Japan opens up in 1700s

Discussion in 'Alternate History Discussion: Before 1900' started by GameBawesome, Nov 8, 2018 at 10:33 AM.

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What are some consequences if Japan opened earlier?

  1. Earlier Meiji Restoration, and Japan will expand

    11 vote(s)
    20.4%
  2. Earlier Meiji Restoration, and Japan will not Expand

    3 vote(s)
    5.6%
  3. Shogunate Remains, and Japan will expand

    19 vote(s)
    35.2%
  4. Shogunate Remains, and Japan will not Expand

    7 vote(s)
    13.0%
  5. Japan will try to Westernize

    7 vote(s)
    13.0%
  6. Japan will not try to Westernize

    7 vote(s)
    13.0%
  1. GameBawesome Well-Known Member

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    What if in an alternate scenerio, a European power, sends a large fleet and opens up Japan, under the Tokogawa Shogunate, around 1700s -1760s? Japan maintains independence, but makes unequal treaties with the Europeans (for now).

    What could be some possiblities?

    Would Japan try to Westernize, adapting Western Arms, Ships, Tactics, Culture? Would they kept the Shogunate?
     
  2. schai Well-Known Member

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    Mar 13, 2011
    Japan would reach out to Korea and China for helps. Both China and Korea would be alerted.

    China just lost the Sino-Burmese War, the front-line troops was very impressed by western weapons that were used by Burmese army. In the this timeline, Emperor was not.

    In the alternative timeline, he would be more interested and sent helps to Japan.
     
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  3. Dathi THorfinnsson Daði Þorfinnsson

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    No European power has the power to force Japan or China at this point. If Spain, the only power with the local bases and the arrogance to even make an attempt, tries they'll fail miserably.

    This could, however, get Japan to open up voluntarily, as the Southern Barbarians are proving obnoxious.

    My guess would be that they'd import as much Western tech as possible, while trying to avoid as much Western cultural influence as possible. This early, they have time to learn on their own, and develop their own army and Navy based on their own experience.

    Expanding into Korea would be an obvious choice, let's them train up their military against a serious opponent, and it's nearby. OTOH, it would be a bottomless pit for money and men.

    Better to ally with Korea and trade for iron ore, say, and take Taiwan as a southern base. Once established there, try to oust the Spanish from the Philippines, which gets them more land and punishes the Spanish for their attempted take overs of Japan.
     
    Last edited: Nov 8, 2018 at 11:44 AM
  4. Dathi THorfinnsson Daði Þorfinnsson

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    So, basically, none of the above options, really.

    Who ends up ruling, Shogun or Emperor (or new dynasty of Shoguns), depends on who grabs the bull by the horns and leads modernization.
     
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  5. BBadolato Fifth Picturewraith

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    Jul 5, 2012
    There would have to be a why for a European state to do so. Mercantilism was the still the big thing, the Spanish and the Dutch, if my memory serves, are the only powers with influence in the Eastern Pacific, and Dutch already have the only trading outposts in Japan. Both of these powers have much larger interests, that Japan's status quo would work them.

    As for Japan itself your not going to have a Higashiyama reformation even the premise of your OP did happen (The Meiji Reformation/Restoration get its name from the emperor at that time, Emperor Meiji. See also the Kemmu Restoration.) The Tokugawa's enemies are not emboldened, and the Tokugawa themselves might see a modernized military as the perfect way to defang the domains, making them more secure than any other Shogunate before them and finally breaking the remnants of feudalism.
     
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  6. Lord High Executioner Is also the very model of a modern Major-General

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    Isn't that sort of what they did OTL?
     
  7. Garetor Well-Known Member

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    It's exactly what they did OTL. Japan had Deijima, and were well aware of their inferiority to the "Dutch Learning" for decades before the Americans forced them open. IIRC, even before then the Shogunate had access to a working steam engine to study, medical textbooks, scientific manuals, etc. They just were struggling what to DO with all of this, because industrialization is as much an economic and cultural phenomenon as a technological one. Just importing tech doesn't do much.
     
  8. Tripledot Well-Known Member

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    You make it sound so easy- how exactly is Japan going to defeat the Qing at the height of their power and take Taiwan off of them, or invade and hold the Philippines?
     
  9. GameBawesome Well-Known Member

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    I’m wonder how would Samurai with modern muskets deal with British Redcoats...

    Also, would opening the country see a return of the Japanese Atakebune? How would the Japanese Atakebune deal with a galleon?
     
  10. Dathi THorfinnsson Daði Þorfinnsson

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    Not really. They had had muskets and decent sailing ships (at least a prototype), and Tokugawa got rid of all that.
    Yes, they did track Dutch learning, iOTL, but they only adopted what was 'easy', what wouldn't upset the apple cart too much, as I understand it.
    What I'm suggesting is they adopt all the tech they can get, develop more (iirc, before the musket ban they were innovating there), but fit it all into a local structure. No attempting to ape German army and politics, and British Navy, as Meiji felt forced too.
     
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  11. Dathi THorfinnsson Daði Þorfinnsson

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    Qing. At the height of their power. On land, specifically the mainland, no Japan couldn't touch them. On Taiwan? With what by then would be a well developed Navy? Yeah, I imagine it would be easier than Korea.
    As for the Philippines, Spain has horribly long supply lines, and is no longer as strong as it had been. Certainly, take Taiwan first, and use that as a springboard.
     
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  12. Tripledot Well-Known Member

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    Why would "modern" for the time ships be able to defeat the Qing navy? It's not like they have ironclads, it's the 1700s. One has to wonder why the Dutch or Spanish never retook Formosa from the Chinese if it were so easy.
     
  13. Lord High Executioner Is also the very model of a modern Major-General

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    That's seems a bit of an oversimplification, considering what they did import and go on to make themselves.
    Could you give some example of what you consider easy or of what was "too hard" or apple-cart-upsetting
    during the Edo period?

    Of course, the authorities opinion on what was acceptable/allowed/useful varied over time.
     
  14. Dathi THorfinnsson Daði Þorfinnsson

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    Muskets, .ships, factories would be the obvious ones.
     
  15. Dathi THorfinnsson Daði Þorfinnsson

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    The Dutch because it wasn't economic, the Spanish... Did they ever have much of a presence there? Also, a supply line that goes althe way around the globe.
     
  16. Monter Well-Known Member

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    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spanish_Formosa
    Also the Spanish have the Philippines right there.
     
  17. Marc reformed polymath... Donor

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    The left coast...
    Much earlier annexation of the Ryukyu islands, which is not a trivial event.
     
  18. M79 Well-Known Member

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    Red Seal Ships return with updated tech, Tanegashima return with a vengence, Turtle ships are likely incorporated, and a firearms industry rapidly evolves...
     
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  19. Garetor Well-Known Member

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    Seems like turtle ships would be a bad investment. Turtle ships were great for littoral action defending against the inferior Japanese ships during the Imjin war, but they're hardly state of the art 200 years later. Better to copy the best Dutch/Portugese designs-those ships can fight AND carry on operations thousands of miles from home.
     
  20. Lord High Executioner Is also the very model of a modern Major-General

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    M-hm.
    Since/if we're talking the 18th century, as in "up to 1800", and even more if we stop at the 1760s
    (the latest date mentioned by GameBawesome), it seems to me that they really only missed out on
    flintlocks. I must admit that the development of naval and nautical technology is not my field - what
    where the late 17th to 18th century advances in that field that the Japanese rejected in favour of
    legally required hampered seaworthiness?
    What kind of factories are you thinking about?

    On the other hand, things that were imported and used during the same period include telescopes
    and microscopes, things they learned about before Perry include steam engines and electricity, and
    they made their own developments in clocks and automata.

    In other words, they pretty much did
    Of course, the shogunate had first and final say on the first possible, but Japan wasn't stuck in the 17th century, just lagging behind.
    There are reasons they could pull a meiji, after all.
     
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