A brief overview of Japan's Development
Japan has had an interesting history of development as the country has greatly oscillated between the idea of foreign influence and the belief in a solely Japanese based culture. As far back as several millenia ago, the nation of Japan has felt the effect of exoctic influence via the foreign skills and techniques that many settlers brought with them during colonization periods. Key individuals throughout Japan's history further cemented this trend of cultural diffusion by allowing imported ideas to prosper within the nation. Prince Shotoku, for example, is considered one of the leading crusaders for the early Buddhist movement throughout Japan. Through his political power, Shotoku helped infuse the Indian religion into Japanese culture and fostered new forms of thinking throughout the nation. Interestingly enough, Japan has seen periods of cultural resilience throughout its history. Starting at around the eigth century, Japan began to greatly resist cultural constructs that were not native to the country. Furthermore, even the trends that did remain, like the foreign Buddhist religion, were molded and shaped to better suit Japanese culture. This trend of foregin influence and resilience has gone on for many centuries, with some particular incidents standing out. For instance, around the sixteenth century, Portugese traders imported mechanical firearms into the nation, while Jesuit missionaries preached the gospel to the isolated nation of Japan. Following this period, Japan again oscillated between the two aformentioned concepts, until around the mid-ninteenth century when the American naval officer Matthew Perry forced the nation to sign a treaty. This incident was significant as it signified Japan's decline in national seclusion and showed that the country was capable of making relations with nations in a more modern world. What followed was Japan's increased involvement in worldly affairs- supporting foreign endeavors, like those of World War I, on multiple occasions. Finally, the atomic bombings on Japanese cities of Nagasaki and Hiroshima stand as a great testament to foreign influence on Japan. The bombings, which greatly signaled the end of World War II, left the country vulnerable and open to foreign change. Allied forces jumped at this chance and shaped the nation to better survive in a modern world via a new governmental structure and changes to cultural values.
Heading Photo Source: Hokusai, K. (Photographer). (n.d.). The great wave off kanagawa. [Print Photo]. Retrieved from http://multimedia.uga.edu/media/images/Hokusai.jpg