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Technology in Japan

In: Computers and Technology

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Emül 1
Recep Emül
Miyouki Aoki Girardelli
HIST 48G
08.04.2008

TECHNOLOGY IN JAPAN
Technology is one of the most important elements that a country must have. It makes life easier and leads people to a modern age. In history, there had been some countries which were more advanced in technology than the others. Japan was not one of these countries. Today, however, it is the leader of the world in technology and science.
Japan was not a leader country in technology; it borrowed the knowledge and the machinery of the western world during the middle ages. For example, while developing optics the Western World provided many innovations for Japan. The arrival of the ‘peeping box’ is one of them. Those innovations were modified when they came into Japan because there were cultural differences. Usually the names of the foreign inventions were adapted to the Japan and their technical specifications also changed due to the fact that the Japanese’s use of them different from the others. When ‘peeping box’ became known in Japan, its name did not stay the same for the Japanese too. Timon Screech gives a clear example in his book: “The VOC register goes on the note that the Japanese referred to the novel box as a gocracqbaco, presumably gokuraku-bako, or ‘paradise box’ (119). Apart from optics there are also more serious subjects taken from the Western world; “In the latter half of Tokugawa period learning of Western natural science and medicine through Dutch books spread
Emül 2 among intelligent samurai and merchants (Uchida).”
The superiority of the Western countries did not last forever. After the Second World War, there has been great development in technology and science in Japan. Today most of the innovative ‘products’ come from Japan. I used the word ‘product’ because the way technology is made is mostly about money. In the history these kind of inventions were not so much for the profit. As I mentioned before, the reason why the Japanese changed the name and the specifications of ‘paradise box’ was because their culture and also their form of art differed from the west. They did not aim for selling it on market. They wanted to signify the other aspect of painting and pictures. If we see this ‘paradise box’ as a kind of photographic tool, then I can show another reason for these kind of changes on it: “If we call photography as an applied science, it certainly has a larger number who practice it, and probably fewer theorists than any other.” Thus those, who carried out photography, altered it according to their own needs.
Today, especially electronics in Japan is very advanced and when compared to other countries; other countries are behind Japan as far as for ten years when the main concern is technology and science. The driving force for technology has changed for Japan too. But this does not change the fact that Japan is the leading country in technology and sciences in the world.

Emül 3
“Modern Photography.” Science, Vol. 14, No. 347 (Sep. 27, 1889), pp. 218-221.
7 Apr 2008. http://www.jstor.org/stable/1762807
Screech, Timon. The Western Scientific Gaze And Popular Imagery In Later Edo
Japan. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1996.
Uchida, Yochimi. Short History of Japanese Technology. 6 Apr 2008.
http://www.ied.co.jp/isan/sangyo-isan/JS7-history.htm#_Toc442163102

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