The opening of Japan to trade with the rest of the world after almost three centuries of isolation, and her rapid progress from a seemingly rigid feudalism to a Western-style capitalist economy, made her a major world power within a single generation. This was without doubt a revolution, although quite different from others in colonial Asia. Even so, the transformation of Japanese society after she had concluded the first trade treaties with the West in 1854 was not as sudden as it seemed. Feudalism, already far into decay, was ready to collapse at a touch.
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