China and Japan have both been the objects for comparison throughout the years perhaps due to their similarities of culture and sovereignty as Asian nations which were never colonised. They were however put under the same pressures as other colonised Southeast Asian states and were diversely affected by the West. It is not accurate to claim that China "did the right thing" by preserving more culture in the statement, whereas Japan was wrong in adopting Westernisation earlier whilst losing much of her cultural heritage in the process. This essay aims to analyse the benefits and ill-effects brought by Westernisation as a whole, in relation to a wider range of issues including politics, military and economy while focusing on the central theme of culture and whether the maintenance of culture proved beneficial. The attitudes towards Westernisation of both countries would also be compared in relation to their various reactions.
Japan, like China's relations with the West began with minor trading. It reacted strongly towards the West only when missionaries started propagating Catholicism. Retaliation came by the execution of missionaries, local converts and the total expulsion of Westerners when Japan adopted a closed door policy similar to China. Like China, Japan was proud and conservative but in contrast, possessed a more willing and rational attitude to learn from other countries, even foreign. Japanese ports were opened to trade after intimidation by American naval power under Commodore Matthew Perry in 1853. Although Japan had wanted to repel the Americans, she decided against it, as had earlier witnessed the superiority of Western military power when the mighty Chinese fleet was humiliated in battle during the Opium War of 1840. The Japanese thus swallowed their pride with compliance to Western demands while attempting to strengthen themselves alongside the West.
China on the other hand greatly opposed Westernizatio…