Comparison between the Early Chinese and Japanese Labor Movements: A Focus on Historical Conditions
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PublisherThe University of Arizona.
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AbstractLabor movements represent social protection systems designed to serve as survival means for workers, usually executed in the form of picketing, peaceful demonstrations, and boycotts. This paper explores past studies on the labor movements in China and Japan, compares and contrasts their characteristics, and explains the various factors that made the Chinese socialist labor movement extend beyond Japan’s. The Japanese labor movement was disproportionately instigated by non-government and non-political reasons. A significant proportion of the factors that spurred the Japanese labor movement was associated with the need to increase workers’ wages and status. On the other hand, nationalism, spurred by oppression, was the most important factor that contributed to the success of the Chinese Socialist labor movement. Imperialist antagonism greatly abused Chinese labor influence through private enterprises, indirectly disassembling the country’s feudal economy. The early industrialization experienced in Japan was dissimilar to that experienced in China because the latter was subjected to increased colonial presence, while Japan was in the process of initiating the Meiji Restoration and westernization. Between 1900 and 1920, China was in a semi-colonial and semi-feudal state while Japan was a colonialist country. Unlike China’s labor movement, the emergence of the Japanese labor movement was sudden and without any formal organization. Japanese labor movements also had minimal rivalry from various inter-city workers’ movements compared to the Chinese labor movements. Since China and Japan were experiencing different national situations between1900 and1920, they experienced different impacts of nationalism on their labor movements.
Degree ProgramGraduate College
East Asian Studies