The Japanese and Western Science by Masao Watanabe
Other | Humanities
The Japanese and Western Science
University of Pennsylvania Press; 1st edition (February 1991)
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The Japanese first encountered Western scientific technology around 1543, when the Portuguese drifted ashore and left them firearms. For the next few centuries Japan's policy of national isolation severely limited contact with the West. In the middle of the 19th century, when Commodore Perry introduced the Japanese to a few of the West's technological achievements, they realized how vulnerable their technological ignorance made them and felt great pressure to master Western science as quickly as possible. This study examines the intersection of Western science and Japanese culture since Japan's opening to the West. Using case studies, the author describes how the Japanese have effectively accepted Western science and technology. Yet the study argues that Japan, in its eagerness to catch up with the West, sought for the fruits of science rather than its cultural and religious roots or the processes that allowed it to flourish. The author contends that this resulted in a lack of integration of the new science into Japanese culture, with a resulting strain on people's lives, education and research, and led to problems in international affairs and environmental pollution.
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