Topic 07. Challenges to traditional East Asian societies (1700 - 1868)
This section focuses on the challenges faced by both imperial China and Japan from the mid-18th Century to the mid-19th Century as they dealt with domestic economic, political and social strains and also challenges from the West who wanted to open up both countries for trade. Both countries were to respond to these challenges in very different ways and with very different consequences.
Specifically this section looks at:
- the nature of Imperial China in the 18th Century: Emperor Qianlong and imperial decline
- the Chinese tribute system and attempts by the West to open up China to trade
- the causes and consequences of the First and Second Opium Wars
- Taiping Rebellion
- Japan under the Tokugawa Shogunate
- he impact of Commodore Perry's expedition
The Qing dynasty, founded by the invading Manchus, was the last imperial dynasty of China; it was established in 1644 and ended in 1911 thus lasting for three centuries.
The 'tributary system' operated by the Qing dynasty assumed that China was culturally and materially superior to all other nations.
In mid-19th century, two conflicts, known as the First and the Second Opium Wars were fought between Britain and Qing China.
Hong Xiuquan, a Chinese Christian convert who believed that he was the younger brother of Jesus Christ, founded a movement that gathered momentum in China in the 1840s.
The Tokugawa Shogunate, also known as the Tokugawa Bakufu controlled Japan between 1603 and 1868. Society was characterised by a strict social order and isolation from the rest of the world.
While the bakufu were struggling with the social and economic problems discussed on the previous page, a foreign crisis developed which brought matters to a head.
On this page you will find essay frames and essay planning exercises for this topic.
On this page you will find sample essays on this topic, written by students and graded by examiners. We have also suggested activities that can be done with these essays.
There are already many videos on the ATL pages for this topic. Here are a few more on Tokugawa Japan which students may find interesting..