European science still penetrated Japan. The Dutch trading post, located on the small island of Dejima in the harbor of Nagasaki, became the source of information known as rangaku (“Dutch sciences” in Japanese).
The authorities of Japan, having once burned themselves on Christianity, at first considered this knowledge dangerous. The translation of Dutch books was strictly monopolized and carried out by a narrow circle of specially trained translators who rewrote Western knowledge in a Japanese way. The main areas of study included geography, medicine, natural sciences, astronomy, art, foreign languages, the study of electrical phenomena and mechanics. Thanks to the knowledge gained in the 18th century, wado-kei were created – a clock with a fight, one of the first inventions of the Japanese in the field of technology. The weakening of the isolation policy at the beginning of the 18th century, as well as the literacy of most of the Japanese, contributed to the widespread dissemination and popularization of European scientific knowledge. At the same time, foreign novelties appeared in the state – telescopes, microscopes, pumps, mechanical watches and other advanced inventions. Of greatest interest to the Japanese was the experience of Europe in the field of medicine, as well as electricity, actively developed by Western scientists. It was the rangaku that gave Japan the opportunity to make up for lost time in the shortest possible time and very quickly reach the same level with Europe in the field of scientific knowledge.
In 1868, Emperor Mutsuhito, who took the name Meiji (“enlightened government” in Jap.), reopened the borders of Japan to Europeans, and the achievements of Western civilization swept the country with a powerful stream. The importance of centuries-old traditions faded into the background compared to the desire to adopt, study and use all the knowledge, goods and technologies received as soon as possible. The Japanese in a short period of time received a lot of new information about the natural sciences, the structure of the world, space and the functions of the human body.
Western sciences and technologies were studied in detail in schools and, as a result, in the shortest time in terms of world history, the Japanese mastered the information so well that they were able to use it for independent development. It was thanks to this that the colossal industrial leap made by Japan during the Meiji period became possible.
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