The opening of a country to the outside world (開国)

The opening of a country to the outside world (as opposed to national isolation) means to interact and trade with foreign countries.

The opening of China to the outside world

During the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644), China closed its seaports giving rise to an increase in illegal trade including one by wako (Japanese pirates). A similar policy, though less strictly enforced, was carried out during Qing dynasty (1616-1912) in order to antagonize the Taiwanese ruler Zheng Chenggong.

Following the suppression of Taiwan, ports accepting foreign merchant ships were opened in Macau as well as Guangzhou City. Thus, in the 18th century, Western trading houses were established in Guangzhou for the purpose of Cantonese trade.

After concluding the Treaty of Nanjing in 1842 following the Opium War (1840 – 1842), China endured the Arrow War (1857 – 1860), the Sino-French War (1884 – 1885), the Sino-Japanese War (1894 – 1895) and the Giwadan War (late 19th century – early 20th century) before being invaded by powerful countries of imperialism. Hong Kong Island was ceded to Great Britain, and Kowloon, the New Territories, and Weihaiwei were leased to this nation; the Lushun and Dalian Leased Territory (later ceded to Japan and renamed the Kwantung Leased Territory) was leased to Russia, and interests in the Eastern Chinese Railway were given to this nation; the Gouzhouwan Leased Territory was leased to Germany; the Kwangchowan Leased Territory was leased to France; and Taiwan was ceded to Japan. Shanghai became semi colonial as several international concessions were established including one for France.
A famous anecdote of world history tells of a sign posted in a park in the French Concession (along the present Huangpu River) which read 'Dogs and Chinese cannot enter.'

The opening of Japan to the outside world

Japan was a closed country for over 200 years in the Edo period with the exception of Dejima in Nagasaki which remained open to other countries; regulations such as a ban on foreign voyage to Japan and production of large ships were in effect.

In the 18th century, the allied western powers of imperialism such as Russia, England and France approached Japan thus some issues and disputes started to occur such as the arrival of Adam Kirillovich Laksman who came to Ezo to return Japanese castaways in 1792 and the Golovnin Incident of 1811. The bakufu (Japanese feudal government headed by a shogun) issued various edicts in 1791 (Kanseirei) and 1806 (Bunkarei) which instituted a policy of providing necessities to foreign ships.

In a turn of events, a strict edict known as the Order for the Repelling of Foreign Ships was issued in 1825 following the 1808 Phaeton Incident in which a British ship pillaged food in Nagasaki; by 1837 the Morrison Incident occurred in which an American ship sailing into Uraga was attacked by cannon.

The bakufu received information about foreign countries from countries that were allowed to trade in Dejima, such as China (Qing) and the Netherlands which provided 'Fusetsugaki' (documents about foreign information). When roju (member of shogun's council of elders) Tadakuni MIZUNO heard in 1842 of the China's defeat in the Opium War, he loosened restrictions on fuel and water. In 1844, Willem II (king of the Netherlands) sent a letter encouraging the feudal government to open the country.

The United States of America reached out Japan for the purpose of establishing free trade, securing a coal supply-base, and protecting American castaways and their property, and freely trading with Japan. In 1846, East India fleet admiral James BIDDLE was sent to Japan seeking diplomatic relations, but the Edo bakufu and he went back to his country because of the outbreak of the Mexican-American War. In March 1849, The ship Preble arrived to demand the return of a castaway Ranald MACDONALD which was resolved by the mediation of Nagasaki magistrate. At that time, feudal government was already aware from a 'Fusetsugaki' that an American envoy would arrive seeking commerce.

In June 1853, the United States of America dispatched Matthew (Calbraith) PERRY who was assigned as an East India fleet admiral. Perry had been ordered by Republican president Millard FILLMORE on a naval mission to conclude a treaty with Japan, but was prohibited from any act of belligerency without senate approval. Perry arrived at Uraga at the head of a fleet of East India steamboats in July 1853 and submitted a message from the president of the US demanding the opening the country on July 14, returning to the US 9 days later. In July of that same year the Putyatin fleet from Russia arrived at Nagasaki.

The Edo bakufu, lead by it's roju Masahiro ABE, upon opening the president's message on July 31 sought advice far and wide from territorial lords to the common people. In an unprecedented move, the bakufu reported the state of affairs to the Imperial Court, where the matter was discussed until a treaty between the United States of America and the Empire of Japan was concluded which opened ports at Shimoda and Hakodate, loosened a ban on production of large ships as of September and lifted the ban on foreign voyage by October. In addition, steamboats were placed an order with Dutch trading houses while the Kanrin-maru helmed by Kaishu KATSU was dispatched in 1860.

Upon cruising the Ryukyu and Ogasawara Islands (Bonin Islands), Perry returned to Uraga in January 1854 seeking a reply to the president's message. In March 1854, a treaty between the United States of America and the Empire of Japan was signed, followed by the Anglo-Japanese Friendship Treaty in August as well as a treaty with the Russian Empire as of December the same year.

In July 1856, American consul Townsend HARRIS came to Japan to conclude a treaty of amity visiting Edo-jo Castle in October 1857. Although the treaty was brought to the court in Kyoto by roju Masayoshi HOTTA, it was not signed due to a struggle of succession concerning the heir of the 13th shogun Iesada TOKUGAWA between the Nanki group (Yoshitomi loyalists from the Kishu-Tokugawa family) and the Hitotsubashi group (Yoshinobu loyalists from the Hitotsubashi-Tokugawa family). In 1858 Naosuke II became tairo (chief minister) and concluded the Treaty of Amity and Commerce between the United States and Japan and set the lord of Kii Province Iemochi TOKUGAWA up as the 14th shogun.
(Refer to Ansei no Taigoku [suppression of extremists by the Shogunate] and the Sakuradamongai Incident)

In 1859, five ports including Hakodate Port, Yokohama Port, Nagasaki Port, Niigata Port, Kobe Port (Shimoda Port was closed) were opened thus markets in cities such as Edo and Osaka were opened and started to trade primarily with England. Japan exported primarily raw silk thread and tea while mainly importing wool, cotton fabric, warships, and weapons.

The Treaty of Amity and Commerce between the United States and Japan was an unequal treaty including unfavourable conditions against Japan such as extraterritoriality, resignation of tariff autonomy (tariff agreement system) and unilateral MFN (most favoured nation) status, therefore when the Japanese market was opened to the world, domestic industries were defenceless against the impact of price increases and the draining of gold reserves which gave rise to the Sonno Joi Movement (a movement advocating reverence to the Emperor and expulsion of foreigners), uprising, and destructive urban riots. To prevent price increases and confusion in distribution, in 1860 the bakufu issued a regulation to control foreign trade called the Gohin Edo Kaisorei, which proved unsuccessful.

Foreign settlements were established in treaty ports in Yokohama, Kobe and Nagasaki. While this change was an important policy issue for the Meiji government, complicated disputes arose among some nationalists as to whether the settlements acted as a bulwark protecting Japanese tradition and culture from foreign ideas and religion.

Similar treaties were concluded with England, France, the Netherlands and Russia.

The Meiji government, lead by the Satsuma and Choshu clans, which had defeated the Edo bakufu, decided to open the country in 1869 and abolish the unequal treaties..

By opening the country, Japan established international relationships with the allied western powers of imperialism.

The opening of Korea to the outside world

In 1832 towards the end of Yi Dynasty (1392 – 1910), England arrived seeking commerce and from 1840 onwards European ships appeared frequently along the Korean coast. In the 19th century, Sedo Jeongchi (monarchy of matrilineal succession) was practiced in Korea. In 1863, Heungseon Daewongun, regent of the regime of the father of the 26th king of Yi Dynasty of Gao Zong (reign 1863 – 1907), implemented a policy to exclude the coming powerful countries of imperialism.

An isolationist policy was implemented resulting in the General Sherman incident (against the US) as well as the Heiinyojo war (against France) in 1866, the refusal of the declaration of the foundation of the Meiji government from Japan in 1868 and Shinmiyojo incident (against the US) in 1871.

In 1873 reign of the Korean government transferred to the family of Empress Myeongseong (1851 – 1895), the empress of Gao Zong.

Within this context, Ganghwa Island incident (Unyogo incident) occurred in 1875. The incident occurred when a Japanese battleship, the Unyo, sent a small boat to Ganghwa Island as a demonstration of strength by the Japanese government and was attacked by cannon from Ganghwa Island whereupon the battleship 'returned' fire. Because the Unyo entered Korean waters without permission, it was repelled by Korean forces. The Japanese government, using the incident as a pretext for gunboat diplomacy, concluded the Treaty of Ganghwa (Japanese-Korea Treaty of Amity) in 1876. Ports were opened in Busan, Wonsan, and Incheon while a Japanese legation was established in Seoul. Similar to the Treaty of Nanjing between China and England of 1842 and the Treaty of Amity and Commerce concluded between the United States and Japan in 1858, it was an unequal treaty for Korea as it granted extraterritoriality amongst other provisions. Subsequently in 1882, the US-Korea Amity and Trade Treaty was concluded as were similar treaties with England, Germany, Russia and France. As a result, Korea was opened to the world of imperialism.

On the other hand, the first article of the Treaty of Ganghwa stated 'Korea is an independent country having rights equal to Japan,' which caused a conflict with the Chinese hegemony over Korea.

The Chinese hegemony over Korea: a Sino-centric rule of East Asia. Tributary system. East Asia (including Korea, Japan, and many regions around China), experienced conflicts with notions regarding international law around the time of the modern opening of countries to the outside world.