International Journal of Humanities and Social Science

ISSN 2220-8488 (Print), 2221-0989 (Online) 10.30845/ijhss

Foreign Settlements and Modernization: The Cases of Yokohama and Kobe
Hideo Watanabe, PhD.

Certainly the modernization of Japan was attained by the Meiji government’s policy of “Enrich the country, strengthen the military” but the foreign settlements also made a great contribution to drastic reformation in the country. The foreign settlements were places where Westerners brought in their own cultures and Japanese learned their technology and culture directly from them. The foreign settlements were not isolated islands separating foreigners from Japanese; rather, many Japanese worked in cooperation with foreigners and created new things. Japanese began studying English with Hepburn’s Japanese-English dictionary which was created in the Yokohama foreign settlement. John W. Hart’s original plan of the Kobe foreign settlement is known as the “best-planned foreign settlement in the Orient.” Japanese learned civil rights and autonomy through foreigners in the foreign settlements. This paper examines how both the Yokohama and the Kobe foreign settlements were directly connected with the modernization of Meiji Japan.

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