, but was not a straight line development. The industries in Japan were intoxicated with western thought as Story puts it ‘the entire apparatus of Western material civilization seemed to find some reproduction, some kind of echo, in Japan’ free from the Tokugawa beliefs. The Meiji government adopted a policy that stated she will develop Industries herself. It developed modern communications, constructed railways, established telegraphs, shipbuilding yards, gun-powder and munition factories, and artillery works and even created a Ministry of Industry in 1870 and a Department of Agriculture and Commerce in 1881. In addition silk-reeling plants, glass and chemical manufacturing plants, a cement works, a cotton-spinning factory and a sugar factory were established. In 1882, the first Japanese central bank (state bank) was created, through which the government regulated industrial growth. Through tariffs, tax policy and big quasi-public banks, the government set up indirect control over the economy.

Private companies that bought government industries known as zaibatsu (financial combines) boosted a wide range of economic activities such as banking and insurance. Private investments in textile industries were great and progressed fast and were even exported towards the end of the 19th century. Foreign loans were paid off and there were no further loans from foreigners. Since both domestic and foreign trade increased under industrialization, foreign economic exploitation were able to come to a halt, in contrast with their situation in the Tokugawa period, where they were victims of the western exploitation. Industrialization also demolished Japan’s traditional agricultural economy, where the local economically self sufficient society was substituted by increased agricultural commercialization and specialization. In spite of this, the development was relatively slow and successes tend to fluctuate and it was only after the Russo-Japanese War that Japan was able to enter a period of sustained industrial growth.

With such immense changes within the surface, it was without a doubt that that there was a great transformation for some of the populace. The standard of living in society improved and industrialization ameliorated the economic conditions of most people .A new social hierarchy was built and the country was rearranged into: nobles (kazoku), former samurai (shizoku and sotsu), farmers, merchants and artisans (heimin), and outcasts as ordinary citizens. However, the Samurai stilled experienced economic hardships, as they did in the Tokugawa period, and the change brought by the restoration proved revolutionary for them.

They lost their privileges, such as superior education, possession of bureaucratic office, stipends and sword bearing, which ultimately led to many revolts, one of which was led by Saigo Takamori, after the Korean controversy. Minor peasants also continued to suffer after the Tokugawa period, due to industrialization, and it can be seen that the government sacrificed their social needs to speed Japan’s national integration and capital accumulation, which did not prove a complete transformation for them.

Of course, there are many aspects in the Meiji restoration that can be considered a complete change, one of which was the military structure. It is evident Japan’s needs to enhance their military prowess was reflected by their military modernization and westernization. They altered the military structure to the extent that they established a small standing army, a large reserve system, and compulsory militia service for men, also known as conscription, which angered many samurai.

Foreign military systems were studied by cadets, foreign advisers were brought in, and many cadets were sent to Europe and the United states to study in their naval and military schools. They even carried out a policy called ‘Arming the Nation’ with the objective of foreign expansion. The Sino-Japanese war, 1894-1895, and the Russo-Japanese war, 1904-1905, which Japan received both victories, proved a break from the past for Japan. Before, its ruthless administration of the Tokugawa military administration combined with the rigid seclusion of the country, isolated Japan from westernization, but after the Meiji restoration, they were able to absorb western ideas, create a strong military and witness their rise to international power.

Legal reforms also proved itself to be another aspect that was a complete change. It was carried out with an intention to gain respectability and equality with the West. A series of new laws aiming to abolish extra-territoniality of the unequal treaties, such as the Criminal Code (1882), Civil Code (1898), and the Commercial Code (1899). Other changes in the judicial system also included the abolition of torture, the establishment of a trained judiciary, and the setting up of regulations of evidence and procedure for the courts. These achievements, along with Japan’s victory in the Sino-Japanese War 1895, allowed the obliteration of extraterritoriality in the late 1890s with the western states, and allowed Japan free from western burden which they had in the past.

In addition this change also influenced Japan’s modern bureaucracy. The oligarchs had put more attention on permanent civil service and in the late 1980s, under the advice of Yamagata Aritomoto, an examination system for government office was established, which only the elite could have succeeded in passing. This also showed a great modification within the government because during the Tokugawa period, samurais could depend on favoritism and influential friends in the government for an advancement in government service, which proved itself futile during the Meiji period.

In addition, other minor reforms were made which changed both Japan’s society and ideology. These included religious reforms which lifted the ban on Christianity and encouraged Shintoism, with the old traditional Buddhism still very popular. The constitution itself allowed the populace to have freedom of movement, freedom of speech, assembly and association, privacy of correspondence, private property and the rights to not have one’s house searched or entered. Others newly established right, although less conditional, include right to trial before a judge, freedom of religion (“within limits not prejudicial to peace and order, and not antagonistic to their duties as subjects”) and the right to petition governmentIn conclusion the period after the Meiji restoration cannot be constituted as a revolution, primarily because of its slow process.

It is indeed that Japan experienced vast changes due to westernization and industrialization, which shaped their education, military and political structure. However, as mentioned before, a revolution is a quick and complete change, and the process of transformation was not at all rapid. The political changes took years to complete, and there were frequent alterations in the education system. It was only after the Russo-Japanese war that Japan’s economic activities were able to stabilize and the change they sought for, such as the abolishment of extra-territoniality and unequal treaties, took almost forty years. In addition, Japan’s transformation, although large, was not entire. There were still a mixture of traditional element in their political structure, and their education system was not completely westernized, with a blend of traditional Japanese values. Society continued to be marked by the juxtaposition of the old and the new,

Meiji Restoration (1868-1912) Essay

Industrialization: Japan and Russia Essay

Industrialization: Japan and Russia Essay.

As Western Europe began to industrialize, booming with innovation and new technology, the likes of which the eastern peoples of Asia have never seen, it became quite evident that they would either conform in this western practice of industrialization willingly, or become consumed by it. This apprehension gave a rebirth to two nations who would soon find themselves as major players on the global stage; Russia and Japan. Yet how these countries would industrialize, however, would take very different paths and diverse methods.

Japan is a country of small land mass and for that reason is obviously more united and closely knit. Russia, however, is massive in size which would indubitably withhold many different types of peoples, dialects, and so fourth. Essentially, Japan would industrialize independently through a militaristic view and the Russians through a type of social revolution with the help of Westerners.

In a Russian point of view, they saw (the nobles) western industrialization as a threat to their hold over the country.

On the other hand, Peter the Great pushed for Russia to become more European by adopting their language (most notably was French), clothing, administrative and military methods. Moreover, Peter the Great would also have the Russian royal family unite with European royal families through marriage and inconsequence, expand Russian territory. Peter the Greats fascination with Europe happened in his early years as Tsar, when he wished to wage war with the Ottoman Empire and wished to be supported by European monarchs. His _grand embassy_ was unable to find any support from European nations, however during his travels Peter learned much from the Dutch, Germans, French and English. Evidently this contributed in a large way to Peter’s ambition to industrialize and Westernize Russia.

Nevertheless, this was only skin deep as it was only members of the nobility who experienced this Westernization and not those of the peasant population.

After Peter’s death, Catherine the Great continued with his policy of Westernization, known as Russian Enlightenment. This was the dawn of Russia’s first university, library, theatre, public museum and press. Over the next few years, Russia was involved in the Crimean war pitting her against many great powers of Europe and was a major loss, leaving the empire with much discontent. As Alexander II came into power in 1855 there was restlessness within the empire. Rather than facing a revolution, Tsar Alexander II decided to emancipate the serfs himself in 1861. This resulted in the freedom for two hundred million people. Inevitably, there were still issues as the serfs were still a poor and illiterate people, and even paying taxes to their old masters.

Thus, the Social Democratic Party wad formed with the aim of overthrowing the Tsar through revolution by the working class to put an end to capitalism and abolish class exploitation, as per Karl Marx. The party split into two factions, the Bolsheviks led by Lenin and the Mensheviks. Despite their differences, both factions were able to come up with a party platform in 1903 which included equal rights for all citizens regardless of race, religion or nationality, as well as freedom of religion. At the end of it all during the revolution in 1905, the _Duma_ was instituted in favour of the liberals. And at this same time Russia was trying to expand which made the Japanese worry, and war broke out soon after in the same year, with the latter being victorious. This crushing and demoralizing defeat led to many strikes and protests within Russia bringing freedom to peasants yet workers rights still being introverted which would eventually give rise to a communist revolution in the near future, known as Red October.

Now with regards towards Japan, they lived under the Tokugawa Shogunate for two hundred and fifty years, all of which were peaceful. They had a very strict class hierarchy with peasantry being eighty percent of the population and the other twenty percent divided almost equally amoungst the samurai, merchants and craftsmen.

Unlike the Russians, the Japanese resisted Western methods and customs. Japan became an isolationist country and very secluded. Things would have stayed this way if Commodore Matthew Perry and his American fleet of four ships did not steam into Edo Bay and display the destructive power of their modern guns. With that simple demonstration of the power of industrialization, America was able to negotiate rights to trade and use Japanese ports, which is remarkable considering it took only a year to break down the barriers of a two hundred and fifty year old secluded nation. The Tokugawa Shogunate soon collapsed thereafter, giving way to the Meiji Restoration.

The motto “Enrich the Nation, Strengthen the Army” was soon adopted by a small group of aristocratic reformers. They abolished the shogunate, stripped the samurai of their privileges and started to modernize the economy. Many new inventions and innovations were introduced to Japanese culture and life, such as railroads, steamships, factories, the telegraph, and even baseball. Yet the ultimate goal was to build a strong army and navy to keep Westerners at bay and make Japan a superpower within Asia. To do so, Yamagata Aritomo, a statesman who influenced economic policy, education, and the writing of Japan’s constitution, was sent to Europe on an eighteen month trip to observe military practice.

One year later after his return in 1873, Aritomo framed the imperial decree that established Japan’s conscript army. The main observation he made was learned from the Belgians and Dutch. Through their reserves, they were able to defend their small country despite being situated between much larger and powerful nations. All the while they were able to attend to other state issues. In essence, they were able to make militaristic needs one of their main priorities, but at the same time were able to attend to other issues on the countries agenda.

Undoubtedly, this brought Japan to become a major power in the new, modernizing world. This was confirmed with military victories against China in 1895 and Russia in 1905.

In the end, Russia and Japan both become industrialized and powerful nations. With some differences that Russia reached out to build links and bridges with Western Europe and Japan was isolationist, and that Russia needed help from the West to industrialize and Japan did it on their own. But they were similar in that both are feudal societies without a middle class, with autocratic governments and both decided to industrial for fear of European commerce and imperialism.


Michael Adas, Peter N. Stearns, Stuart B. Schwartz, _Turbulent Passage._ New York: Pearson Education Inc, 2006.

Overfield, James H. _Sources of Twentieth Century Global History._ Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 2002.

 Michael Adas, Peter N. Stearns, Stuart B. Schwartz, Turbulent Passage (New York: Pearson Education Inc, 2006), 36.

 James H. Overfield, Sources of Twentieth Century Global History (Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 2002), 43.

 Ibid. 44

 James H. Overfield, Sources of Twentieth Century Global History (Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 2002), 46.

 Michael Adas, Peter N. Stearns, Stuart B. Schwartz, Turbulent Passage (New York: Pearson Education Inc, 2006), 40-41.

 James H. Overfield, Sources of Twentieth Century Global History (Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 2002), 27.

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Industrialization: Japan and Russia Essay

Toys R Us Japan Case Analysis Essay

Toys R Us Japan Case Analysis Essay.

This case has a generally positive slant in that there it does not describe many weaknesses and problems present in many others with which students would be familiar. Toys R Us (TRU) has followed a path of international expansion from the US via more than 13 countries, starting from Canada in 1984 and entering Japan in 1991. By any standard this is a rapid expansion of markets. This case illustrates several elements of developing market strategies that have been central to TRU’s observed success in these markets.

First, TRU has developed a strong competitive advantage in its home market that is based on fulfilling 95% of consumers’ needs relating to children. This has been based around large retail space and counteracting the cyclical nature of toy retailing which traditionally peaks around the gift giving period during Christmas. Second, they have succeeded in transferring their retail concept from the US to its newer markets by modification of the product mix to suit local tastes.

Third, they captured international marketing experience by recruiting executives with international experience such as Mr.

Joseph Baczko who has been able to adapt the strategy and use a non-standard approach to market entry. His approach has adapted their successful entry strategy to fit the needs of the country environment. The following analysis will commence with an analysis of the company and its business and consider each of the issues raised in the foregoing discussion. This will be followed by recommendations for future activities. ISSUE AND PROBLEM ANALYSIS. The Firm, its Industry and market expansion. TRU is a company whose operational core is purely in retailing. The company has no manufacturing capabilities and relies on developing its business strategies of fulfilling consumer needs with a one-stop-retail environment that fulfils the majority of consumer’s needs.

Therefore, the company’s market activities are purely in the form of a specific retail concept which is based on sourcing local and international products for sale in each of the countries in which it operates. Two key characteristics are critical for TRU to succeed: high-income per capita and high toy sales. Both of these are self-evident. The case study does not provide the order of market entry but the early entries into psychically close countries such as Canada, UK and Germany conforms to the patterns of expansion as firms gather international experience. It appears that TRU has acquired international experience by recruiting Mr. Joseph Baczko who has made direct entries into countries whose environments are more similar but used less direct forms such as franchises in Saudi Arabia, the Emirates and Joint ventures in Singapore and Hong Kong which are psychically and geographically more distant. 

Toys R Us Japan Case Analysis Essay

The dropping of the atomic bombs on Japan Essay

The dropping of the atomic bombs on Japan Essay.

In August 1945 the world changed. Two American atomic bombs were dropped on Japan with devastating effects. On the 6th of August 1945, the Enola Gay, a B- 29 Superfortress plane, dropped the atomic bomb “Little Boy” on Hiroshima. This single bomb killed 80,000 people immediately and about 60,000 more within six months. On August 9, a second atomic bomb that ultimately killed about 70,000 people was dropped on Nagasaki.

The dropping of these nuclear bombs is perhaps one of the most debated decisions in history. There are many arguments as to whether it should or should not have happened but we will never really know the truth as we can not go into the heads of Truman and his advisors or Suzuki the Japanese Prime Minister.

Truman said to an aid, “I am going to have to make a decision which no man in history has ever had to make… it is terrifying to think about what I will have to decide.”

Truman’s decision was a hard one to make as there were many reasons for and against the bombs.

We assume that his decision was altruistic, trying to make the best possible decision based on the information that he had at the time. The main reason given for dropping the bomb was that it was going to shorten the war and save American lives. Truman said he had acted “In order to shorten the agony of war, in order to save the lives of thousands and thousands of young Americans.”

A plan for the invasion of Japan had been drawn up, Operation Olympic was scheduled for November 1945. Truman was of course reluctant to launch another land invasion as he had just suffered from the battle of Okinawa. The Japanese had defended their home islands with huge ferocity sending out one hundred and ninety three kamikaze planes. Out of these attacks launched against the American fleet, 169 were destroyed. Those planes that managed to get through did cause a great deal of damage, especially to America’s carrier fleet which unlike the British carriers did not have armoured flight decks. However, the destruction of so many kamikaze flights did a great deal to undermine the potential for damage that the kamikazes could have inflicted.

The battle of Okinawa which lasted from the 1st of April 1945 until the 21st of June 1945 was the bloodiest part of the Pacific War, with U.S forces losing 12,613 soldiers and 40.000 were wounded. Also more than 110,000 Japanese soldiers were killed. After this Truman’s military advisors estimated an invasion of Japan could cost the lives of one million Americans. The Operation Olympic plan, was scheduled for November 1945. Truman horrified by these figures searched for an alternative way to end the war, as American emotion was high after sustaining heavy losses in Okinawa.

Japan had a very proud and honorable psyche. The Japanese would rather commit suicide than be beaten. They still followed the tradition of the Bushido, an ancient tradition of self disembowelment. In more extreme forms, dying honorably would consist of, the training of young children to be ‘Sherman carpets.’ Japanese children were to be strapped with TNT and throw themselves under American tanks thereby dying in the most honorable way possible- by killing the enemy. For example Hiroshima people were ashamed that before they were bombed they had not received any attacks from the allies and this is making them look unimportant and insignificant, as if not a threat to the war. Citizens were proud of their “war effort” but were ashamed of being left unhurt and not attacked, they thought enemy had contempt for them. With this mind set it can not be assumed that they would surrender.

The creation of the atomic bomb was the terrifying result of scientific developments starting with Rutherford’s splitting of the atom in 1919. In 1938 Hahn discovered the fission process. By 1939 scientists in Britain, France and the U.S were investigating the military possibilities of nuclear energy, and they were concerned that Germany also might be attempting to create the bomb. The Manhattan Project was officially established in 1942. This was responsible for the creation of the atomic bomb on which the, American government had spent 2 billion dollars. It was successfully tested at Alamogordo in New Mexico on the 16th of July 1945.

The Japanese were given an opportunity to surrender after being told about the construction and trial of the atomic bomb. Truman authorized the use of the bomb on the 28th of July 1945, giving Japan twelve days to surrender. It would be naïve to presume that America would not use the bomb after such expenditure having developed such a huge leap in scientific technology. Army generals have always searched for new available technology such as the European use of modern guns and a fleet of ships against the Samurai in July 1853. After all, generals in charge of the war are given the job of winning it at all costs.

After the Americans had spent 2 billion dollars building these bombs they would always find it hard to explain to the American citizens where all the money had gone and why they were not using the bombs. After all the general attitude of Americans at the time was that they should drop the bomb in some ways as revenge for the surprise and unprovoked attack of Pearl Harbour and for all the youth they had lost in other battles.

As well as this there were the truly sickening stories coming home of the treatment of American prisoners of war such as the story of The Nagona bullion bunker which was only one of numerous treasure sites where loot from all over Asia was buried before the war’s end. Here, gold, platinum, diamonds and valuable religious artifacts including a golden Buddha figurine weighing one tonne all up totalling approximately $190 billion were buried together with live Allied Prisoners Of War who had been forced to dig the tunnels.

We hear stories such as “My grandfather died in Bataan as a prisoner of war. When he was no longer able to keep up with the forced march, having a gangrenous infection of the shoulder that made him feverish and delirious, he was shot to death.” (Anonymous)

Its no wonder the Americans felt bitter towards the Japanese when they heard stories like these. Stories of rape, murder, forced incest, medical experiments on human guinea pigs and fetal disembowelment. Some of the stuff we read makes us sick so you can understand that in America there were many people strongly in favour of dropping the bombs.

Truman had another motive for the use of the atomic bomb, he had fallen out with allied Soviet Union leader, Joseph Stalin due to the Soviet armies occupying and controlling much of central Europe. He wanted to impress Stalin with the power of his new bombs and show that he was man enough to use them and not afraid of the consequence. Stalin had already promised to join the U.S.A in the war effort in Japan but Truman was having second thoughts about whether or not he actually wanted Stalin moving in on his kill. Truman wanted to end the war quickly before the Soviets had chance to win territory. The Soviets declared war on Japan and entered in Manchuria three days after the first bomb. This was a crushing blow on Prime Minister Suzuki who had hoped for the Russians help in signing a peace treaty.

Soon after the first bomb Truman said “This is the greatest thing in history.” Truman was extremely pleased with the results of the first bomb. This may have had an impact in the decision to drop the second bomb. Also as soon as he heard the news of the Soviet’s entry Truman sent the other bomb to Nagasaki. Had he seen the human devastation of Hiroshima he may have felt differently about repeating this terrible suffering.

America dropped both the bombs in such close succession in the attempt to cause maximum impact. As well as this they hoped to trick Japan into believing that they had more, readily available nuclear power. Which apparently they did have. A third bomb was in construction and would be available by late August 1945.

Another reason justifying the dropping of the bombs was that these two cities would have been fire bombed anyway. On the 9-10 March 334 B-29s raided Tokyo dropping around 1,700 tons of bombs. Around 16 square miles of the city was destroyed and over 100,000 people are estimated to have died in the fire storm. It was the most destructive conventional raid of the war against Japan. In the following two weeks there were almost 1,600 further sorties against the four cities, destroying 31 square miles in total at a cost of only 22 aircraft. This shows that if the nuclear bombs had not been dropped, and the cities had instead just been fire bombed, it may not have made such an immediate difference. In the past fire bombing had caused just as much death and destruction, just with a larger amount of American losses as well.

In hindsight we can safely say that the immediate use of the bomb convinced the world of its horror and prevented future use when nuclear stockpiles were far larger. There are definitely some arguments that show the use of the bomb in a positive light.

At the time Americans were full of emotion especially a strong hate towards the Japanese due to disgusting war crimes committed on the prisoners of war. Also, the fact that at the time Truman thought he was doing the right thing. He was hoping to end the war quickly and before the Soviets could get in and claim some of the land after all they had enough of central Europe. He made the decision to save American lives that would have been taken in a land invasion, he did it to keep the American people happy. Some say he did it, because he could.

There was also a lot of fate involved in the dropping of the bombs. Perhaps if Roosevelt had not unexpectedly died and Truman was not an inexperienced President a different conclusion may have been reached, however we can not assume this. President Roosevelt may have made the same decision. As well as this the bomb dropped on Nagasaki was originally sent to Kokura but due to bad weather they had to return to base. Via Nagasaki.

There were talks of having a demonstration bomb showing the effects, maybe dropping it in the harbour at Tokyo or off one of the island of Japan, somewhere that the Japanese would see how serious this was. A way that they could save a few lives but still get the surrender however they decided against this as they could not a afford to waste a bomb on demonstration.

In the minds of many the dropping of the atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki were at the least unjustified and to many were an act of a terrifying cruelty. Since the time of the bombs were used there has been a growing increase of opinion that the bomb should not have been used. At the time Japan was already on the verge of surrender and the two cities bombed were of a questionable military value. It is argued that America was inflexible in not changing its stance of “unconditional surrender” and that Truman was merely trying to justify the 2 billion dollar expenses. Finally after Hiroshima the Americans did not give sufficient time to the Japanese for surrender before dropping the second bomb.

Japan was ready to call it quits. More than sixty of its cities had already been destroyed by conventional bombing, the home islands were being blockaded by the American Navy, and the Soviet Union entered the war by attacking Japanese troops in Manchuria. With all of this up against Japan they were ready to surrender.

The Americans refused to modify its “unconditional surrender” demand. They were not prepared to take into account the fact that the Japanese would probably have surrendered within minutes of hearing the news that if they surrendered they would be allowed to keep their emperor. This needlessly prolonged Japan’s resistance. “The time has come when we must bear the unbearable… I swallow my own tears and give my sanction to the proposal to accept the Allied proclamation…” said the Emperor Hirohito. Eventually the Americans accepted the surrender without the Emperor losing his reign. The Americans allowed him to stay but they curtailed his powers.

If America had decided to demonstrate the power of the atomic bomb with an explosion over Tokyo harbor they would probably have convinced the Japanese leaders to surrender, this method of forcing the surrender would have caused perhaps the deaths of a couple of fish which would soon be turned into sushi anyway. It would certainly have been a better option than the one they decided upon causing 200,000 casualties.

Why was the second atomic bomb dropped on Nagasaki? Was it because this was a plutonium bomb whereas the Hiroshima bomb was a uranium bomb? Were the dead and irradiated of Nagasaki, as Professor Howard Zinn asks, ‘victims of a scientific experiment’? Even if the bombing of Hiroshima was necessary, the U.S. did not give nearly enough time for word to filter out of its devastation before bombing Nagasaki. Nor did the Americans give enough time for the Japanese to come to a decision of surrender or if they had of had time to make the decision then to get it across to the Americans before Nagasaki was to suffer.

After Presidents Frank Roosevelt and Harry Truman decided to allow two billion dollars for the costs of the research, construction and testing of the Atomic Bombs it would have been a bit hard to explain to the American people where all this money had been spent and why they did not drop the bomb after putting so much time, effort and money into it. After all a lot of the Americans hated the Japanese, many had suffered lost husbands, fathers and brothers, not to mention some of the women raped and killed by the Japanese. The bomb was used to justify the $2 billion spent on its development.

The two cities that were chosen targets, Hiroshima and Nagasaki were of limited military value. They had not had a particularly big influence on the war effort and were cities where civilians outnumbered troops, in Hiroshima it was six to one. The bomb exploded about 500 m above the ground and directly beneath it was a suburb of schools, factories, and private houses. Not quite the target you would expect if you wanted to ruin the cities military capabilities. Truman had said, “The world will note that the first atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima, a military base. That was because we wished in this first attack to avoid, insofar as possible, the killing of civilians.” This was simply untrue. Truman was lying. Those 100,000 killed immediately in Hiroshima were almost all civilians. The US Strategic Bombing Survey said in its official report: “Hiroshima and Nagasaki were chosen as targets because of their concentration of activities and population.”

Harry Truman was influenced in the making of his decision by the involvement of the Soviet Union. As British scientist P M S Blackett said in his book, “Fear, War, and the Bomb,” the United States was anxious to drop the bomb before the Russians entered the war against Japan. In other words, Blackett says, the dropping of the bomb was ‘the first major operation of the cold diplomatic war with Russia. American Historian, Gar Alperovitz, notes in his diary that Secretary of State James F Byrnes is “most anxious to get the Japanese affair over with before the Russians get in”.

Truman also wanted to show the Soviets that he had a weapon, a killing machine, one single bomb that could wipe out an entire city. As well as this the Soviets were entering the war in Manchuria and Truman did not want Stalin on the receiving end of any land claims after the war was finished. Basically Japanese lives were sacrificed simply for power and politics between the U.S. and the Soviet Union.

Finally the use of conventional bombing would have caused as much significant damage as dropping the Atomic bombs without making the U.S. the first nation in History to use nuclear weapons. Soon after World War Two the Cold War began and this was basically just an arms race between Russia and the U.S.A, Both countries wanting to have more nuclear power than the other.

In conclusion, due to the exaggeration of casualty figures by Harry Truman, a foreseeable Japanese collapse, and an evasion of peace negotiations, dropping the atomic bomb was not a justified act. The main argument put forward by Truman that the atomic bomb saved a million American lives is weak, as a more tactful route would have accomplished the same means without having to sacrifice a single life.

It has also been proven that the Japanese were already on the verge of collapse, and that American intrusion merely hastened an inevitable surrender a few months later. When compared with other options, the use of the atomic bomb seems to have had the most negative as well as the most unreasonable effect. Truman’s true motives for bombing Hiroshima and Nagasaki may never be fully understood as we can not get inside the heads of the decision makers. Hopefully soon instead of people wondering how many American lives were saved by the use of the bomb they might question how many innocent Japanese women and children were killed through these clinical acts of violence.

Finally after close examination of both sides of the argument, from the strongest supporters of the bomb who have wanted it for revenge as well as some very strong points on the other side of the argument where we see an overwhelming amount of information telling us that these acts were cruel and unjustified. I think that even if one can see that there was some good in the bombing of Hiroshima and that it could be argued that it was necessary there was certainly no excusing the events that took place on the 9th of August in Nagasaki.

I finish this argument with a quote from the British Prime Minister, Winston Churchill.

“With ninety percent of Japans shipping sunk or disabled her Air and Sea forces crippled, her industries wrecked, her peoples food supplies shrinking fast her collapse was certain.”

The dropping of the atomic bombs on Japan Essay

Legacy of the Samurai Essay

Legacy of the Samurai Essay.

For seven centuries, the samurai ruled Japan as the powerful warrior class. As a class of warriors and knights, they led society in feudal Japan. The loyalty to his lord was much more important than his allegiance to his friends, family and even the emperor. Their philosophy was one liberated him from fear, and for these reasons, the samurai came to be the dominate force throughout medieval Japan.

War played a central part in the history of Japanese samurai. As regional clans gathered manpower, resources and struck alliances with each other, they formed a hierarchy centered around a toryo, or chief.

This chief was typically a relative of the emperor and a member of one of the two dominating clan families of the pre-samurai era. Though they were originally sent to regional areas for a fixed four year term as a magistrate, the toryo usually declined to return to the capital when their terms ended. Their sons inherited their positions instead and continued to lead the clans in suppressing rebellion throughout Japan during the middle and later Heian period.

(Cook 24) One main reason why conflict between clans was so predominant was because they were typically started as a result of land ownership. Only a fifth of Japan’s land was suitable for agriculture. The struggle for control of land eventually gave rise to the samurai class.

The samurai eventually became a class unto themselves between the 9th and 12th centuries A.D. They were called by two names: samurai which means “knights” and bushi which means “warriors”. The samurai came from guards of the imperial palace and from private guards that the clans employed. They also acted as a police force in and around Kyoto. These forerunners of what we now know as samurai had ruler-sponsored equipment and were required to hone their martial skills. They gave complete loyalty to their daimyo (feudal landowner) and received land and position in return. Each daimyo used his samurai to protect his land and to expand his power and rights to more land.

The first samurai were servants, yet their advantage of being the sole armed party increasingly became apparent. By promising protection and gaining political clout through political marriages they amassed power, eventually surpassing the ruling aristocrats. (Kure 10-12)

In the late 12th century, the two most powerful clans served the emperor of Japan: the Taira clan, and the Minamoto clan. These two families became bitter rivals, and in 1192, Minamoto Yoritomo led his clan to victory over the Taira. The emperor, the traditional head of the Japanese government, declared Minamoto Yoritomo shogun, the head of the military. However, Yoritomo used his new power to strip the emperor of all political power, make his position as shogun permanent, and set up a military dictatorship known as bakufu. So, the samurai went from being servants of the land-owning daimyos to being the rulers of Japan under the shogun. (Dean 21)

Over time, powerful samurai clans became warrior nobility, who were only technically under the court aristocracy. When the samurai began to adopt aristocratic pastimes like calligraphy, poetry and music, some court aristocrats in turn began to adopt samurai customs. (Dean 22) In spite of various scheming and brief periods of rule by various emperors, real power was now in the hands of the shogun and the samurai. The reign of the samurai lasted until the late 19th century.

The image of the samurai that is probably most well-known is that of a sword expert, brandishing his curved katana with deadly skill. However, for the first few centuries of their existence, samurai were better known as horse-riding archers. Firing a bow while riding a horse was a demanding task, and mastering it required years of relentless practice. Some archers practiced on targets tethered to a pole, which could be swung to make a moving target. For a time, living dogs were used as moving archery targets, until the shogun abolished the malicious practice. (Turnbull 45) The amount and form of a samurai’s training depended on the wealth of his family.

In lower-class families, sons were sometimes sent to village schools for basic education, but they received most of their samurai training from their fathers, older brother, or uncles. Training in martial arts was considered very important, and often began at age five. Sons of wealthy families were sent to special academies, where they were tutored in literature, the arts, and military skills. (Daidoji, Ratti, and Cleary 6-10) Swordsmanship was taught in a similarly relentless manner.

The most recognized weapon of the samurai throughout history was the katana. The oldest swords were straight and had their early design in Korea and China. A katana was never worn without its companion sword, the wakizashi; it was a shorter sword with a broader blade. Together the two swords are referred to as daisho, meaning “large and small.” The word dai (large) represents the katana and the word sho (small) represents the wakizashi. The smiths who created the katana for the samurai are widely regarded as the finest sword makers in history. (Daidoji, Ratti, and Cleary 42) The samurai’s desire for tougher, sharper swords in battle gave rise to the curved blade. One of the biggest problems in making a sword is keeping it sharp. A weapon made with a hard metal will keep its edge, but will be brittle and prone to breaking.

Japanese sword smiths solved this problem by making the core of the sword with a soft metal that wouldn’t break. This core was then covered with layers of harder metals that were repeatedly folded and hammered until there were literally millions of layers of metal laminated together. The edge was so sharp that a skilled swordsman could slice a human in half with one blow. Upon completion, the sword tester took the new blade and cut through the bodies of corpses or condemned criminals. They started by cutting through the small bones of the body and moved up to the large bones. Test results were often recorded on the nakago (the metal piece attaching the sword blade to the handle). The samurai often gave names to their swords and believed it was the soul of their warriorship. (Sato 28-33)

In addition to swords and bows, samurai used a variety of bladed-pole arms. One of the more common Japanese pole arms was the naginata, which consisted of a sharp blade two to four feet in length mounted on a wooden shaft that was four to five feet long. The extra reach afforded by these weapons allowed infantry to hold attackers at bay, or make a first strike before an attacker with a sword could reach them. They were also very effective against mounted opponents. (Kure 170) A big change occurred in the late 15th century because of the consistency of war and the introduction of guns into battle.

In the 16th century, European traders arrived in Japan for the first time. The Japanese paid large sums for their matchlock guns, quickly mastering the smithing techniques needed to mass produce the weapons. Although the gun is not traditionally associated with samurai, it was a major influence on Japanese warfare from that point on, allowing daimyos to raise large armies of relatively untrained men armed with cheap guns. Many samurai adopted the unreliable weapons, which were best used as a backup to the more trustworthy sword. (Turnbull 73) The sword played a very key role in the methods and philosophies of the samurai. Without the samurai “bushido”, they would be considered by modern terms to be heartless killers.

Bushido means “way of the warrior”. It was at the heart of the beliefs and conduct of the samurai. The philosophy of bushido is “freedom from fear.” It meant that the samurai transcended his fear of death. That gave him the peace and power to serve his daimyo faithfully, loyally and die honorably if necessary. Duty is a primary philosophy of the samurai. In order for the samurai to truly be able to serve his purpose, death must be ignored. An excerpt from _Code of the Samurai_ exemplifies this ideology:

_”One who is a samurai must before all things keep constantly in mind…the fact that he has to die. If he is always mindful of this, he will be able to live in accordance with the paths of loyalty and filial duty, will avoid myriads of evils and adversities, keep himself free of disease and calamity and moreover enjoy a long life. He will also be a fine personality with many admirable qualities. For existence is impermanent as the dew of evening, and the hoarfrost of morning, and particularly uncertain is the life of the warrior…”_


Religiously, Zen Buddhism spread among samurai in the 13th century and helped to shape their standards of conduct, particularly overcoming fear of death and killing, but among the general populace Pure Land Buddhism was predominant. (Kure 12)

Honor was so important to the samurai that they would frequently take their own lives in the face of failure, or if they had violated bushido. This honor-bound suicide became very ritualized, taking the form of seppuku. Also known by the more popular phrase hara-kiri, seppuku was a way for a samurai to restore honor to his lord and family, and to fulfill his obligation of loyalty even if he had failed as a samurai. (May 2)

Ritualized seppuku involved the samurai wearing the proper garments while he was presented with the ritual knife, wrapped in paper. The samurai would then take the knife and cut open his own stomach, from left to right, with a final upward cut at the end. However, seppuku was not a solitary act, and few samurai were left to die a slow and excruciating death from disembowelment. Another samurai would typically stand behind the one committing seppuku, and behead him with a sharp sword shortly after the seppuku cut was made to spare him from unnecessary suffering. (May 3)

The original motivations for this method of death may well have been purely practical. Cutting off one’s own head is impossible, and the spirit was felt to reside in the stomach, slitting the belly open was felt to be the most straightforward (if not quickest) way to die and free the spirit. (May 5) Although, seppuku may seem crude in modern day society, it was the only way to regain one’s honor, and looked upon as honorable even after the samurai’s decline towards the end of the 19th century.

The role of the samurai during peacetime gradually declined, but two key factors led to the demise of samurai: the urbanization of Japan, and the end of isolationism. As more Japanese citizens moved to the larger urban centers of Japan, there were fewer farmers producing the necessary rice to feed the growing population. The lavish lifestyle enjoyed by the shoguns and most daimyos started to eat away at the economic system. Many Japanese, including lower class samurai, grew dissatisfied with the shogunate because of the deteriorating economic circumstances. (Dean 37)

In 1853, U.S. ships sailed into Edo Bay with Commodore Matthew Perry at the helm, intending to deliver a message from President Millard Fillmore to the emperor. Although the emperor was still considered a figurehead, the shogun truly ruled the country. President Fillmore’s message was clear. He wanted to open trade relations with Japan, he wanted shipwrecked U.S. sailors to be treated properly by Japanese soldiers and citizens, and he wanted to open Japanese seaports as a resupply stations for American ships. (Kure 167-9)

In Perry’s wake, a rift divided opposing views in Japan. Some wanted to reject the American offer, continue with isolationism, and maintain their ancient traditions. Others, however, realized that Japan could never defend their country when faced with the better technology of the western civilizations. They proposed opening the gates of Japan with the intention of learning everything they could from the Americans, terminating isolationism and becoming a stronger world power. Ultimately, the bakufu decided to open Japanese seaports for American resupply, and later decided to establish trade with America. (Avakian 41)

The emperor initially refused to approve to the treaty’s conditions, but because he was merely the face of Japanese government, the bakufu went ahead with the treaty anyway. Several factions of rebellious samurai wanted Japan to stay the same, and therefore supported the emperor and began a civil war against the bakufu. To much surprise, they overthrew the shogun, ending the Tokugawa period and restoring the emperor to his rightful power. Lower class samurai took positions of leadership within the administration, controlling the government from behind the new emperor, a young man by the name of Emperor Meiji. This event is known as the Meiji Restoration. (Avakian 43-48)

Throughout Japan at the time, the samurai numbered 1.9 million. The samurai in Japan were not merely the lords, but also their higher retainers, people who actually worked. With each samurai being paid fixed stipends, the upkeep presented an immense financial burden, which provoked the emperor and his oligarchy to act accordingly. Whatever their true intentions, the oligarchs started a slow and deliberate process to abolish the samurai class. First, in 1873, it was proclaimed that the samurai stipends were to be taxed on a rolling basis. Later, in 1874, the samurai were given the choice to convert their stipends into government bonds. Finally, in 1876, this option of conversion was made obligatory. (Avakian 49-54)

Finally, in 1876, the emperor banned samurai from wearing their swords, leading to the creation of a drafted standing army. The final bell had tolled for the samurai — they no longer existed. Not surprisingly, this led to a series of riots from disgruntled samurai. One of the major riots, the Satsuma rebellion, eventually turned into a civil war. This rebellion was, however, put down swiftly by the newly created imperial army The new army was trained in Western tactics and utilized more advanced weapons. Ironically, the core of the new army was the Tokyo Police force, which was formed largely of former samurai who had helped the emperor regain his empire. This sent a strong message to the nonconformist, rebellious samurai that their time was indeed up. (Kure 172-174)

The samurai continue to impress, and serve as a model for obedience, reverence, and loyalty on so many different scales. The incredibly rich heritage provided by this elite class of warrior leaders can be linked to the foundations of numerous facets of the life we lead today. Although the samurai cease to exist, their spirit of honor and discipline has found a home in modern times. From the kamikaze pilots of Japan in World War II, to martial artists and even modern businessman who look to bushido as a guide to living an honorable life, samurai continue to positively influence Japan today.


Avakian, Monique. The Meiji Restoration and the Rise of Modern Japan. Boston: Silver Burdett, 1991. 38-54.

Cook, Harry. Samurai: the Story of a Warrior Tradition. New York: Sterling, 1998. 22-35.

Yuzan Daidoji, Oscar Ratti, and Thomas Cleary. The Code of the Samurai. Boston: Tuttle, 1999. 10-44.

Dean, Arlan. Samurai: Warlords of Japan. New York: Scholastic Library, 2005. 19-37.

Kure, Mitsuo. Samurai: An Illustrated History. Boston: Tuttle Publishing, 2001. 10-179.

May, Nick. “Seppuku – a Practical Guide.” Gaijin Gleaner (1997): 1-5. 1 Dec. 2006 .

Sato, Kanzan. The Japanese Sword: A Comprehensive Guide. New York: Kodansha International, Ltd., 1983. 28-80

Turnbull, Stephen. Samurai Warfare. New York: Sterling, 1996. 44-73.

Yamamoto, Tsunetomo, and William S. Wilson. Hagakure: the Book of the Samurai. Tokyo: Kodansha America, 1983. 17-65.

Legacy of the Samurai Essay