University of California Los Angeles Coolies and Modern Japan Discussion

User Generated

fvlnbuhnat

Humanities

University Of California Los Angeles

Description

You should improve and expand your argument, augmenting it with additional support from the readings, including other relevant class texts. Do not use sources outside of the class readings and lectures.(typed, double-spaced, 12 point font)

the prompt of the paper is: Imagine you're a "coolie" (as described in Driscoll's piece) and you just read Soseki's piece above. Write a response to it from your perspective as a "coolie." Hint: what is the official view of "coolie" culture?

here is the one need to be revised:

I find your exploration of modern Japanese civilization to be rather sympathetic, as I can see some of my own life experiences mirrored in your words. I do not think that you notice the same parallels that I do, though, so I wanted to send you my thoughts on the matter. First, I would like to assure you that I sympathize with your appreciations of the East-West collision. You say that, since contact with the West was established, Japan has been pushed into a motion it cannot escape, leaving it no choice but to “continue twisting and turning” (Soseki, p.318). The influences of external forces on your lives, forcing you to take ten steps at a time rather than just one (Soseki, p.319) is surely unenviable position, but it is not one that is unique to Japan. Nor is it a situation that disembogues only when the West bursts into your home, demanding that you accommodate their requests. On the contrary, Mr. Soseki, I am sure you that you can find in Manchuria a trend.

The Japanese arrived to our land, declared that it belonged to it by virtue of Conquest — a war won with Russia that somehow resulted in Chinese land being ceded to a rival empire — and accelerated into movement by a force external to us. You state, in various occasions, that Japanese civilization has been “externally motivated” (Soseki, p.319), but it has also been an “external motivator”. As Japanese economic interests in China grew more lucrative, your empire began to sediment a colonial outpost in the region that resulted in the devaluing of Chinese laborers. Through external forces, we were categorized in a variety of ways. Our culture was stripped from us, reduced to nothing but a brute laborer with no interests but “card games and weekly visits to the nearest opium den” (Driscoll, p.48). We were given jobs that, though they allowed us a chance to make a living for our survival, would not have been given to others who were deemed, unlike us, humans with a need for a balance between work and life. Though we generate great value —through our work the industrial advancements that make life cozier for some are possible — we are not compensated properly. No, for the “coolies”, those of us adopted into Japan’s own Imperialist ambitions, such concessions cannot be granted. We are not, after all, like the Japanese. We have no concern for a work and life balance, we have no concerns for the exploration of culture, we have no time to resolve the question of “life or death” or that of “life or life” that you explore in your essay (Soseki, p. 317). We have nothing to do but work.

You mention that, as technology changes, the amount of labor that one must do will change. The person who works the field and the person who drives an automobile for wages, they all put in different amounts of effort (Soseki, p.317). You do not mention, though, that this is not the case for Coolies. We have no choice but to put in much more labor, much more effort, than other laborers. We do not get the privilege of letting technology ease our labor, though our labor eases the spread of these technological processes. We are the workers slugging through the fields, while the Japanese can enjoy the ease of just driving the vehicle. But you do not mention this. You create a separation between you and the West, placing the latter as the force that has pushed you around. A similar dynamic exists here, though. We are pushed around by the Japanese interests in our area. We are your colonial project, the manifestation of your own Imperialist ambitions. For the “coolies”, Japan is our West, our external motivator, our domineering boss.

other suggestions might help:

Hi! I find your overall argument very interesting specially in drawing a trend between western treatment of Japan and Japanese treatment of the chinese coolies. I like that in addition to talking about Japan's imposition on China and making the Chinese coolie culture, you bring out Soseki's argument on progress in civilization and how that hasn't really helped the coolies. I think you could expand by bringing in how the coolie's view Japan to be internally (not externally) motivated as they make money based off the coolie's hardwork? (just a thought!).

I think this response was very well written. Not only did it follow the prompt well, but it was also very creative. The writer clearly read Driscoll very carefully in order to put themselves in the shoes of a coolie. Furthermore, they still managed to fit in citations from Soseki to make their argument stronger without hindering the first-person narration. Another aspect I liked very much and did not see in other papers was the writer’s ability to draw parallels between the coolies of China and the Japanese in order to sympathize with Soseki in order to make their argument more relatable to the “Japanese audience” it would have been intended for if they were actually a coolie countering Soseki’s argument. Thus, I believe this aspect would have made this paper much more effective against the intended audience. Overall, a very well written paper. I wish I could be more helpful in providing some tips, but I think the paper is excellent.


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Explanation & Answer

Attached. Please let me know if you have any questions or need revisions.

Surname 1
Student Name
Professor’s Name
Course Title
Date
Coolies and Modern Japan
I find your exploration of modern Japanese civilization to be rather sympathetic, as I can
see some of my own life experiences mirrored in your words. I do not think that you notice the
same parallels that I do, though, so I wanted to send you my thoughts on the matter. First, I
would like to assure you that I sympathize with your appreciation of the East-West collision.
You say that since contact with the West was established, Japan has been pushed into a motion it
cannot escape, leaving it no choice but to "continue twisting and turning" (Soseki 318). I
resonate with your words when you say that the influences of external forces on your lives are
forcing you to take ten steps at a time rather than just one (Soseki 319). Undoubtedly, this is
surely an unpleasant situation, but it is not only unique to Japan but also to us “the coolies” since
our ancestors and also some of us have experienced the same situation that you have described in
your book. It is not a situation that disembogues only when the West bursts into your home,
demanding that you accommodate their requests but also when your neighbors from another
country unapologetically invade your lands and subject you to forced and underpaid labor. Mr.
Soseki, our fate was no different following the Japanese invasion of Manchuria.
The Japanese arrived in our land, declared that it belonged to it by virtue of Conquest —
a war won with Russia that somehow resulted in Chinese land being ceded to a rival empire —
and accelerated into movem...


Anonymous
Just what I was looking for! Super helpful.

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