How did Asian nationalism in Japan improve their standard of living?

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pohnpei397 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In Japan in the second half of the 19th century and first few decades of the 20th century, Asian nationalism combined with Westernization to improve Japan's standard of living.

When Japan was "opened" by Commodore Perry in 1853, it was a relatively backwards country.  Many Japanese came to realize how far behind the West they were.  This led Japan as a whole to adopt Western ways in government, the military, and the economy.  

But this adoption of Western ways was augmented by nationalism.  Japanese felt that their country deserved to be just as powerful and respected as the European countries.  Their desire to achieve power and respect motivated them to industrialize and to gain a higher standard of living.  In this way, their nationalism combined with foreign influences to improve Japan's standard of living.