Comparison Of Tokugawa And Manchu Essay

980 words - 4 pages

Although the Manchus in China and the Tokugawa in Japan during the 17th and 18th centuries consolidated power into a central authority differently, their reasons for doing so were relatively similar, both being due to a certain internal conflict and their location relative to other empires.
During the 17th and 18th centuries, the Chinese and Japanese faced much internal conflict, but while China faced a combination of economic setbacks and political weakness, the Japanese were riddled with wars along their countryside. First, the Chinese emperor was too weak in comparison to his bureaucracy, which ended up making most of the decisions for the last Ming dynasty emperor. This was due to the emperor’s realization that having a title as Son of Heaven did not mean he had all the power of the empire. Instead he lived a laid back life where the bureaucrats vied for power and wealth amongst themselves and he merely managed them. Like the Chinese, the Japanese also saw elites battling it out for power, but this time on the battlefield with armies of samurai. These battles put Japan in a period much like the Warring States period in early Chinese history, where families fought and fought for power almost endlessly. The political weakness in China contributed to its economic failure as well. With no force to manage to seas, pirates were free to raid trade ships and villages along the coast line, weakening the Chinese economy that relied on a transport system to supply the country. These two major forces led to China’s fragmentation and eventual takeover by the Manchu. In contrast, the battles happening in Japan were not harmful to the economy as much as they were in China. This is due to the fact that the Japanese daimyos were independent and had peasants that could supply them with the resources they needed. The state of one realm rarely affected another due to this independence. Whether financial or political, the Manchus and the Tokugawa had much internal conflict to deal with before they could consolidate power into their empire.
In addition, China and Japan had differing geographic profiles, where Japan was isolated as an island and China was part of the mainland, which led to different factors such as wars or trade. China was part of the mainland, accessible by both land and sea. This exposed China’s borders greatly as there was much land and coast to protect, leading to consequent invasion. On the other hand, Japan was isolated as an island, only accessible by sea. This protected Japan by leaving only the coast to protect from invaders, and almost a lack of invaders. They did not have to deal with nomads in the north and west or rising empires in the south, but rather shared a common awareness with China for Russia. Both feared Russia and Europeans as well because of the new rise of their empires and their expeditions to China and Japan. Japan feared the Russians because they were...

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