Imperial Japan

Questions & Overview Imperial Japan


1. Excellent PPT
2. Another very good PPT
3. Meiji Imperialism

Other Resources

1. Reasons for Japan's Imperialism (1 page)
2. Imperial Japan (outline of the period)
3. Short article on japanese and rise of imperialism (reasons, etc)
4. Asia for Educators site/ page on the reasons for Japan's imperial rise
5. Japanese and American perspectives
6. Click here to see a timeline of what Japan did from 1931 onward and the U.S. response (or lack of response)


1. Write/ record a 2 minute speech as an advisor to the Emperor either justifying or arguing against Japan's empire building.

Use this worksheet for notes on events & comparisons with China


Propaganda Instructions
A. Rescript on Education
B. Imperial Songs
C. Baseball and Sino-Japan War
D. Editorial Justifying War


1. Audio: Why did Japan attack at Pearl Harbor?: (Audio is 7 minutes long. If link does not work you can find clip in HS 'Outboxes' under my name--->Asian History on the student server)

2. Chapter 22 Investigating Japan: Pearl Harbor
3. Modern World textbook on japan and Pacific War
4. Website: The Road to Pearl Harbor
5. Click here for an interactive timeline to see/ guess about what the U.S. response was to japan's imperial activities in the years leading up to Pearl Harbor

Japanese Nationalism and Imperialism (1904-1945)
  1. What role did nationalist leaders and their ideology play in building nationalism in Japan
  2. What were the causes of their expansionist policy?
  3. What was the impact of their expansionist policy?

  1. What was the impact of WWII?
  2. How did the Allied Occupation impact Japan?



1. : From WWI through Japanese invasion of China in 1937
2. : Useful maps showing Japanese imperialism/ lead-up to WWII, then a lot of good information regarding Pearl Harbor, WWII and Japanese reconstruction after the war.



Watch the following Video segments
Segment 8 -
While in Japan the cost of modernizing is high, in China the cost of not modernizing is even higher. In the port cities, the weight of Western privilege is heavy. Poverty and hunger are everywhere. China has abundant manpower but its technology is as outmoded as its leadership. The Empress Dowager and her advisers have ruthlessly manipulated the government, opposing reforms that threaten her hold on power. Young Chinese reformers turn to Japan as a model for their country’s modernization. It is where young people from all over East Asian hope to study. But Japan has yet to decide whether it is to lead an Asian renaissance against Western colonialism or whether it will in fact join in that colonialism. It makes its choice in Korea. Under China’s protection Korea had tried to hide itself away from outside powers and the modern world. But by the 1890s an industrializing Japan wants Korean rice and access to Korean markets. In 1894 Japan invades Korea. Its modern army easily pushes China out. It then pushes on further into Manchuria over which Russia claims control. Suddenly, Russia and Japan are on the brink of war over territory that was China’s.

Segment 9 -
In 1904 Japan launches a surprise attack on the Russian fleet, enabling Japan to eventually win a bloody land war in Manchuria. Its victory becomes an inspiration to reformists throughout Asia. The Portsmouth Treaty makes Korea a Japanese protectorate. Koreans rebel and the Japanese respond by killing over 12,000 Koreans. Ito replaces Korea's king with his prince, a boy. Korea is now a Japanese colony. Asian reformists are already becoming disillusioned with Japan. Japan's effort to attempt to destroy Korean culture and replace it with its own merely causes a Korean nationalist backlash against Japan with resentment that persists to the present day.

Segment 10 -
Japan begins to ask itself about the real price of progress after becoming the industrial and military power of Asia. Especially among Japan's literary community there is a new questioning of the cost of the rise to power. Natsume Soseki (family name Natsuma but known popularly as jSoseki), Japan's most famous novelist, creates characters who see the inevitability of modern times and yet they long for the old character of Japan that has been lost. For Soseki, the streetcar symbolizes the loneliness of modern life. In his most famous novel, Kokuro, Soseki recalls the ceremonies upon the death of the Emperor Meiji. "To me it sounded like the last lament; the passing of an age." For the first time a non-Western nation had modernized itself by its own efforts. It was an achievement that set in motion economic forces and political forces that are still working among us today.