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Economic Development of Japan: An Essay

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Poverty has no root cause. Success is the one that has. Heat is analogically a result of active processes; it has sources. But cold is not a result of such processes; it is just the absence of heat. Simply put, the great cold of economic stagnation is just the absence of economic development. Economic development transforms basic, low-income, national economies into modern industrialized economies by a dynamic interaction within local and foreign systems. The question now is not whether to integrate, but rather how does one effectively and efficiently integrate?

The word ‘development’ does not mean ‘catching up with the highly industrialized countries’. Most of every individual misinterprets economic development as a race. Development isn’t just externally motivated to some extent it is also internally driven. Japan went through a lot of peaks and valleys yet manages to stay on top after a long time. Although, Japan from the past has different manifestation from its present economy, both old and new elements coincide flexibly. Given their multi-layered identity, depending on the present or existing circumstances, different characteristics of the Japanese people and their economy can surface.

In the 19th century, Japan was classified as one of the weak countries in various aspects. Japan had a difficulty in industrializing its economy, yet according to Dr. Tadao Umesao, a Japanese anthropologist, somehow Japan succeeded albeit those struggles. He stated that the traditional view of Japan succeeded as a backward country, a country that does not have modern industries and machines, is incorrect as it is also later on proved after the post-war era until the present days.

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During the Edo period, the foundation for the future industrialization and modernization were formed. From political unity and stability, applying the class society ruled by samurais, farmers, craftsmen, and merchants respectively. And a centralized system of the government having daimyos pledged loyalty to shogun and disobedience is not tolerated with ritual suicide and family termination are done as a punishment. Furthermore, Han’s promotion of local industries, development of agriculture and handicraft, transportation, finance, commerce, and education are also upgraded resulting in to increase in power and also cultural development, all under the government of the Tokugawa Shogun.

Moreover, in the Meiji period, a total switch to foreign systems occur which happens to be the way in modernizing Japan’s economy. From Tokugawa (Edo period) to the Meiji period, Japan transitioned to being the first Asian industrialized nation. With a strong government under an emperor and Fukoku Kyohei – a slogan meaning ‘rich country and strong army’, Japan adopted the open-door policy, rapid Westernization and industrialization supported by the government. Japan hires foreign advisors from hundreds in any year to decrease in officially contracted foreigners and an increase in private hired ones to teach English in universities.

Despite the succeeding modernization and pre-war era, it is predicted that there would be a huge bonanza to the Japanese economy. Given the severe shortages of high-quality machines and industrial materials, Japan succeeds as the global demand shifts. This is because their products, despite its quality, could be a substitute for the European products which became unavailable during the post-war era. Japan studied its strengths and weaknesses well enough which led to recognizing their opportunities and preventing threats to their growing economy. Because of the sharp rise in demand, Japan manages to get out of the pre-WWI balance-of-payment crisis.

Nowadays, industrialization is more dynamic and transferable with great leadership and ideas, there are various efficient ways in developing an economy that is fitted in a certain country. Japan did a great job of accepting their flaws and used it to improve upon themselves. Starting internally to externally being influenced and be an influence on the other developing countries. Nevertheless, Japan may be a model or a guide to an accurate economic development, but one should always remember that in a different country there are also different ways and different possibilities to consider. Can a developing country attain a legitimate economic development if graft and corruption are existing? If the government isn’t aware of some major problems? Or even in a simple event of prioritizing? A country could if the government would and its citizens won’t be misunderstood.

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Economic Development of Japan: An Essay. (2022, October 28). Edubirdie. Retrieved October 3, 2023, from
“Economic Development of Japan: An Essay.” Edubirdie, 28 Oct. 2022,
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