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Qing China and Tokugawa Japan respond to the coming of the Europeans

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How did Qing China and Tokugawa Japan respond to the coming of the Europeans, and what explains the differences? What impact did European contacts have on these two East Asian civilizations through the end of the eighteenth century? China under the Ming and early Qing dynasties reached its cultural peak and was much admired by its neighbors as well as Europeans. The Tokugawa shogunate in Japan forged a more centralized and powerful government. All three societies were undergoing internal changes; these changes were in part by contact with the west. Portuguese traders first sailed into Chinese and Japanese ports in the early sixteenth century and were initially welcomed by native leaders. As western ideas and values began to penetrate these traditional societies, however, local leaders chose to close off contact with the west. This closing did not stop the cultural changes. During the Ming and Qing dynasties, China was still not fully formed. Most people were still farmers. The largest religious influence on China was from Christian missionaries. The Christians destroyed local monuments and turned shrines into Christian schools. The arrival of Western imperialism not only encouraged economic change but may have been over involved with the change. This may have led to population explosion that could have threatened society. This effects their harvesting for food and spread of diseases. After conflict over land boarders and customs between Russia and China, the two countries established diplomatic relations and began regular trade. The emperor found the European clock to be a much better way of keeping time than china’s way. Europeans also introduced tobacco, spectacles, and cotton. As well as new crops from Americas such as peanuts, sweet potatoes and maize. They also copied some of the European architecture by building castles.

Although the economy changed, families in China still followed Ming and Qing traditional patterns. The role of men is to inherit the family rituals and the role of women had always been inferior to that of men. The society and economy of Japan change during the Tokugawa era. Unification of Japan was simultaneous with coming of Europeans. To decrease in population, husbands and wives are warned that their heirs will not have any property, encouraged people in having late marriages, and using the abortion method. A change that impacted Japanese people was the increased power of the government. The Europeans had a problem with interfering in the local politics. Japan purchased many European weapons and armaments, along with guns with gunpowder. Japan traded silk with Portugal for silver, but to begin with visitors were welcomed. Along with these changes Europe introduced their art and poetry into society. Despite the new changes in Japanese economic system, the role of men is more of having as much freedom as they can get. They can have as many partners while the women were expected to remain faithful.. Korea was influenced by the Chinese model and attempt to have its society live similarly like them. The Japanese, however, had a disastrous impact on Korean society.

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