Questions and Answers





Questions and Answers

Korea’s Place in the Sun: A Modern History

What is the literal and underlying meaning of the title of the book?

The literal meaning of Korea’s Place in the Sun is a country located in the Eastern side where the sun sets. However, the deeper meaning is that Korea has occupied a significant position in the world rankings of other modernized countries (Cumings 34).

According to the author, how does the rest of the world view Korea?

The author makes it clear that very little was expected from Korea particularly in terms of modernization, economic growth, and assimilation into the Western culture. Given that it lacked all the fundamental markings of a developed state, the rest of the world viewed it as a unique case study that combined tradition and modernity (Cumings 45).

How significant is industrialization to Korea’s journey into an influential nation?

In chapter 6, the author talks about “Korean sun rising”. Figuratively, this implied that the industrialization period was an important one for the country since it marked the beginning of economic and political recognition (Cumings 56).

What are some of the memorable conclusions from the book?

First, it should be understood that Korea has struggled with detaching itself from Japan and China. Two, there is a need for a deeper understanding of the state that surpasses the popular Korean War. Lastly, understanding the dualistic role played by Japan that included colonization and modernization is definitely worth mentioning.

The Making of Modern Japan

According to Jansen, what are some of the aspects that make up modern Japan?

Jansen pointed out central role of the traditional Japanese culture in guiding the trendsetter, the social strata, education, and religion as some of the building blocks (Jansen 17).

How would one describe the journey taken by Japan in their quest to realize modernity?

Japan’s progress was underlined by three major institutional and social epochs: the implementation of the feudal society, flagging off the Japanese ports and losing in World War II. However, their transformation was gradual and accommodative of the native culture.

What the relationship between Japanese and Western culture is as expressed in the book?

Japan and the West have had a dynamic relationship over the years. After WWII, Japan was explicitly anti-West in their trade and economic policies. However, through globalization, Japan has managed to embrace a Eurocentric type of modernity and with it, an increasing preference for the West (Jansen 21).

Sources of Japanese Tradition, Abridged: Part 2: 1868 to 2000

How did the West influence the formation of nationalism in traditional Japan?

The West was responsible for the creation of branches off the main state administration. Similarly, the West cultivated elements of cultural nationalism in the form of Pan-Asianism (De, Bary, Gluck, Arthur Tiedemann, Boot, and Bodiford. 18).

What is the relationship between religion (Shinto) and the state as explained by the author?

Shinto as the ethnic religion of the Japanese people acted as a link between modern Japan and its ancient form. The unification of political and sacred roles and figures was conducted effortlessly to ensure that both aspects were covered ((De, Bary, et al. 35).

Is the pervasive religious predisposition helpful or harmful to the pursuit of modernity in Japan?

The infusion of Shinto in all the aspects of life in Japan has contributed greatly towards hastening the process of modernity. It has enabled the country to maintain its cultural heritage and respect for spiritual issues. Conversely, Shinto has also slowed down the journey of modernity by discouraging important processes and lifestyles that are contemporary in the fundamental sense.


Work Cited

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Cumings, Bruce. Korea’s Place in the Sun: A Modern History. , 2005. Print.

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Jansen, Marius B. The Making of Modern Japan. Cambridge, Mass: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 2000. Print.

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De, Bary W. T, Carol Gluck, Arthur E. Tiedemann, W J. J. Boot, and William M. Bodiford. Sources of Japanese Tradition: Volume 2 Abridged 2006. Internet resource.

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