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OSPKYOTO 25: Japan and China in the Early Modern World

Japan and China during their transition to modernity, in the context of successive waves of interaction and globalization. By the 16th century, when Europeans reached East Asia, China's Ming Dynasty and Japan's Muromachi Shogunate ruled over two of the most populous, urbanized, and sophisticated societies in the world with China the superior regional power. In the late 19th century, that longstanding status quo was abruptly upended. European and American steamships dominated the Pacific, China was in the throes of social and political upheaval, and Japan had begun its modernization and march to empire. Using short primary sources (fiction, memoirs, and historical documents) and field trips, we will study the dynamics of Japanese and Chinese societies, highlighting connections and contrasts, as well as the impact that each has had on the other. How did Sino-Japanese relations in the early modern era lay the foundations for the current fraught relationship between these two East Asian po more »
Japan and China during their transition to modernity, in the context of successive waves of interaction and globalization. By the 16th century, when Europeans reached East Asia, China's Ming Dynasty and Japan's Muromachi Shogunate ruled over two of the most populous, urbanized, and sophisticated societies in the world with China the superior regional power. In the late 19th century, that longstanding status quo was abruptly upended. European and American steamships dominated the Pacific, China was in the throes of social and political upheaval, and Japan had begun its modernization and march to empire. Using short primary sources (fiction, memoirs, and historical documents) and field trips, we will study the dynamics of Japanese and Chinese societies, highlighting connections and contrasts, as well as the impact that each has had on the other. How did Sino-Japanese relations in the early modern era lay the foundations for the current fraught relationship between these two East Asian powers? Confucianism, and the Chinese model of statecraft, which can be seen in the temples and other historical sites of Kyoto, as well as in the layout of the city (modeled on the Tang capital of Chang'an). By the 16th century, when European merchants and missionaries first reached East Asia, the Ming Empire and the Muromachi Shogunate comprised two of the most populous, urbanized, economically advanced, and culturally sophisticated societies in the world-with China clearly the superior regional power. By the early twentieth century, that status quo had been turned on its head. European and American steamships now dominated the Pacific, China was in the throes of social and political upheaval, and Japan had begun its modernization and march to empire. Japan's defeat of China in 1895 marked its debut as a major power; soon Japan would seize Korea and begin encroaching on China's Manchurian territories. Using textual sources (fiction, memoirs, and historical documents in English translation), as well as field trips to historical sites and museums, we will study the historical dynamics of Japanese and Chinese societies during these centuries, highlighting their connections and contrasts, as well as the profound impact that each has had on the other. How did Sino-Japanese relations in the early modern era lay the foundations for the current fraught relationship between these two East Asian powers?
Terms: Aut | Units: 4 | UG Reqs: WAY-EDP, WAY-SI
Instructors: Sommer, M. (PI)
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