Success Illgotten? The Role of Meiji Militarism in Japan’s Technological Progress
This chapter argues that Meiji Japan's sustained efforts to build "a strong army" and its decision to wage a war with China in 1895, and another with Russia in 1904, contributed in substantive ways to building the technological foundation for Japan's successful industrialization. It is important to note that the efforts made to import Western metallurgical technology by the Bakufu and a few large domains before the Restoration were "hardly useful" in meeting the needs of the Meiji military. Both the Sino-Japanese and Russo-Japanese wars had a profound effect on the technological and productive capabilities of the arsenals and private firms in the shipbuilding, machinery, and machine-tool industries. The examination of the impacts of the wars on the technological progress made during the Meiji period cannot be concluded without a brief discussion of the Yawata Ironworks, a large government-financed steel mill constructed and expanded primarily for military purposes.