The Reasons for Japanese Imperialism (1895-1910)

12 Pages Posted: 10 Nov 2013

See all articles by Vincent Hilldrup

Vincent Hilldrup

University of Pennsylvania Law School - Student/Alumni/Adjunct; Tufts University

Date Written: December 9, 2006


In 1850, since Japan was an economically backward feudal society, it was an easy prey for the imperialist aspirations of powerful world powers, such as Britain and the United States, which placed legal and commercial disabilities on Japan in order to fulfill their own needs. This subordinate position was enforced upon Japan by the United States in 1854 with the treaty port system that obliged her to open her ports for foreign trade and residence. Other Western nations, such as Britain and Russia, were soon to follow in this semi-colonial approach. This was important for the development of imperialism within Japan because not only did it condition the Japanese to emulate the Western set model as well as give rise to Japan’s own international ambitions, but it also provided a context for action. The Japanese reaction took form under the Meiji Restoration of 1868 which saw a group of leaders emerge in power.

Keywords: Modern Japan, Japan, Imperialism, Meiji Restoration, Expansion

Suggested Citation

Hilldrup, Vincent, The Reasons for Japanese Imperialism (1895-1910) (December 9, 2006). Available at SSRN: or

Vincent Hilldrup (Contact Author)

University of Pennsylvania Law School - Student/Alumni/Adjunct ( email )

Philadelphia, PA
United States

Tufts University ( email )

Medford, MA 02155
United States

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