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The industrial revolution in Japan

Many parallels can be drawn between the industrialization in Japan and that of other countries especially USA and countries from Europe aside from the fact the Japan’s industrial revolution came years after that of USA and European countries like Britain, which was the initiator (Spielvogel 613). Industrial revolution in Western Europe was a result of revolutionary force from below, led by merchants based in the urban centers who were calling for the destruction of the old social order and creation of a current one that would generate new institutions based on urbanization and commercial context of the region. In contrast, leaders who had gained power through the manipulation of the feudalistic social regime spearheaded Japanese industrial revolution (Levine 105). The call for the modernization of Japan the came from above, led by those who were eager to bring change to the older regime, but not through radical overthrow of existing rulers. The difference in sources of economic power between preindustrial merchant classes of England and France and that of Japan mirrored the theme of urbanism in the respective countries. From around 15th century, the urban merchants of these European countries made the cities the center of their rebellion against the feudalistic rulers. In Japan, anti-Tokugawa political force was inherent in the expanding population but not in the revolutionary sense of being anti-feudal as seen in the European countries. Those who wanted change were willing to achieve it through taking up of political offices as a means of gaining these advantages but not through a revolution in the social structure (Levine 105). To understand the performance of Japanese economy before, during and after industrial revolution, it is important to note that the country’s economic growth experienced a distinctive rhythmic growth during the period of 1887-1969. Lonien agrees that the Japanese economic growth since the beginning of industrial revolution to the end of the Second World War was cyclical (24). It is during this period that Japan joined the world’s major economic powers especially those from the west as far as it’s per capita and labor productivity is concerned. This economic growth took place through a growth phase that recognized by the Japanese economic development literature as upswings of long swings. Mosk recognizes this period as taking place in the following periods: 1887-1897, 1911-1919, 1930-1938 and 1953-1969. This are the periods that coincides with the time when Japanese economy experienced the most intensive growth rate (Mosk 6). Mosk notes that a long swing represents a growth pattern in the gross domestic product of the country in which the rate of output growth rises, reaches a peak, declines, reaches a trough and then begins to rise once again. Every long swing in this cycle involves two phases, an upswing phase that heralds the long swing and a downswing that that ends the cycle. Comparative to average growth over the complete long swing, growth rates during the upswing surpass the long swings average and growth rate during the down swing is less than that of the long-swing average. It is this analysis that provides historians with a mechanism to determine Japanese economic growth during the industrial revolution period (6). According to these upswings of long swings analysis, the first long swing in Japanese economic