19th/20th century Asian expansionism?

Fantasus

Ad Honorem
Jan 2012
2,381
Northern part of European lowland
#1
What I have in mind is the period after European powers and USA by use of force "opened" the larger parts of Asia, until late 20th. century. The "expansive" or "imperialist" powers were those mentioned, but then also at least the Japanese until 1945. Who else? Has some modern nationalist, not from Japan also adopted expansionist dreams and practices? As far as they have existed (here some movements more based upon religion than nationality may be included), how then did they differ from the European ones?
 
Nov 2017
789
Commune
#2
There really isn't anyone else but Japan*. Every other Asian power was just losing territory after territory to the West, and in the era of nationalism in the Cold War, fragmentation rather than expansion is what happened.





*As an aside, I love how Western historians emphasise Japanese imperialism, it definitely makes them feel much better about themselves and lets them sleep at night with the knowledge that the West isn't the only colonialist civilisation, even though Japan was reacting to Western imperialism and Westerners were the ones who gave Japan the capacity to expand to begin with, making Japan, like Noam Chomsky said, just as much a part of the "West" or "Europe".
 

Fantasus

Ad Honorem
Jan 2012
2,381
Northern part of European lowland
#3
When the "western" powers - some of them, were expanding in the Asian region and we find Japan did as well, I think it is only appropriate that historians deal with it. Why should they not?
And so far as there are other "Asians" with expansionist agendas they should be studied as well, though the later may be too recent a topic to be dealt with here (though I am not sure about ideas of "pan Turkism", modern Islamism and the like).
 

Naomasa298

Forum Staff
Apr 2010
31,009
T'Republic of Yorkshire
#5
They were trying to recover territories that had historically been vassals or tributaries, and had been conceded to the French.
 

sparky

Ad Honorem
Jan 2017
2,567
Sydney
#6
The story is even older than that , the French tried to invade Siam ( Thailand) in 1688 during Louis XIV reign ,it was a miserable failure
they also invaded Korea in 1866 one year before the US did .
The Asian expansion seems to have been a self defense against predatory Europeans by acquiring modern weaponry and state structure
of course a certain amount of local claims and grievances would have played a part
Japan hadn't waited for the great age of colonies to shove the sharp stick up Korean's pride and the relations of Siam , Burma and Kmers
were a soap opera by themselves while the Vietnamese were not to disturbed in some coastal hegemony over the montagnard and Laos
 
#7
First you need to know why Japan, not the more advanced nations of china and korea before the meiji restoration, went ahead with expansionism. We all know Ming china had a grand fleet that reached Africa but their primary mission was exchange gifts, make some friends (tributaries, according to the Ming court), and come back. That is because confucianism dictated that the Great Nation should treat other nations with respect and dignity, not conquer and destroy.

Trade was shunned by confucianism, so where european mindset would see ports that needed controlling, chinese only saw tributaries to give and recieve annual gifts from.

Korea followed the confucian spirit and tributary system in a smaller scale when dealing with Japan and Manchus. Their main objective was to civilize the raiders and pirates, not enslave them. The conquest of Tsushima eradicated the pirates, but left the autonomy of Tushima intact, albeit a tributary of Joseon Korea, and granted exclusive trading rights that made Tsushima wealthy.

Japan even in 16th century learned from the Dutch about the empires that Spanish and Portuguese were carving for themselves and Japan made plans to rival the Spanish empire. They wanted to conquer China, India, Phillipines, and eventually Europe. But Admiral Yi Sun Shin prevented a sea supply and reinforcement route and what is otherwise a very powerful samurai and gunpowder army was defeated at Korea.

After Japans defeat in Imjin war, Tokugawa threw out the imperial ambitions of hideyoshi and fell in line to the Confucian order. Just think about it in medieval times, whoever was victorious in battle proved that their philosophy was right. Since the Ming Joseon alliance won the war, itnwas evident that Confucianism was superior to Mercantilism, at least in the eyes of Japan. Japan enjoyed 250 years of peace and had no use for weapons so guns were banned.

But once again Matthew perry arrived with gunships and broke that dream of confucian utopia with a single cannon shot. Now Japan tried testing the East Asian order again with modern weapons. Korea opened up after the Japanese gunship opened fire at a fort, similar to how Perry did, and Japan won the Sino Japanese war, so the idea of imperialism prevailed.
 

Tulius

Ad Honorem
May 2016
3,990
Portugal
#8
To the question “19th/20th century Asian expansionism?”, I would pose other question: There an Asian expansion in the 19th century? When and how?

Japan even in 16th century learned from the Dutch
Didn’t the Dutch only arrived to Japan in the 17th century (well… technically the year of 1600 is still in the 16th)?

My point is not the error in the century, but that the Japanese learned much with the Macao/Manilla (Portuguese/Spanish) rivalry (even if they had the same king), they didn’t needed the Dutch to learn that.
 

sparky

Ad Honorem
Jan 2017
2,567
Sydney
#9
"Japan enjoyed 250 years of peace and had no use for weapons so guns were banned."

I would think Japanese peasants would have had some use for Guns
for the Samurai caste , having only professional trained fellows warriors to deal with was better than some populist insurrection
 
Dec 2011
1,215
#10
First you need to know why Japan, not the more advanced nations of china and korea before the meiji restoration, went ahead with expansionism. We all know Ming china had a grand fleet that reached Africa but their primary mission was exchange gifts, make some friends (tributaries, according to the Ming court), and come back. That is because confucianism dictated that the Great Nation should treat other nations with respect and dignity, not conquer and destroy.
Japan was more development than both China and Korea long before the Meiji period. Furthermore, China was exceptionally expansionist under the Qing.
 

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