The Modern Cities of East Asia Arnold J. Toynbee Had Seen in 1929

  • Received : 2019.04.20
  • Accepted : 2019.06.12
  • Published : 2019.12.31


A. J. Toynbee published a book called Travel to China(1931) after traveling around the Asian continent in 1929. The book mostly focuses on Japan, China and the relationship between the two countries. Toynbee visited major cities in Japan and China by train. Most of the Japanese cities he saw were turning into modern cities in the process of spontaneous modernization mixed with its tradition. On the other hand, Chinese cities that he visited showed him various characteristics, including traditional, colonial, or semi-colonial cities. The modern cities of Japan and China in the late 1920s were transformed into various aspects under the influence of tradition, spontaneous modernization, colonial or anti-colonial modernization. How did Toynbee look at cities in East Asia? How did he recognize the relationship between tradition, modernization and colonization while visiting this area? Toynbee emphasizes the weight and influence of tradition especially in the development of modern cities in Japan and China. So, are modern European cities born out of their own traditions? Modern cities everywhere in the East and West were newly developed under the influence of tradition. Toynbee's attitude, which emphasizes especially its tradition in the modern cities of East Asia, seems to reflect his Orientalistic view.



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