East Asian Study

East Asian Study

Discussion Questions

  1. What was the role of Yukichi Fukuzawa in the Westernization of Japan?
  2. What was the importance of Japanese student in the transformation of the country?
  3. What is the role of a language in the transfer of culture?
  4. Reason the West was interested in China?
  5. What was the impact of early exploration?

Fukuzawa played a leading role in transforming a feudal state into a fully-fledged modern country. In early 1800, Japan practiced small scaled farming as well as supplementary tradition method of production that characterized the East Asian countries. Nonetheless, due to Fukuzawa effort, the Japanese were exposed to the way of the west and new way of doing a thing. This threatens the status quo who vehemently bade for Fukuzawa blood (Yukichi 225). Thus, there was a mutual demand between the West and the East to exchange raw material for goods and knowledge.

The Dancing Girl was the first book written by Japanese, Mori Ogai. In his book Ogai narrates his experiences while working as a medical student in Berlin (Ogai 6).  Thus, it is through his view of the Germans culture that he describes the ways of European people and their culture. Therefore, his peers learned the Western culture through the eyes of Ogai. This contributed to the shift in some traditions back home in readiness of the western way of life. The short story teaches of the importance of education over romance.

The increased population in American and European countries resulted in increased demand for goods in East Asia. For instance, there was a high demand for Chinese tea, silk, and decorative goods. This made for the crash of the Western and Eastern culture. Further, to ensure that they had an easy inroad in Asia the European and American sailors sponsored student to study at their universities, colleges and other institution of learning (Spence 112).



Works Cited

Kiyooka, Eiichi. The Autobiography of Fukuzawa Yukichi. New York: Columbia University Press, 2011.

Maeda, Ai and Fujii, James. Text and the City: Essays on Japanese Modernity. M Ogai ‘Maihime’ The Dancing Girl. Berlin: Duke University Press, 2004.

Spence, Jonathan. The Search for Modern China. New York: W.W Norton, 1999.

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