Interesting is the history of imperialism and isolationism between East Asian and Western nations. This is because it demonstrates the multiple attempts made by the East Asian countries to resist imperialism through isolationism, as well as how they later realized the significance of the advantages enjoyed by Western countries and, as a result, came to embrace imperialism.
It is vital to analyze how imperialism and isolationism interacted throughout this time, how East Asian nations responded to this connection, and how certain nations deviated from it to comprehend this.
Isolationism and Imperialism
Long-term inclinations toward isolationism were one of the strategies employed by East Asian nations against imperialism. Countries like China and Japan only engaged in limited trade with the western nations.
China was somewhat liberal with these nations, but some advantages were taken away since western traders were only permitted to do business with a small number of Chinese dealers and only at certain points.
Japan, which could only trade with a select few nations, experienced the same situation. Lin’s letter to Queen Victoria demonstrates the lack of interest in conducting business with European nations.
The Chinese also engaged in isolationism by establishing stringent regulations prohibiting commerce with European countries. For instance, one of the rules prohibited Chinese people from selling the narcotic opium since anyone caught doing so would be sentenced to death.
This is evident in the same letter Li addressed to Queen Victoria, in which he gently requested that any British businessmen who disobeyed the law be punished according to Chinese law.
The Japanese were likewise affected by this. For instance, the writer of one of the texts produced in Japan at this time places a strong emphasis on traditional practices. The statement’s author expressed worry that Buddhism, Christianity, and Shamanistic beliefs were changing and influencing the nation’s ideals.
The western rules, which are founded on the teachings of Jesus, are criticized in the paper. The pamphlet claims the laws are imperialist since they seek to stifle other nations. However, the author of the text argues that before they could make significant changes in the nation, Japanese authorities and ministers were able to seize the legislation and crush them.
The text also described how, unlike other western countries, the Japanese wanted to learn how to grasp the Dutch language, therefore, they permitted Dutch lectures among themselves. The author of this paper harbors hatred towards the imperialist country since they consider the Japanese to be more cultured than the westerners, who are referred to as barbarians in this case.