A Modern History Of Japan: From Tokugawa Times To The Present

Japan is one of the countries that started flourishing in the 15th century. After periods of long isolation, the culture has been cherished by a new ruling class of warriors – the samurai.

The samurai warriors are probably what most of the people think about when Japan is mentioned. However, there is more to the story of samurai warriors than just men with swords and specific skills.

From Samurais To Warriors To A Leading Economy


For example, Oda Nobunaga was one of the most famous and successful samurai warrior. He is known for conquering numerous other warlords and (almost) unifying the country when he was assassinated (1582). Years after that, Tokugawa Ieyasu defeated all of his rival clans, becoming the best samurai in the Battle of Sekigahara (1600) and was therefore appointed as shogun, which literally meant ruler of Japan.

The shogunate of Tokugawa set the backbone of Japan, which became an isolationist (locked) country with a policy that spanned the two and half centuries of political period known as the Edo period.

This was present up until 1854, when the US Navy forced the opening of Japan to the outside world – leading to the Boshin War and the establishment of a centralized state known under the name of the Emperor (Meiji Restoration).

The Meiji Restoration period is when Japan entered a new industrialized revolution. From then, the country began to expand the nation’s sphere of influence and became an industrialized world power.

On December 7th 1941, Japan attacked the US naval base in Pearl Harbor, which is to date one of the most deadly attacks that the US military has suffered. This act brought the US into the World War II, after which the USA, UK and Netherlands all declared war on Japan.

As soon as the war began, there were many attempts to break Japan and its military. The last ones occurred with the devastating atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945, when Japan surrendered and lost millions of lives, leaving much of the country’s industry and infrastructure destroyed.

After the end of WWII and after working extremely hard to rebuild everything that was lost during the war, Japan achieved exceptional growth. As such, it became one of the world’s most powerful economies in the 1980. Even though the country stepped into a major economic crisis in the 1990s (from which the country hasn’t yet recovered), Japan is now a strong force and a strong country where industrialization (again) flourishes.

The Japanese Culture:One Of The Most Fascinating Things About The Country


The people in Japan are known as disciplined and well-behaving. This has a lot to do with the religion in Japan, which is basically consisting of Shintoism and Buddhism. Even though religion does not play a major role in the lives of Japanese people, it is still a backbone that makes the Japanese vastly different from Western people.

Japan is known for its strict code of behavior, discipline and politeness. When entering a Japanese home or restaurant, shoes must be removed – and a vague ‘yes’ does not always mean ‘yes’. Table manners are extremely important, although Japanese hosts are very tolerant towards visitors, tourists and everyone interested in their culture.

A Final Word

In the end, many agree that Japan is the world’s most unique country. Despite the tough times, wars and natural disasters that occurred throughout history, the country has always had a reputation for its distinctive culture and unique tradition.

It all begins with the behavior, continues with the infrastructure and ends with the traditions and festivals – which play a huge role in the happiness and well-being of Japanese people.

You can read more by reading this book: A Modern History of Japan: From Tokugawa Times to the Present

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