Comparison of Japan and China from 1500 to 1800

World Civilization
Essay 2

In China’s society from 1500 to 1800, it was a period of commercial growth. Silver mines opened in China and lead to a lot of flourishing markets, because of the increased wealth. Many market towns developed and population grew rapidly in these areas. The towns provided the link between the large cities and small rural areas. New levels of trade also developed in this time with the trading of silk, lacquerware, porcelains, medicines, paintings, grain, salt, timber, iron, and cotton. Trade expanded to the rivers of china and this also opened up the lines of communication.
The population was getting large, in 1644 China had about 125 million people living on their land, and by the 1800’s there were about 400 million people in China. The political system was perfected through the spread of education, using Confucianism taught in these schools. The Confucian way was the way of most people, the father was the head of the house hold in Confucian teachings, so what the father of the family said, goes. The role of Confucianism in China helped literacy because people learned to read to be able to read Confucius teachings. Since literacy grew, so did bookstores, and publishing flourished also.
At the top of the government in China were the military, the censorate, and the administrative branch. Beneath them were the six ministries and the web of provincial, prefectural, and district offices. The government was well financed at this time due to the growing markets and the silver mining. This was the best off the government had been in the history of China so far.
In Japan, they had a trade era beginning also, like China did. They exported many raw materials to China, like copper, sulfur, and silver, but manufactured goods became exported also, like swords, and spears. Imported goods were copper cash, porcelains, paintings, books, and medicines. Trade between the two economies was good, until the rulers of Japan decided to limit all trade in 1635. No Japanese could leave Japan, no ships could be built, and trade was strictly limited. This did hurt Japans economy when this was proposed.
In the lands of Japan, they had a problem with the peasantry. The peasantry was armed and village warriors fought for their lords. This became a great problem, so they decided to go on a “sword hunt” and take all weapons from everyone except for samurai’s. The samurai consisted of five percent of the population, so they used their monopoly of the weapons to control the other 95 percent of the people. They were the upper class in the Japanese society.
Literature during this time also flourished in Japan. During the time period of 1650-1725, the greatest Japanese literature was produced. Like China many people became literate because of the growth in literature. This helped the government with the laws, because the people could read and understand them. It also helped the economy because of the literature sales.
The main religion of the land was Buddhism, until the elite abandoned the idea of Buddhism and turned over to Confucianism. This was the main religion now in Japan, as it was in China during the same time period. This was a change that occurred slowly, throughout the lands of Japan.
China and Japan were very similar in many ways, but at the same time were also very different. The literature during the period grew, and helped to educate people, and both societies turned towards Confucianism. They did have different military beliefs on the other hand, so they had different views than one another.