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What were the negative effects of Japanese imperialism?

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Phillip Holland eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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Japanese imperialism led to numerous human rights violations in China, Korea, and the Philippines. Millions would die from torture, ill-treatment, or scientific experiments performed by sadistic Japanese doctors who used prisoners of war to obtain unwilling lab participants. The Japanese army and navy competed with each other for prestige within the government and sought greater conquests at the expense of the Allied powers, who were mainly concerned with Hitler's war machine in Europe. After Pearl Harbor, the Japanese government faced the might of the United States military-industrial machine and paid dearly. Thousands of Japanese civilians died in firebombings in Tokyo and Yokohama, while starvation was common throughout the home islands between 1944 and 1945, as American submarines targeted Japanese merchantmen at will. The atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki was also debilitating, as it proved that an entire city could be leveled with one bomb. Also, the area continued to have increased instances of birth defects due to the radiation from the blasts.

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Tim Mbiti eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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Japan was weary of its territorial vulnerabilities against western powers. This led the country towards its imperialistic path. The country was determined to acquire as much territory in Asia as possible in order to bolster its status economically and militarily. Japan had its sights on Korea, China, and her other Asian neighbors.

In Korea, Japan enslaved the country and led to the country’s split into two countries with the ramification of that being felt until this day. The split created the democratic south and the dictatorial north with the two countries constantly at the threat of war. Further, Japan led to the deterioration of Korea’s cultural system by forcing the citizens to adopt Japanese culture, language, and religion.

Japan’s imperialist efforts led to the Nanking massacre that permanently affected her relations with China. Japanese soldiers murdered and raped Chinese citizens perpetrating one of the worst events in Asian history. Japan also led to the onset of the first Sino-Japanese war.

Japan also had negative impacts of its own. The country suffered economically and allowed for the destruction of its infrastructure. This was due to its failure to comply with other world powers' request to halt hostilities with her neighbors. Japan attacked Pearl Harbor after the United States threatened to cut off her oil supply, due to Japan’s occupation of China. This resulted in the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki and the loss of a significant number of the nation’s population.


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