When Tokugawa Japan opened its doors to the West after 1854, Asia was a world of empires in flux. The ailing Chinese empire still dominated East Asia but was already feeling the intrusion of Western powers, while Western colonial empires were taking shape in South and Southeast Asia. Japan's influence on national identities in Asia both fell far short of its intentions and was much more far-reaching. Its influence fell short of its intentions partly because Japan's rule was relatively brief and partly because much of what might be called Japanese identity propaganda was poorly conceived. While the late twentieth century interest in Japan was as an economic model, in the period from 1895 Asians at first saw Japan primarily as a political, social and technological model. Asian observers were struck most of all by the fact that Japan appeared to have taken the technological strengths of Western civilization and yet had preserved the best of its own culture.