East Asian Civilizations Essay
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The East Asian countries are Taiwan, North and South Korea, Macau, Japan, and China. These countries experience peace and prosper economically throughout the civilization of Eastern Asia. Taiwan is an island off the southeast coast of China and the seat of the Chinese Nationalist government. It has rugged ranges of the Chungyang Mountains blanket the eastern two-thirds of the island. On the other hand, Korea is a divided country of eastern Asia. It occupies a peninsula, about 450 miles in length and between the Sea of Japan and the Yellow Sea.
Since 1945 Korea has been divided into two political units—the Democratic people’s Republic of Korea (North Korea) and the Republic of Korea (South Korea). They are separated in by a demilitarized zone, about 2 ? miles in width, along the armistice line established in 1953 at the close of the Korean War while Macau was a Portuguese overseas territory on the south of China coast. It lies in the estuary of the Pearl River south of Canton (Guangzhou), China, and across the estuary from Hon Kong.
Moreover, Japan is consists of for large islands—Honshu, Hokkaido, Kyushu, and Shikoku—and more than 3, 300 smaller ones, including the Ryukyu chain.
Japan is bounded the north by the Sea of Okhotsk; on the east and south by the Pacific Ocean; on the southwest by the East China Sea; and on the west by the Sea of Japan while the People’s Republic of China situated on the offshore island of Taiwan. It is the third largest nation in the world and it is less than half the size of the Soviet Union, somewhat smaller than Canada, and slightly larger than the United States. For thousands of years they called their country Chung Kuo, which means middle Kingdom, or domain.
The name reflects the traditional Chinese belief that China is the geographic and cultural center of the world, with all other nations on the periphery. Thesis Statement: This paper scrutinizes and establishes detailed information about the East Asian Civilizations in particular the countries under it. II. Discussion The improvement and development of East Asia will not be possible without the significant countries within this periphery. • Taiwan Japan began Taiwan’s industrial development after gaining the island in the Sino-Japanese War, 1894-95.
Since the early 1950’s, under Chinese Nationalist control, Taiwan has developed a strong, diversified economy, based mainly on manufacturing. Taiwan is one of the leading exporters of manufactured products in Asia. United States aid, large-scale foreign investment, and an abundant, well-educated labor force have played major roles in the island’s rapid industrialization (Kuo, 2003). Leading industries produce chemical and petroleum products, metal goods, machinery, electrical and electronic equipment, textiles, clothing, and processed foods. Despite a decline in relative value, agriculture remains a vital sector of the economy.
Farming is limited mainly to the western lowlands, where virtually all available land is devoted to crops. Most farms are small, averaging about thee acres each, and are family owned (Gold, 2006). The mild climate and extensive use of irrigation permit the growing of two or three crops a year. Rice, sugarcane, sweet potatoes, cassava, citrus fruit, bananas, and pineapples are among the main crops. The railway and highway systems, begun by the Japanese in the decades before World War II, are among the best in Asia. The chief seaports are Kaohsiung and Chilung. There are international airports near Taipei and Kaohsiung (Kuo, 2003).
Foreign trade has grown enormously since the 1950’s. Among the main exports are clothing and textiles, television sets and other electronic consumer products, footwear, plywood, plastic items, and processed foods. Most of the trade is with the United States and Japan. In addition, the great majority of the Taiwanese are descendants of 18th- and 19th-century immigrants from adjacent mainland provinces of southern China, particularly Fukien (Fujian). More recent arrivals—those who fled mainland China in 1949 and their descendants—form the most influential group on the island (Gold, 2006).
Mandarin Chinese is the official language, but southern Chinese dialects are commonly used by most of the people. Education is free and compulsory for children aged 1 to 15. More than 96 percent of school-age children attend schools. • Korea South. South Korea’s economy was largely agricultural at the time of the Korean War (1950-53), when much damage was inflicted on the nation. Reconstruction and recovery were rapid after the war, in part because of large amounts of economic aid from the United States and other nations.
In the early 1960’s industry began to grow rapidly (Choi, 2003); by the mid-1980’s South Korea had become one of the world’s chief exporters of manufactured goods. The South Korean government played a major role in directing and developing the economy, particularly through central planning and direct and indirect control of many manufacturing industries and banking. Rapid industrial development was also aided by large investments of capital and technology from the United States and Japan and by an abundance of skilled, cheap labor (Lee, 2004).
Although few in number, corporate conglomerates, called chaebols, produce most of the nation’s goods and services. Light manufacturing industries requiring much labor were the first to be developed, mainly during the 1960’s. Textiles, clothing, shoes, and similar consumer items were among the main goods produced (Lee, 2004). Priority shifted during the 1970’s to the development of heavier and more technically advanced industries. Since the early 1980’s increasing emphasis has been placed on developing high-technology industries, centering mainly on data-processing equipment, especially computers.
Much military equipment is also produced. Seoul, Pusan, and Inchon are among the chief manufacturing centers. Only about 20 percent of South Korea is suitable for farming, and roughly one-fourth of the people are dependent on agriculture for their living. Farms average about 2 ? acres and are privately owned (Choi, 2003). Some farming is done by communes and cooperatives. Moreover, it has greatly expanded and improved its transportation facilities since the early 1960’s. Highways have replaced railways as the chief means of intercity transport. The railways are owned and operated by the government; many are electrified.
Education is free and compulsory through six years of primary school, which beings at age six. It is followed by three years of middle school and then three years of high school (Lee, 2004). North. With the division of Korea after World War II North Korea acquired most of the mineral resources, hydroelectric dams, manufacturing plants, and industrial facilities developed during the Japanese occupation, 1910-45. Much damage was done during the Korean War, but it was quickly repaired with aid from the Soviet Union and other Communist nations (Choi, 2003).
Under the North Korean Communists, all industry was nationalized, agriculture was collectivized, and the entire economy was rigidly planned. Growth was rapid during the early years, but slowed in the 1970’s. In the mid-1980’s North Korea’s total output of goods and services was roughly one-third to one-fourth that of South Korea’s. Soviet technical and financial aid has played a major role in the development of North Korea’s economy. About 20 percent of North Korea’s land is used for farming, and 40 percent of the people make their living in agriculture.
All farming is done on collectives and state farms; private farming ended in the late 1950’s (Choi, 2003). Rice is the nation’s staple food and the most widely grown crop. Other crops include corn, wheat, barley, millet, potatoes, sweet potatoes, and soybeans. Much progress has been made in increasing mechanization, in expanding the irrigated area, and in land reclamation, especially in coastal areas. Commercial fishing is a major activity, particularly along the east coast and in the Sea of Japan. Wonsan and Sinpo, on the east coast, are the chief fishing ports. Part of the catch is exported (Lee, 2004).
Unlike South Korea, North Korea is relatively well endowed with minerals. Among the numerous minerals produced in substantial amounts are coal, mostly anthracite; iron and etc. Railways handle most of the intercity passenger, and freight traffic and are North Korea’s principal means of transport. Most of the railways are relatively new and are electrified (Choi, 2003). Pyongyang is served by a subway. Furthermore, education is free and compulsory through five years of primary school (which begins at age six), four years in of middle school, and two years of high school.
• Macau Macao (Macau) consists of the mainland city of Macao and two islands—Taipa and Coloane. Together they have an area about 6 square miles. Macao’s economy is based on light manufacturing. Most of Macao’s food and all of its fresh water are imported, primarily from China. About 99 percent of the people are Chinese; the rest are Portuguese or persons of Portuegese-Chinese descent (see “History of Macau”). Portuguese is the official language; the Cantonese dialect of Chinese is the prevailing tongue. Macao is the oldest European settlement on the Far East.
It was established by Portuguese traders with China’s permission in 1557. Trade flourished, and until the early 1840’s Macao and Canton were the only Chinese ports open to European trade. The development of Hong Kong and other rival ports, beginning in the 1840’s, greatly reduced Macao’s importance. In 1887 China formally recognized Portugal’s sovereignty over the settlement (see “History of Macau”). Since the Communists gained control of China in 1949, the official position of the Chinese government has been that Macao is a Chinese territory under Portuguese administration.
In 1976 Portugal granted Macao internal self-government. In 1987 Portugal agreed to transfer the administration of Macao to China in 1999(see “History of Macau”). At present, Macao is one of the finest places to visit with its flourishing economy. • Japan Japan is one of the world’s leading industrial nations, ranking behind only the United States and Soviet Union. During the 1960’s and the earl 1970’s, Japan gross national product (GNP) grew at the phenomenal average rate of about 11 percent a year—more than twice that of the United States.
The worst postwar slump came in the mid-1970’s (Hane, 2001), when worldwide recession brought high levels of unemployment and inflation and a sharp decline in economic growth. Most of Japan’s postwar economic growth has been due to keen corporate management, a well-educated, industrious labor force, high levels of savings and investment, intensive promotion of industrial development, and vigorous foreign trade. Government has also been a decisive factor. Its influence is powerful and widespread, though exercised mainly through informal, cooperative arrangements with business (Hall, 2004).
Giant conglomerates, many of which are interlocked in manufacturing, finance, and trade, are of prime importance in the economy. Coexisting with them are many small and medium-sized firms. Government ownership of industry and business is negligible, limited mainly to transportation and communication services (Hall, 2004). There has been little foreign investment in Japan because of numerous governmental restrictions. Of increasing concern to the Japanese are the environmental and social consequences of the nation’s industrial expansion.
In some areas, water and air pollution is severe and increasing rapidly. Japanese culture is partly of Chinese origin and partly indigenous, for the Japanese adapted and did not merely imitate the culture of the mainland. Since the middle of the 19th century, Japan has been influenced more by the culture of Western countries than by that of its neighbors (Hane, 2001). Adoption of many Western ways produced sharp contrasts between the new and the old. Buildings and clothing, for example, are now seen in both traditional and Western styles.
In addition, in Japan the family is a traditional and strong institution. It has a formal structure with authority vested in the male head of the family. The wife is expected to be subservient. Children learn discipline and their respective roles in the family at an early age. Japanese homes are noted for their simplicity. Nearly all are built of wood. In many hones, paper-covered wooden frames, called shoji, are used for windows and doors (Hane, 2001). Being light and easily moved, they allow much of the house to be opened to the landscaped gardens.
Additionally, six years of elementary education and three of lower secondary schools are free and compulsory for children 6 to 15 years of age. At the three-year upper secondary schools, tuition is charged. Education in Japan is highly competitive, and admission to upper secondary school and to college is determined by rigorous entrance examinations. As a result, many Japanese children spend their after-school hours attending jukas, “cram” schools that specialize in preparing students for entrance examinations and other school tests (Hall, 2004). • China
When the Communists came to power in 1949, China’s economy was backward and suffering from nay years of war and civil strife. Agriculture was disrupted and producing at a low level. Modern factories, then located in only few places, lay idle or in ruins. Since the Communist take-over, agriculture has been reorganized and production increased, and modern industry has been greatly expanded. New mineral resources have been discovered, production of electric power increased, and transportation improved. In general, China’s development has been guided by five-year plans, patterned originally after those used in the Soviet Union (Gernet, 2002).
Since the 1970’s, however, the centralization of economic decision-making has lessened and greater use has been made of profit incentives and private enterprise to stimulate production. Although accomplishments have been considerable, development has not been continuous. Many setbacks have occurred and much remains to be done in order to raise the relatively low standard of living. Political conflicts among China’s leaders have caused some of the worst setbacks (Barnett, 2006). On the other hand, a modern transportation system is one of the goals of China, and much has been done to build new facilities and modernize old ones.
Though greatly improved, transportation is still poorly developed in all but a few areas. Railways are the chief means of long-distance transportation. Trackage is concentrated primarily in Manchuria and on the North China Plain, the two most economically advanced parts of the country. Moreover, elementary education, depending on the program being pursued, lasts five or six years. Lower secondary lasts three years (Gernet, 2002); thus, upper secondary education, depending upon the school, two or three years.
China has an extensive adult-learning program, particularly to teach literacy. IV. Conclusion In conclusion, these countries comprise the East Asian civilizations contributed much to the entire world. Although each county faced a lot of turmoil and crises due to invasion of other nations yet these countries made its way to surmount every trial and had survived to its crises. In addition, the civilizations of these nations proved that East Asian countries can make it to the top as they strive hard for the betterment of their economy and for the benefits of its own people.