Essay: Footbinding the Chinese Idea of Footbinding Emerged

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Footbinding

The Chinese idea of footbinding emerged during the 10th century and lasted for approximately one millennium, until 1911. Young girls were generally targeted with the purpose of imposing this custom on them and their social class or background in general were unimportant for the Chinese community. What is even more surprising is that their relatives participated in this process without feeling that they were doing something wrong. Footbinding typically began when girls were between the ages of 4 and 7 and had them turn all of their toes (except for the big toe, as this one was left unaltered with the purpose of making it possible for the girls to maintain balance) against the bottom of the foot. The process was very painful (it even ended in death for some girls) and was apparently meant to keep women close to their families or to make them more attractive (Miles).

Marco Polo

In spite of the fact that his father and uncle visited Southeast Asia long before he did, Marco Polo was advantaged because his adventurous spirit and because he was determined to learn as much as possible as a result of his journeys. He was a pioneer in travelling and inspired numerous individuals in leaving their homes with the purpose of exploring. He was mainly responsible for providing Europeans with a complex account regarding Asian cultures and values that were normally respected throughout the Asian continent (Marco Polo and His Travels).

Shinto

Although people often relate to it as being a religion, Shinto is actually a complex set of laws and practices characteristic to individuals in Japan. Shinto can be seen as being more like an amalgam of cultural values rather than being a religious ideology. The majority of people in Japan can be described as being Shintoist in character and support concepts like public shrines and objects and people that can be identified as being kami, spirits or higher authorities that have an essential impact on society as a whole (Varley 9).

Toyotomi Hidyeoshi

Toyotomi Hidyeoshi is widely considered to be the second great unifier in the history of Japan and the individual responsible for installing a strict set of rules that people needed to follow in order for their community to experience little to no problems. His negotiation skills and his experience in dealing with people in general assisted him in experiencing rapid progress and eventually made it possible for him to become Japan's leader. His legacy can be observed today in many cultural values promoted throughout the country. The Osaka Castle is probably one of the most important elements demonstrating Hideyoshi's greatness and the fact that he distinguished himself greatly from many other Japanese leaders (Varley 142).

Silla Dynasty

The Silla Dynasty is one of the most impressive dynasties in all of history, considering that it lasted from 57 B.C. until 935 a.D. Its incipient phases were very different from the phases that it is remembered for. King Park Hyeokgeose created the dynasty, but it was ruled for most of its existence (992 years) by the Gyeongju Kim clan. The dynasty experienced rapid expansion when it took in the kingdoms of Paekche and Kuguryo in 660 and 668, respectively as a result of receiving significant help from China. The Chinese were chased out of the country shortly after it experienced its first unification process devised by indigenous individuals (Seth 65).

Hangul

The Han'gul is Korea's native alphabet and it was created by the Joseon dynasty in 1443. In spite of this, this writing style did not become the main system of writing in Korea until the twentieth century, as Korea's alphabet was severely altered by the country's history with China. According to Seth (173), "Han'gul is the only major system of writing in use today that does not have its origins in the ancient Middle East, India, or China." Han'gul is one of the reasons for which Koreans in the contemporary society feel that they have a strong personal identity and that it is only natural for them to feel national pride as a consequence.

PART II. Korea and its Traditions: How did Korea's location between China and Japan affect its political, economic, religions, and/or cultural development?

Korea's geographical position has had a strong impact on its history, considering that it was disputed between China and Japan. The fact that there was always a lot of tension between Japan and China reflected both positively and negatively on Korea. Its close proximity to the two countries made it possible for cross-cultural exchanges to happen on a frequent basis. Even with the fact that most are likely to consider that Japan and China represented a threat for the well-being of Korean people, the truth is that Korea's relationship with the two countries was "the main source of ideas about government, scholarship, and cultural sophistication for Koreans" (Seth 9).

Individuals living where present-day Korea is located have interacted with people living in China and Japan as early as 2000 B.C. "Pottery in Korea shows some similarity to that of Japan and the Yellow Sea region of China" (Seth 12). Even with the fact that Korea has had relations with both China and Japan in the B.C. era, experts have determined that it has had a stronger relationship to communities in Northwest Asia (Seth 12).

Korea played the role of a bridge between China and Japan in a series of occasions and was it even responsible for transmitting concepts like Buddhism, literacy, and Chinese culture in general to the Japanese. One of the most intriguing things about Korea's relationship with Japan was not especially strong before the nineteenth century. The facts that the Japanese had a complex military culture and that there were many pirates in Japan represented a threat for Korea's safety. "A central fact of Korean history, however, is that it has been surrounded by larger societies that were some of the most military formidable peoples in history" (Seth 9). As a consequence, if one wants to learn more about Korea, the respective person also needs to focus on trying to learn more in regard to its relationship with Japan and China.

While the Korean language is typically seen as being different from any other languages, many linguists have claimed that it is related to Japanese. However, this does not necessarily mean that the Japanese have had a strong influence on Korea and that this respective influence materialized in Korean being very similar to Japanese. It is likely that both Japanese and Korean ancestors originate in Central Asia and that they migrated west, thus coming to have a powerful impact on societies in East Asia (Seth 10).

It was not until states and empires were created in North China that Koreans came to be severely affected by their neighbors in the south. The fact that Korea is located so close to the great Chinese civilization was essential in shaping Korean history ever since the country's early days (Lambert).

Korea came to focus on its relations with Japan during the late nineteenth century, when King Gojong acknowledged that cooperating with its western neighbor was his only option, considering Japan's military was much more powerful in comparison to Korea's armies. In spite of the fact that the Koreans rose against Japanese forces on a series of occasions, their power was limited and they only managed to make things worse as Japan came to ask for larger tributes and compensations. Chinese influence thus ended during the late nineteenth century and came to be replaced by Japanese dominance. The fact that Japan defeated China further contributed to making Koreans feel that they were powerless in the face of the Japanese (Lambert).

With the Koreans rebelling against their Japanese oppressors several times during the early twentieth century, Japan took advantage of the opportunity to annex Korea and to turn it into a Japanese colony during the 1910-1945 time periods. All rebellions that occurred during these years ended horribly as the Japanese did not hesitate to use extreme force with the purpose of demonstrating their superiority (Lambert).

In spite of the fact that Korea suffered greatly during the era when it was under Japanese influence, it also benefited from the exploit. The country's infrastructure improved significantly as railroads, roads, and bridges were built all across the territory. Also, the Japanese built a series of factories and modernized the country greatly during this era. All things considered, Korea experienced more detriments than benefits when considering the time when it was under Japanese influence. The end of the Second World War and the Japanese surrender to the Allies played an essential role in freeing Koreans and providing them with the opportunity to actually be the ones in charge of their country consequent to several decades of foreign influence (Lambert).

Part Three: Economic Growth, Urbanization, and Cultural Change: The Tokugawa period was also famous for its burgeoning economy and for the rapid development of cities. Discuss how economic growth and Urbanization influenced the culture of Tokugawa Japan.… [END OF PREVIEW]

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