Regional Geography 105


Currently part of East Asia Realm
Also fits in a groups characterized by:
1) high economic growth
2) high levels of productivity
3) poor natural resources
South Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong*, Singapore

Feudal Japan

Prior to 1868 - feudalism - emperors, shoguns - Isolationism
In 1549, Portuguese Jesuit, Francis Xavier, arrived in Japan
In 1599, the Shoguns expelled all missionaries
Sakoku - "closed country" policy - enforced isolation


Contact with foreigners restricted to a Dutch enclave in the far southern portion of Japan, near the city of Nagasaki.
Shipwrecked sailors were often jailed or executed.
Sakoku lasted for 250 years
By end of this period, Japan is essentially stagnant.

Industrial Revolution

Japan learns of advances being made in United States and Britain.
Debate in Japan
1) Shore up coastal defenses - battle to the death to keep foreigners away.
2) Open Japan to the West - for a short period - learn how to rebuild the navy and arsenal

U.S. Arrives in Japan

July 1853, Commander Matthew Perry lands in Japan
Gifts are exchanged.
Treaty signed - code of conduct for shipwrecked sailors - coal rights - trade agreement
Treaty terms evaded by Japan

Meiji Restoration

1868 - Reform-minded modernizers seize power.
British model was adopted for the modernization of Japan
Many similarities between Japan and the British Empire


What does it take to modernize a nation?
What does it take to go from underdeveloped to developed?

Military Empire Building

Led to conflict - World War II
Japan defeated in WWII
Military empire building had failed.
British Empire was both an economic and military empire
Economic empire building:
Requires an outward perspective - not an isolationist perspective

Economic Empire Building

Japan is poor in natural resources
Acquisition of raw materials for production.
Export of finished goods.
Importing of finished goods is extremely limited in Japan - due in large part to the traditional culture
Regional Complementarity

Spatial Limitations

Area of Japan - 377,278 km2
Same size as Montana
_____________ million people
Arithmetic density = _____ people/km2

Most of the country is mountainous and volcanically active
Only 18% is considered habitable - 67,910 km2
- slightly larger than West Virginia
Physiologic density = _____ people/km2

Food Production

Limited habitable land - limited arable land
Limited food production
Intensive farming practices - high yield practices - food crops dominate - cash crops restricted to less productive terrain
Fish Industry
Large fish industry
Provides a source of protein in an otherwise starch-rich diet.
Fishing practices - controversy - tuna fishing - whaling industry