The Foundations of Japan's Modernization
Tracing and evaluating the development in the history of Japanese culture and society that permits Japan's rapid and continuing modernization, Professor Yoda provides a new and original approach to the modernization of Japan. He starts from the assumption that Japan was better equipped for modernization because pre-modern Japan had already started to abandon Confucian influences. In his account of modernization during the Meiji-period he focuses on general patterns inherent in Japanese culture and society enabling Japan to integrate foreign elements without having to follow foreign models slavishly.
"Patterns in culture", such as the Japanese preference for juxtaposing the new and the ancient, are contrasted with China's preference for discarding past institutions in revolutionary processes. The transferability of paradigms such as "absolutism" is accepted with some modifications. In the major descriptive part of the work, the history of economic, political, institutional modernization is presented on the basis of quotations from original Japanese (and Chinese) sources, arranged within the methodological framework of universal historical concepts, indigenous cultural patterns and specific conditions in both countries.
The book is composed of two articles previously published in Japanese and Chinese, two new chapters written especially for the volume, and background information provided by Professor Radtke.