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History of Transportation in China and Japan

Korean Minjok Leadership Academy
International Program
Nam, Sangjoon
Term Paper, AP World History Class, December 2009

Table of Contents

I. Introduction
II. Land Transportation in China
II.1 Land Geography
II.2 Chinese Western Routes
II.2.1 Silk Road
II.2.2 Caravans
II.2.3 Ancient Tea Horse Road
II.3 Development of Roads and Bridges
II.4 Hakka
II.5 Trains
II.5.1 Railroads
II.5.2 Metros
II.5.3 Commuter Maglev Trains
II.6 Bicycles
II.7 Chinese Rickshaw
II.8 Automobiles
III. Land Transportation in Japan
III.1 Land Geography
III.2 Development of Land Routes
III.2.1 Roads before Meiji Restoration
III.2.2 Highways
III.3 Trains
III.3.1 Railroads
III.3.2 Metros
III.3.3 Streetcars
III.3.4 Express Maglev Trains
III.4 Bicycles
III.5 Jinrikisha
III.6 Automobiles
IV. Inland Waterways in China
IV.1 Water Geography
IV.2 Grand Canal
V. Inland Waterways in Japan
V.1 Water Geography
V.2 River Navigation
VI. Maritime Shipping in China
VI.1 History of Maritime Shipping
VI.2 Factors of Development
VII. Maritime Shipping in Japan
VII.1 History of Maritime Shipping
VII.2 Factors of Development
VIII. Air Transportation in China
VIII.1 History of Airlines
VIII.2 Significance of Air Transportation
IX. Air Transportation in Japan
IX.1 History of Airlines
IX.1 Significance of Air Transportation
X. Conclusion

I. Introduction
            When experts measure the degree of development for a certain nation, they do not forget to check the intricacy and convenience of its transportation network. Transportation, or the medium of geographical connection and cultural exchange, has been an integral part of trade and diplomacy from the past. By linking cities to cities, countries to countries, transportation has shaped much of political and economical characteristics of any nation.
            Two of the modern economical giants in East Asia ? China and Japan ? have been sharing similar traditions, from food, music and language to fashion trends. Under these similarities, the peculiar East Asian culture represented by Confucianism has bonded two nations ? at least mentally. On the contrary, stark differences in geography and politics have engendered discrepancies among these two countries. Transportation, which is closely relevant with geography, politics, as well as economy and culture, may not have possibly run the same route. These discrepancies could have diverted the direction of its development and the discrepancies in transportation, in return, could have structured fundamental differences of two countries. This paper is written both to see the past and present of transportation in China and Japan and to check whether this assumption is correct.

II. Land Transportation in China

II.1 Land Geography
            The western part of China consists of highlands, mountains, plateaus, and deserts whereas the east consists mostly of lowlands and plains. Historically, the major cities and capitals, such as Beijing, Bianjing, and Chang'an have been located mainly in the east where both agriculture and commerce have thrived. The southern border of People's Republic of China is largely packed either with jungles or mountain ranges (e.g. The Himalayas) while a huge part of Northeastern border with Russia and North Korea is formed by rivers. ( 1 ) On the other hand, the country's northwestern border, connecting China with Arab and European nations, is established along the Taklamakan Desert.

II.2 Chinese Western Routes

II.2.1 Silk Road
            There are few records that claim major cities in the western, or the northwestern region of China. Vastly covered by Taklamakan Desert, Chinese northwest has even been described by some scholars as "one of the most hostile environment on our planet" with "little vegetation and almost no rainfall ... and have claimed the lives of countless people." ( 2 ) In social terms, however, this notorious land had substantial value. Separating China from Europe and Western Asia, the northwestern border could be a popular trade route for Chinese, Arabic, and some European merchants ? only if they could pass.
            The problem remained because the southern border, which were blocked by mountain ranges that often stands higher than 5,000-meter from the ground. ( 3 ) To detour the northern border, both Chinese and Arabs had to risk 'uncivilized' tribes who scattered throughout today's Mongol. The only way that seemed possible, though still challenging, was a narrow region between so-called 'Gansu Corridor', "a relatively fertile strip running along the base of the Qilian Mountains, separating the great Mongolian plateau and the Gobi from the Tibetan High Plateau". ( 4 ) It is around this narrow mountainous region where the famous Silk Road stemmed from.
            No one can track the exact origin of the Silk Road; yet, it a few records show that the road was in its first stage of development around 206 B.C. when Qin China collapsed. The Silk Road Its name, however, is quite misleading since there was not one single road dubbed so. Referring to the system of roads connecting China with Central Asia and Arabic nations, the Silk Road's were passed by not only merchants dealing with silks but others with various trade items as well as diplomats, monks, and individual travelers. ( 5 )

II.2.2 Caravans
            Although Silk Road was namely a man-touched road, crossing it alone remained dangerous; the surroundings were often extremely arid, with sandstorms that are sometimes deadly when blown into people face. People could easily be lost in the middle of the Taklamakan and if they stepped on a wrong place, the deadly desert might absorb people completely underground. There was also the possibility of being kidnapped or assassinated by the uncivilized local tribes. ( 6 )
            Therefore, before crossing the Silk Roads, merchants often formed a large group of cross-travelers called caravans. Often, caravans had several armed soldiers to protect silks, spices, and other trade items. Monks and individual travelers accompanied with caravans for their safety. In a sense, the Silk Road was not the road in modern sense; it was a passage that both connected different cultures and contained innumerable dangers.

II.2.3 Ancient Tea Horse Road
            While there was Silk Road in the Western and Northwestern China, there was Ancient Tea Horse Road in Southwestern China. Connecting the Chinese highland and the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau, Ancient Tea Horse Road first appeared during Tang Dynasty and was used until 1960s when Tibetan highways began its service. Its function was much similar to that of Silk Road, serving as a major trade route for tea, salt, sugar, horses, cows, furs, and other Tibetan local products. ( 7 ) Tea and horse ? often tea was transported on the horseback ? were two major trade items ? this is how the road got its name from. Due to the hot and arid climate of the region, Ancient Tea Horse Road passed either through subtropical regions or mountain ranges with 4000~5000m high from the sea level. ( 8 )

II.3 Development of roads and bridges
            Beside Silk Road, the development of land routes in Chinese Mainland, led by the emperor, focused on shortening the routes from provinces to provinces. By BC 210, the total road network of 4000 miles long, which is comparable to that of Roman Empire, was completed. ( 9 )
            After Yang Di's Grand Canal project was completed, it was necessary to build bridges so that people and carriages could cross over the artificial waterways. During Tang and Sung dynasty, numerous innovations were made in bridge construction. These innovations have left hundreds of 7th and 8th ? century bridges still in use at the mainland. (10) An article on ancient Chinese technology introduces an existing trace of carving complementing a seventh-century bridge designer: "Such a master-work could never have been achieved, if this man had not applied his genius to the building of a work which would last for centuries to come." ( 11 )
            These routes remained simply bare and flat until the Europeans introduced cements and asphalts. In fact, it is from 1970s since the modern roads were laid out extensively; before the 1970s, more than 90% of the roads in China were merely rugged terrains. ( 12)

II.4 Hakka
            One peculiar transportation in China that existed before the invasion of foreign powers was the Hakka. In the past, when the land routes were not as extensively developed as they are, the Chinese depended heavily on canals for transporting taxed grain from Southern region from Yangtze River Delta to the North where most major cities, including the capital, were located. Known as the Grand Canal, the intricate waterway system covered huge part of the south-to-north shipping (specifics of the Grand Canal will be covered in Chapter IV: Inland Waterways in China). However, since every single province of China could not enjoy its privilege, certain medium was necessary to connect small towns with the canal branches. Therefore, the goods from the ¡®non-privileged¡¯ towns were carried on the human backs over the mountainous region to reach the river system. Known as the Hakka people, these people functioned as a supplementary transportation that provided almost every Chinese town with opportunities to transport goods to the major cities. Their contribution had remained valuable until the Treaty of Nanjing in 1842 when the Qing Dynasty was forced to allow European maritime merchant ships to transport goods between Guangzhou and the Yangtze/Hwangho basin. (13)

II.5 Trains

II.5.1 Railroads
            Like South Korea and several other East and South Asian countries, the railroads and locomotives met strong opposition from the government and public when they were first introduced. The first railway in China, called Woosung Railroad, was established in 1876. ( 14 ) A year later, however, it faced massive denunciations from the Qing officials who merely saw the railroad as an iron monster that eats up their nation's wealth. Locomotives and engines were purchased by the Qing government by force and were burned in front of the public. Yet, the officials had to take back their conservatism when Qing lost in the Sino-Japanese War of 1895. While the Qing dynasty was gradually falling down to its demise, Japanese authorities planned Chinese railway network that has its center on Beijing. They built three major rail lines ? Jingfeng railway, Jingpu railway, and Jinghan railway, were laid out by Japanese and were extended from Beijing to other major cities. Other railways that remain until today, including the extension of the Trans-Siberian Railway or the Chinese Eastern Railway, were mostly planned and built by the foreign powers. ( 15 )
            The expansion of the railroads in China lasted until the end of the World War II. Soon, the Chinese Civil War erupted and the routes connecting cities to cities became the target of offense. In the last years of 1940s, the Chinese claimed its total railways as 27,000km long; as it turned out, however, almost 90 % of it was unusable since thanks both to the communists who sabotaged the railways and the Kuomintang armies destroying the strategic railways on purpose.
            Fortunately, the Chinese government strived to recover most of the old railways. Now, much more than 27,000 km is laid out in the People's Republic of China alone. ( 16 ) Longhai Railway, which began its service in 1952, connected Beijing with Lanzhou and has become the railway hub in the northwest. The major difference between the old railway development that was planned and executed by foreign powers and the current one is that the latter focuses heavily on geographical equity while the former exclusively cared about connecting major cities to cities, ports to ports. Thanks to the effort by the Chinese government, Golmud, located deep within the northwestern region, saw railroads in 1984; Lhasa, the capital of Tibet and was believed to be the toughest region to approach by railways, became accessible in 2006. Some papers have even claimed the Chinese railroad system to "virtually link every province-level entity in the People's Republic of China." ( 17 )

II.5.2 Metros
            If major cities and provinces are connected by railroads, each city's downtown and suburbs are connected with metros. Like Germany, France, and the Great Britain, China has an extensive metro system in urban cities such as Beijing, Shanghai, and Guangzhou. Metros in each city are operated by respective companies. The oldest among them is the Beijing Subway, which was established in 1969 and is expected to run 420 km by 2012 ( 18 ). Besides Beijing Subway, each subway company is often named by "City name + Metro", as it is in Nanjing Metro and Chongqing Metro. Like South Korea, each subway line in a city is called by number ? line 1, line 2, etc. Two metro companies are developed outside the mainland China: Hong Kong MTR and Macau Light Transit System.

II.5.3 Commuter Maglev Trains
            Although metros themselves are commuter rails, a distinctive form of commuter train dubbed maglev (magnetic levitation) trains are developed in the People's Republic of China. Being the world¡¯s first high-speed ? some can run faster than 100 km per hour ? maglev train, Chinese maglev is popular in Shanghai and Dalian. ( 19 )

II.6 Bicycles
            In 1860, the first bicycles were first introduced in Shanghai by European settlers. When it was first shown to the public, however, bicycles were not integrated into the Chinese way of life. Only after rickshaw was popularized in 1870 did a few Chinese noble classes begin to express curiosity. As the western culture began to dominate larger part of Chinese way of life, people began to understand the bicycle as a symbol of Westerners' physical stamina. It was thus introduced commercially in 1890, but was so costly that the bicycle was only available for nouveau riche. (20)
            Then in the 1930s, three major bicycle production lines were built in Shanghai, Tianjin, and Shenyang. Its cost lowered significantly, and was soon spread among the public. Then in 1949, as soon as the People's Republic of China was established, Mao Zedong and other top officials became enthusiastic about bicycle¡¯s practicality. They adopted the national-wide subsidy for bicycle riders to settle down "bicycle culture" among the proletariat. In 1958, bicycle population in China reached one million. Nowadays, thanks to the early subsidy in the People's Republic of China, bicycle has become a popular transportation for the Chinese public from the young to the elderly, and from the poor to the rich. (21)

II.7 Chinese Rickshaw
            Although the rickshaw has appeared in numerous regions around the world, China was one of the few countries in which rickshaws made huge contribution to its employment. Introduced in late 19th century by foreign missionaries, they played huge role in the urban development in 20th-century China. ( 22 ) Noble-class people, who were reluctant to step on dirt, preferred Rickshaw as their mini-transportation. Its popularity rose to the point that it revitalized Chinese employment market which had been torpid by the fall of Qing Dynasty and arbitrary control of European powers.
            Chinese rickshaw prospered in mid-20C. As more and more modern roads are laid out by the foreigners, Rickshaw became more comfortable transportation for urban upper classes. Urban middle classes, who rather chose to walk than to take expensive rickshaws, appeared as new consumer level as migrant population from rural regions supplemented rickshaw drivers. ( 23 ) In spite of its increasing demand, increasing supply of rickshaw drivers made it affordable for middle classes to regard rickshaws as their daily transportations.
            Without doubt, urban Chinese streets in 1920s and early 30s were filled with rickshaw pullers running and shouting to attract customers. As China expert David Strand points out, "Sixty thousand men took as many as a half a million fares a day in a city of slightly more than one million." ( 24 ) The total proportion of the pullers, estimated "one out of six males in the city between the ages of sixteen and fifty" ( 25 ) , was also huge.
            The popularity of Chinese rickshaws spread to neighboring countries. In South Korea ? at that time under Japanese military regime ? the rickshaws became the theme of literary pieces. Korean author Hyun Jin Gun's most famous short story Lucky Day depicts life of a Chinese rickshaw puller in Shanghai in one hot summer's day. In the story, rickshaw drivers, despite their demanding workload, did not earn much; even if they did earn a sum of money, they usually used it up for alcohols and other daily leisure. The protagonist of Hyun's short story, without exception, lived in squalor; his wife dies for nutrition shortage. ( 26 ) In reality, although Chinese rickshaw pullers ran all around to transport urban customers, they built the very basis of the wealth pyramid. The statistics show that rickshaw business prospered among low-class urban residents; it does not mean, however, that the life of rickshaw pullers were as lucrative and comfortable as the middle class. ( 27 )
            Rickshaw boom met its obstacle in the early 1940s when the urban Chinese atmosphere was devastated by the war-mad Japanese. After the Republic of China was established, however, the situation became worse. The officials of the People's Republic of China believed that rickshaws were the symbol of oppression to the proletariat. ( 28 ) Thus, only after a few decades from its heyday, rickshaws became out of sight in 1950s.

II.8 Automobiles
            Neither the People's Republic of China nor the Republic of China was fast enough to develop the automobile industry; however, China is now boasting its production as the second largest manufacturer in the world. ( 29 ) The origin of automobile production dates back to 1931 when two generals, Zhang Xueliang and Yang Hucheng made charcoal-driven trucks. For two and a half decades when China underwent a series of wars and revolutions, the automobile mostly remained for military use. In 1956, the first modern automobile factory dubbed First Automobile Works was established in the People¡¯s Republic of China. Until 1970, several automobile factories were built in Nanjing, Shanghai, Jinan, and Beijing, all of which have evolved as today's automobile production hubs. ( 30 )
            Today, the People's Republic of China alone encompasses large, high-tech automobile businesses including Nanjing Automobile Corporation, Shanghai Automotive Industry Corporation, China National Heavy Duty Truck Group, and Beijing Automotive Industry Holding Corporation. The number of automobile users has also skyrocketed, from about 259 thousand in 1978 to 5 million and 806 thousand in 1997, and over 10 million in 2002. ( 31 )

III Land Transportation in Japan

III.1 Land Geography
            A nation isolated by the ocean, Japan consists of four main islands: Honshu (the main island), Kyushu, Sikoku, and Hokkaido. Although Japan, with relatively short east-west width, is bordered extensively with sea, more than 50 % of the land is covered by mountains and forests. Often the inland regions of Honshu, such as Nagano, Yamagata, and Akita, are covered by long mountain ranges that stretch from the northern Morioka to Yamaguchi. Its total area is comparable to that of California or Germany. Since the territory is vertically long, the country¡¯s climate varies widely according to latitudes, with sub-tropical Okinawa to sub-frigid Asahikawa. ( 32 )

III.2 Development of Land Routes

III.2.1 Roads before Meiji Restoration
            In reality, few sources track the process of development of land routes in pre-19C Japanese history. The underlying basis for the lacking source is demonstrated in the following quote: ¡°Most Japanese people traveled on foot until latter part of the 19th century. ( 33 ) Unlike China which, from early ages, developed systematic trade routes, Japan in the past could not develop extensive land routes. Limited by geography and volatile political situation, there were relatively few efforts to create systematic roads. Although partial efforts were made during Kamakura Period along the middle-regions of pacific coastlines (today's Yokohama, Kawasaki and Shizuoka) to systematize roads near the capital, it only lasted a few decades. Major routes for horses existed for merchants and armies, but these routes were well-arranged only if the routes were ¡®major¡¯ enough. Many parts of the roads were not taken care of; most of them were only open for Samurais who were tough enough to cross the narrow natural routes in the mountainous region.
            During the Kamakura and Edo period, inland commerce was inferior to that of China and South Korea. Enterprises were reluctant to make large cross-country adventures not only because it was dangerous but it was unprofitable too; people in the inland regions were often self-sufficient farmers, so most of them seldom produce any valuable goods. Moreover, when the nation was not yet united, interactions between foreign regions were often not recommended by Shoguns. ( 34 )
            It was later part Edo period that people began to realize the importance of national road system. The development of interprovincial land routes, however, was launched after Tokugawa Shogunate demolished and foreign technology on arranging roads was introduced. Thus, a combination of factors ? mostly political and geographical ? has delayed systematic development of land routes in Japanese island.

III.2.2 Highways
            Despite Japan's late start in road development, Japan now claims to have one of the best national road networks in the world. With 1,152,207 km of highways (among them, 6,114 km is expressways), Japan¡¯s land transportation is extensively developed to accommodate road passengers and freight transports. ( 35 ) Cargos have grown rapidly from 1980s, and 90 % of them are carried through expressways and other highways. These roads were formerly administered by Japan Highway Public Corporation, but former Prime Minister Koizumi Junichiro turned it to private business.

III.3 Trains

III.3.1 Railroads
            Although the People¡¯s Republic of China claims to link every town and village, its railroad network is minor compared with that of Japan's. The 23,607.7km railways are administered by dozens of railway companies. ( 36 ) Among them, the oldest, the largest, and the most popular railway companies are the seven branches of JR (Japanese Railroad), including JR Higashi-Nihon which is responsible for the huge, intricate network of metros and express trains in Tokyo and its satellite cities like Kawasaki, Yokohama, Saitama, and Chiba.
            Japanese Railroads can be divided into three subgroups: express railroads, long-distance railroads, and local railroads. Express railroads refer to Shinkansen, which has its center at Tokyo station and stretches far into Fukuoka (Southwest), Nagano (Central), Niigata (Northwest), and Morioka (Northeast), and Akita (Northwest). Among them, two major branches of Shinkansen are Tokaido Shinkansen (Tokyo-Fukuoka) and Tohoku Shinkansen (Tokyo-Morioka). The fastest Shinkansen, called Nozomi, (N700 and N500 series) runs Nagoya-Osaka track at the speed of 300 km per hour.
            Shinkansen construction began in 1959 and was finished right in time in 1964 when Tokyo Olympic was held. The first Shinkansen could speed up to 200 km/h, which was revolutionary in Asian terms. Though the first Shinkansen track was limited to Tokyo-Osaka rail, it marked a tremendous success. The government thus extended Tokaido Shinkansen, along with laying new tracks along Tokyo-Utsunomiya-Sendai-Morioka course, which in today called Tohoku Shinkansen. In 1998, Nagano Shinkansen began its service, transporting foreigners who participated in 1998 Nagano Winter Olympics. Until now, Shinkansen remains the symbol of Japanese railroad and is popular among the public and the tourists.
            The long-distance trains refer to all non-Shinkansen express trains. With various maximum speeds, long-distance trains often connect cities that are not linked by Shinkansen. Often times, tracks of long-distance trains are the extensions of local trains or metros. ( 37 ) For example, Chuo (Japanese word for "center" or "central") Main line is an old detour from Tokyo to Nagoya. Starting service in the early 1900s, Chuo Main line is now segmented into several parts. About 87.8 km from Tokyo to Otsuki is covered by metros while longer distances (e. g. Tokyo to Fujimi, the closest rail station from Mt. Fuji, 182.9 km) are covered by express long-distance trains. On the other hand, local trains in Chuo Main Line connect rural areas exclusively; it does not approach closer than 50 km from Tokyo. Originally, only long-distance trains and local trains were available before 1960s; metro for Chuo Line was introduced in the late 1960s. ( 38 )

III.3.2 Metros
            Perhaps not a single country could confidently boast their metro system in front of Japan. Despite its intricate network of highways system, Japan has never involved as many car owners as South Korea; carefully designed metro system brings people to everywhere, eliminating people's need to buy any car.
            Metros that are run by JR are either commuter trains or middle-distance trains that connect major towns with airports or adjacent Shinkansen stations. The development of JR metros has been made consecutively by extending the existing JR lines. In Tokyo, more than twenty JR metros that have been laid out longer than necessary, contributed to the expansion of suburbs in the late 1980s. More than twenty metros, with respective names, have brought suburban and off-city residents to the downtown of Tokyo for more than twenty years. ( 39 )
            JR Metros are separated by other private-owned local metros, most of which are called 'subway companies' in Japan. Eidan Subway, Do-ei Subway, and Odakyu Railroads were established during early 1980s when Japanese government subsidized construction of metros and subways. ( 40 ) Though much smaller in size than JR, these metro companies provide towns without JR stations nearby a convenient transport to JR stations and other small towns.

III.3.3 Streetcars
            Streetcars are two-train vehicles that look more like old metros but runs on the roads. Streetcars have appeared not only in Japan but China and Korea, but the last two countries, especially Korea, do not have them until today. In fact, Chinese and Korean streetcars that provided services from the late 1800s to mid 1900s were first introduced from Japan. The origin of Japanese streetcar dates back to 1895 in Kyoto. From this city, streetcars gradually spread into major cities including Tokyo, Hiroshima, and Yokohama. They met heyday in 1940s when streetcar tracks were laid out 1,500 kilometers long in 65 cities. ( 41 )
            Along with the national-scale modernization project after the World War II, streetcars have gradually disappeared from sight. However, reflecting older generation¡¯s nostalgia for the old land-train vehicles and its convenience and efficiency, streetcars are gradually increasing in all four main islands of Japan. As one Japanese corporation puts, "Now, with the scale of streetcar operations diminished by over two-thirds from this peak, and total track length by over five-sixths, plans for new lines and extensions have recently been popping up on drawing boards across the country." ( 42 ) Today, there are five public and fifteen private operators of streetcars in nineteen cities, with the total 240 km of lines.

III.3.4 Express Maglev Trains
            When Shinkansen saw a huge success in 1960s, Japanese government in early 1970s launched a million-dollar project to invent the second express rail traffic. Still in the process of development, the first express maglev trains, called MLU001 and MLU002, registered 400.8 km/h in 1897.More recently, a three-car train model named MLX01 showed 581 km/h in Miyazaki test tracks. ( 43 ) Despite this astronomical record, Japanese express maglev trains still have safety and cost problems to solve till it is put into the service.

III.4 Bicycles
            Although Japan has decent railroads and well-arranged highway network, the most popular transportation for many Japanese is bicycles. In Japan, there are bicycle garages for ninety-five percent of buildings. There are sixty-six million bicycles in use or one bicycle for every 1.8 persons in Japan. ( 44 ) To supervise the huge number of bicycles, district offices impose a small tax ? about 200 yen ? per bicycle, giving a yellow identification sticker in return.
            The history of bicycle in Japan starts in the modern restoration known as Meiji Ishin. In 1868, a man named Tanaka Kutsyu (ï£ñéÎùñì) followed instructions written in English and produced the first three-tire bicycle in Japan. ( 45 ) Only after two years, however, Meiji government proclaimed that ¡°¡¸í»?ó³ú¼ìѪÎÛªúªá´ªÊª«ªéª¶ªëªËÜõª­¡¢Ô²ß¾ê¡?ªòÐתº¡¹¡±, meaning it would ban the use of bicycles for it had diminished space for streetwalkers. ( 46 ) Still, the image of black-tire iron vehicles had already brought admirations from the urban population. Fortunately for these bicycle lovers, Japanese government did not prohibit its production. While the images of first two-tire bicycles were reported by Yokohama Press from late 1871, Japan finally eliminated the ban in 1878. In 1888, the first bicycle shop was opened in Tokyo. Sales were made in Tokyo, Yokohama, Osaka, Kyoto, and Nagoya until 1941 when the belligerent Japanese government limited the use of steels only for military purposes. ( 47 )
            As soon as the war was over, bicycle manufacturers resumed their production. Soon, the number and popularity of bicycles increased to the point that the Japanese Bicycle Association was created in 1954. ( bicycle association ) From the early 1970s, a series of oil shocks hit Japanese economy. To avoid energy crisis, Japanese government provided subsidies to bicycle markets. In 1973, Japan recorded 9.4 million bicycles in use; after then, bicycle riders gradually increased to 50 million in 1998 and 66 millions in 2008. ( 48 )
            In Japan, bicycle not only served as a useful transport but also as a racing vehicle. In 1964, a national cycle racing stadium was built in Hachioji, Tokyo. Still being one of the world¡¯s most famous cycle trails, Hachioji stadium has engendered hundreds of professional cyclers who have settled new records at various international competitions. ( 49 )

III.5 Jinrikisha
            Jinrikisha, meaning the human-powered vehicle, is the origin of rickshaws in East, Southeast, and South Asia. First invented in 1868 - the beginning of Meiji Restoration ? around Tokyo and Yokohama, jinrikisha was the prototype of all rickshaws in these regions, and the word rickshaw is believed to have been originated from this Japanese word. ( 50 )
            However, it still remains unclear that the first jinrikisha made in Tokyo in 1868 was actually an invention. Japanese textbooks state Izumi Yosuke, Suzuki Tokujiro, and Takayama Kosuke as some of the first inventors. ( 51 ) Some American experts, on the contrary, mention Albert Tolman, a blacksmith in Massachusetts, as the first inventor. On the other hand, a few records have been found that American missionaries, first arrived in Tokyo in 1868, transformed horse-run carriages into jinrikisha ( 52 ).
            Regardless of its unclear origin, as soon as the jinrikisha was produced, it gained huge popularity in huge cities, starting from Tokyo and Yokohama to as far as Nagoya and Osaka. In 1870, the Meiji government issued a permission to freely produce and sell jinrikisha to the public. ( 53 )
            Since then, jinrikisha became the symbol of urban transportation. Within a few decades, jinrikisha occupied major streets not only in major Honshu urban cities but those in Kyushu, Shikoku, and even Hokkaido. Like Hyun's Lucky Day, a number of authors took jinrikisha as their literary themes. Among the famous was Onoto Watanna's The Old Jinrikisha, which is a series of short stories written during 1890s and 1900s. They show that the life of jinrikisha pullers was not that far from that of Chinese rickshaw pullers, though Japanese pullers generally earned more and maintained healthy family life. ( 54 ) It also depicts that the streets were filled with busy jinrikisha pullers attracting customers, which clearly illustrates the popularity and pervasiveness of jinrikisha in Japanese society.
            Although Jinrikisha continued to exist during two world wars ? Japanese had not been the battle ground for a single time except Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings in 1945 ? it gradually lost favor as modern streets, paved with asphalt and cement, were constructed. Upper classes, from early 1900s, betrayed jinrikisha in favor of cutting-edge automobiles. ( 55 ) After the World War II, the automobile became one of the major industries in Japan and more cars with cheaper prices came out. Only a few historical cites (e. g. Kamakura, Asakusa) ran province-driven jinrikisha business.
            Along with national efforts to restore Japanese traditions, jinrikisha began to emerge in different parts of cities, train stations, and airports. In some cases, jinrikisha is used as a business item: for instance, ANA (All Nippon Airline) launched jinrikisha business within Haneda airport, transporting plane passengers from gates to gates or malls to malls. ( 56 )

III.6 Automobiles
            Japan created some of the most famous automobile businesses in the world. As the home of Nissan, Toyota, and Honda, Japan has currently ranked world¡¯s third automobile exports in dollars. ( 57 ) The first automobile company in Japan was Hatsudoki Seizo Co. Ltd which was established in 1907. Although Hatsudoki and other automobile companies in the early 1900s supplied automobiles for military uses, cars for public uses were being invented, starting from Toyota's AA in 1936. After the World War ended, the industry temporarily went into slump, but resumed its service from 1950s. Throughout 1950s and 1960s, dozens of classic cars were introduced, including Suzuki's Suzulight and Honda's S500. ( 58 )
            Yet, it was not until the 1980s when the Japanese government placed huge assets into building and repairing the national highway networks that automobile industry saw the heyday. As its infrastructure improved significantly, many Japanese who used to take full advantage of railways began to purchase cars, laying foundation for the development of Japan's automobile companies. ( 59 ) Nowadays, Japanese automobile companies, mainly Toyota, are focusing on brand marketing to compete with major European motor enterprises such as Mercedes-Benz and BMW.

IV. Inland Waterways in China

IV.1 Water Geography
            Surrounded by the Yellow Sea in the northeast, the East Chinese Sea in the east, and the South Chinese Sea in the southeast, China encompasses a complex river network system. Although some rivers, such as 4,500 km-long Mekong River, sprouted from the Chinese west, most of the inland waterways flow into one of three seas located in the east of the mainland China, and among these exist China's major rivers, such as Chang Jiang (6,300 km long) and Huang He (5,464 km long). Many of these rivers originate from the Plateau of Tibet or the mountainous regions of northwest. ( 60 )

IV.2 Grand Canal
            Just as the Silk Road refers to a system of cross-roads between China and Central Asia, Grand Canal also refers to a system of canals that connect major rivers. Most rivers in China, due to geographical discrepancy, flow from the west to east. On the contrary, major cities have been located in the east and the northeast while agricultural centers have been located in the south of Yangtze River. From very old age, therefore, Chinese have been aware of the importance of artificial waterways that can transport grains from the south to north. (61)
            The first construction of canal was initiated in the late Spring and Autumn Period (722 BC ? 381 BC) by the Duke of Wu. Built to transport southern supplies to the north, he aimed both to facilitate trade and to increase military power of his own country. However, canals built in this stage were so narrow and rugged that they did not play their role as trade routes effectively. The first canal that complemented these weaknesses, called contour canal, was built around 215 BC, connecting Changjiang and the Pearl River. (62)
            While local and provincial canal constructions followed, more than 90% of today¡¯s Grand Canal was completed during Sui Dynasty. By 600, Yangtze River delta no longer played a noticeable role as the agricultural center; instead, Jiangsu and Zhejiang provinces, which were rather closer to Huai River branches, produced much of China's crops. Led by the infamous Sui emperor Yang Di, millions of men and women were forced to construct major canals. The first major canal, built in 607, was named Bian Qu, providing a direct route connecting Yangtze River to Huai River. By 610, the second canal project, which was to branch out waterways from Yangtze, Huang He, and Chang Jiang, was completed. (63)
            Thanks to the systemized canal network that had been established from early ages, river navigation in China, unlike that of North America, needed not to be conducted by individual adventurers. After Yang Di's ambition was achieved, many parts of Grand Canal was tracked and supervised by Tang Dynasty. Its economical hub, Yangzhou, successfully functioned as the central port in the Grand Canal system, decreasing the cost of freight in Yangtze-Chang'an line. ( 64 )
            Grand Canal maintained its function in Song Dynasty. When Mongols invaded Han China, its importance drastically fell because there were no canal branches connecting Yuan's capital, Kaifeng. Luckily, a huge proportion of Grand Canal was restored under Yongle of Ming Dynasty from 1411 to 1415. Thus, Grand Canal resumed its function until the European powers introduced the railroads and cheap maritime freight services. As a missionary-scholar Matteo Ricci reported in 1615, "This country (China) is so thoroughly covered by an intersecting network of rivers and canals that it is possible to travel almost anywhere by water." (65)
            Although the economic importance of Grand Canal has disappeared, it still remains as the representative landmark in the history of Chinese transportation. Even if the Silk Road enabled cultural and economical exchange abroad, China would not have sustained itself internally without the Grand Canal. (66)

V. Inland Waterways in Japan

V.1 Water Geography
            Unlike China and Korea, Japan is an island country that involves high mountains along the center of main islands. Rivers, which flow from high mountains to lowlands and plains, are thus originated from the long vertical mountain ranges. (67) Japanese rivers are often characterized by "their relatively short lengths and considerably steep gradients due to the narrow and mountainous topography of the country. An often-cited quote is 'this is not a river, but a waterfall' by the Dutch engineer Johannis de Rijke." ( 68 )

V.2 River Navigation
            Compared with China, Japan claims fewer records associated with river navigation or artificial waterways. Without a conspicuously large river, numerous small rivers have been the residential center for the farmers. Since commerce was mostly carried out on the land transportation, river navigation has often been ignored during Kamakura and Edo periods.
            The first attempt to apply human hands to Japanese rivers was made in the first decade of Meiji Restoration when the Japanese government constructed canals to transport freights and passengers from inland to the ports. Two canals built in this era are particularly famous among Japanese. Lake Biwa Canal, which connects Kyoto with surrounding inland regions, was one of the first canals built during the Restoration. ( 69 ) Otaru Canal, which has been the major tourist site since 1990s, was one of the few canals constructed in Hokkaido. It connects Sapporo with its nearest port, Otaru. There have been few efforts to revolutionize Japanese river networks largely because Japan has traditionally been a maritime nation; in fact, it was less costly and safer to travel across the sea than following narrow waterways.

VI. Maritime Shipping in China

VI.1 History of Maritime Shipping
            In the midst of isolationism policy, China has eschewed maritime activities for a long time. Occasional records exist dealing with maritime trade and adventures. The first and the most famous adventure in Chinese history was carried out under Admiral Zheng He. Launching seven expeditions reaching as far as Northern Africa, Zheng He¡¯s adventure took place between 1405 and 1433. (70)
            After his death, Ming and Qing government discouraged maritime shipping to keep certain distance from foreign influences. For centuries, China allowed only one port in Canton (Guangzhou) to accept foreign goods; trades through other ports were considered smuggling. (71)
            Finally, the Treaty of Nanjing compelled China to open new ports ? Shanghai, which had been a tiny coastal village, was one of the four ports newly opened for foreign merchants - and accept foreign maritime ships. While discouraging transportation through the Grand Canal and Hakka, France, England, and Japan encouraged Chinese maritime shipping industry. During 1900s, maritime shipping had become a crucial part of Chinese industry.

VI.2 Factors of Development
            Though the fundamental development of maritime shipping was initiated less than a century ago, maritime shipping in China was controlled under the major shipping companies. When the Chinese Civil War ended, maritime shipping that had been grown by foreign nations continued to play a significant role particularly in the freight transport between the north and south. In 1961, the People's Republic of China established the first state-run shipping company which was later dubbed COSCO (China Ocean Shipping Company). Along with CSCL (China Shipping Container Lines) opened in 1997, several Chinese maritime shipping companies have now developed into some of the world¡¯s largest in the field. With these companies making continuous R&Ds and future plans, the development of maritime shipping in China has been regulated appropriately. (72)

VI.3 Steamboats
            Though steamboats were mostly sea-driven, they account a significant part of the history of Chinese inland waterway traffics. Due to its great width and steady flow, major rivers in China could easily afford steamboats crossing up to the inland. ( 73 ) Among them, Yangtze River, which begins at Shanghai, was a major battleground for steamboats during the Opium Wars and the World War II.
            The first steamboat emerged in China was Jardine. Built in 1835 by the British, it ran between the Lintin Island, Macao, and Whampoa as a mail and passenger carrier. Qing Dynasty, apprehended by its presence, banned its passage. The British officer, who was outraged by the Qing's sudden ban, arbitrarily burned up ports and villages as he cross over the Yangtze River valley. ( 74 ) These warships, appeared in mid-1940s, marked the first steamboats appeared in Chinese inland waterways.
            After the Treaty of Nanjing, Shanghai, as one of the ¡°open ports¡±, became an important naval base for the British. The China Navigation Company, operated by the British in London, was established in 1876. Until 1941 when most of the company¡¯s ships were seized by the Japanese, the company offered inland mail and passenger services, nor only from Shanghai-Nanjing line but various lines that connected some middle-size ports. ( 75 )

VII. Maritime Shipping in Japan

VII.1 History of Maritime Shipping
            Japan was earlier in realizing the importance of maritime transportation. Japan, which had annual exchange between Portuguese merchants, had a class of people ready to learn and accept Western maritime shipping system. Will Adam, a Kentish shipwright who spent most of his life in Japan, produced dozens of apprentices. However, Edo period did not allow professional maritime shipping and shipping through the sea was carefully monitored. ( 76 )
            From the mid 19th century, isolationism in Japan has been attacked by the introduction of foreign forces. As Japanese witnessed American modern streamers, they realized that they should accept modern western ships. Wanting to be superior to other localities, Daimos became the first customers of western ships during the Grimean War (1854 ? 1856) period. ( 77 )
            The Japanese shipping "began with the initial advantage of having its tonnage provided by the authorities and it was soon to benefit by the country¡¯s need of tonnage for its various wars". ( 78 ) Thanks to the technicians who learned and passed techniques taught by Will Adam and other pioneers in maritime shipping, Japan¡¯s shipping technology could advance further and faster. From 1908, steam liners were built independently by Toyo Kinsin Kaisha of Tokyo. After the World War II, several shipping companies emerged, such as The Nippon Yuseu Kaisha of Mitsubishi Company, and Japan could retain its reputation in maritime shipping. ( 79 )

VII.2 Factors of Development
            Nevertheless, the amount of maritime traffic, which remained higher than that of China and Korea from the late 1800s, motivated the development of domestic maritime shipping. Once its development was induced, the maritime shipping grew into the national industry under the personal and governmental care. As an international report reveals, maritime shipping in Japan could have developed only because customers and the government have paid close attention: "Remarkable as has been the ability shown by Japanese ship owners, it would have been physically impossible for them to have attained their present position in such a short time had it not been for the fact that the Government, early recognizing that Japan can expand and even exist only by sea power, has given every form of State assistance for many years past." ( 80 )

VIII. Air Transportation in China

VIII.1 History of Airlines
            History of Airlines in People¡¯s Republic of China is only 20 years old. Dating back to 1988, the officials in the People¡¯s Republic of China have decided to build a national airway system. Established in the name of Air China, the national airway network connected Chinese cities with major cities throughout the world. Yet, the company was under heavy regulation from its socialistic political ideology. Deregulation initiated in 1994 stimulated the company's growth. Now, Air China has been developing rapidly, connecting China with more and more cities each year.
            China Airlines in Taiwan, on the other hand, was established in 1959 by retired Chinese Air Force officials. Beginning its first international service in 1966, CAL received United Nation's sanction of Beijing government in 1971 and its international airlines were severely restricted. However, as the sanction loosened, CAL began to develop in 1990s. Now, along with Hong Kong¡¯s Cathay Pacific, CAL is one of the growing international airlines. ( 81 )

VIII.2 Significance of Air Transportation
            Although People's Republic of China was much earlier to start an airline business, the significance of air transportation is more conspicuous in People's Republic of China. Occupying the Chinese mainland, the People's Republic of China has world¡¯s third largest territory. Canals and railroad networks have developed extensively; however, it takes days and weeks to make a long distance travel between the north and the south. Without domestic airlines, there would be tremendous inconvenience in moving from one place of People's Republic of China to another. ( 82 )

IX. Air Transportation in Japan

IX.1 History of Airlines
            When Japan Air Lines was established in 1951 by the Japanese government, the company was equipped with veteran pilots and adroit technicians from the World War II. Only after three years from its establishment, Japan Air Lines opened international services, mainly to San Francisco and Los Angeles across the Atlantic. Its flight service, however, was limited and regulated by the Japanese government which allocated certain air routes to specific companies. In 1987, Japan Air Lines, along with ANA (All Nippon Airways) and JAS (Japan Air System), were totally privatized. Today, Japanese airline companies are famous for its high-quality services. ( 83 )

IX.2 Significance of Air Transportation
            Honshu, Hokkaido, Kyushu, and Shikoku, each of which is a separate island, constitute Japan. Though Honshu is connected either by undersea tunnels or long bridge (e.g. Seto Bay Bridge), the number of these connection routes are very limited. When having a cross-island trip, Japanese often prefer airlines which are both abundant in number and convenient. Since 1970s, Haneda - New Chitose line that connect Tokyo to Sapporo was among the most popular services. Domestic services are less popular in areas approachable by Shinkansen. ( 84 ) Globally, Tokyo's Narita International Airport and Osaka's Kansai International airport have been major air hub for international lines.

X. Conclusion
            Under the influence of Confucianism, China and Japan have shared a large part of each other¡¯s culture. Located in East Asia, two countries can be reached with a three-hour flight. Despite commonness and adjacency, substantial discrepancies exist in two country¡¯s history of transportation. China, with the development of canal networks from as early as the Spring and Autumn period, developed a vast inland waterway system while Japan possess only a few of them. Until the mid-1800s, the importance of transportation was not recognized in Japan while it had been in China for centuries. At the sight of new, western technology, however, Japan accepted with great alacrity while China protested its establishment with detest. Today, Japan is one of the few countries in the world with excellent land, maritime, and air transportation at once. On the contrary, China, though equipped with extensive network of canals and roads, falls behind compared with Japan. Considering the fact that China had once the world-class transportation system in the past, the grade and level of transportation network may be altered completely within a few centuries. From the transport history of Japan and China, it seems clear that developing transportation network, requiring both technology and popular support, is never an easy process.


1.      Geography of China: East Asian Studies Web
2.      The Silk Road, by Oliver Wild
3.      ibid.
4.      Silk Road and Caravans: Analysis by UNESCO
5.      The Silk Road, by Oliver Wild
6.      Silk Road and Caravans: Analysis by UNESCO
7.      Ancient Tea Horse Road
8.      ibid.
9.      East West Dialogue, Ancient China¡¯s Technology
10.      ibid.
11.      Encyclopaedia Britannica Vol. 16: Macropaedia, Article : China
12.      Dillon 1998
13.      ibid.
14.      Introduction: China¡¯s Railroad System
15.      ibid.

16.      Asia Planet Net: China Transportation
17.      ibid.

18.      Wikipedia: Transport in the People's Republic of China
19.      ibid.

20.      Encyclopaedia Britannica Vol. 16: Macropaedia, Article : China
21.      East West Dialogue, Ancient China¡¯s Technology
22.      Wikipedia Article on Rickshaw
23.      ibid.

24.      The Rickshaw & Velotaxi
25.      Wikipedia Article on Rickshaw
26.      ibid.
27.      Dillon 1998
28.      Wikipedia Article on Rickshaw
29.      Article on Slideshare: Ancient Automobile History in China
30.      Wikipedia : History of Science and Technology of China
31.      ibid.
32.      World Geography Atlas: Japan Geography
33.      Record in Japanese Ministry
34.      Wikipedia: Transport in Japan
35.      History of Railroads presented by JR
36.      History of Shinkansen on Japanese Lifestyle
37.      ibid.
38.      History of Railroads presented by JR
39.      History of Japanese Metro by Tokyo Metro Company
40.      Japanese subways: Subway Museum of Japan
41.      Trends in Japan: History of Japanese Streetcar
42.      ibid.
43.      R&D Development of Japanese Maglev Trains
44.      Timetable: History of Japanese Bicycle
45.      ibid.
46.      ibid.
47.      Encyclopaedia Britannica Vol. 22: Macropaedia, Article : Japan
48.      Statistics: U. S. Transportation Research Board
49.      ibid.
50.      Encyclopaedia Britannica Vol. 28: Macropaedia, Article : Transportation
51.      The Rickshaw & Velotaxi
52.      Encyclopaedia Britannica Vol. 28: Macropaedia, Article : Transportation
53.      ibid.
54.      The Rickshaw & Velotaxi
55.      ibid.
56.      ibid.
57.      Wikipedia: Transport in Japan
58.      Wikipedia: Automotive Industry in Japan
59.      ibid.
60.      Czarneck
61.      ibid.
62.      East West Dialogue, Ancient China¡¯s Technology
63.      Dillon 1998
64.      East West Dialogue, Ancient China¡¯s Technology
65.      Dillon 1998
66.      ibid.
67.      ibid.
68.      Wikipedia: Lake Biwa Canal
69.      Encyclopaedia Britannica Vol. 22: Macropaedia, Article : Japan
70.      Dillon 1998
71.      ibid.
72.      Wikipedia Article on History of Science and Technology in China
73.      Encyclopaedia Britannica Vol. 16: Macropaedia, Article : China
74.      Wikipedia article on Steamboats on Yangtze River
75.      ibid.
76.      Cochrane
77.      ibid.
78.      Encyclopaedia Britannica Vol. 22: Macropaedia, Article : Japan
79.      Cochrane
80.      ibid.
81.      History Central
82.      Funding Universe
83.      History of Japan Airline Company
84.      Wikipedia: Japan Airlines


Note : websites quoted below were visited in December 2009.

Primary Sources
1.      Statistics from U. S. Transportation Research Board
2.      Online Map of Shinkansen Network, from Japanese Railroad Company
3.      Online Map of Chinese Land Formation:
4.      Historical Map of Caravan Routes, World geographical Atlas/Encyclopedia No. 3 Asia NY : McGraw Hill 1994
5.      Japan Geography World geographical Atlas/Encyclopedia No. 3 Asia NY : McGraw Hill 1994
6.      Online Map of Japanese Rivers, from UNESCO,

Secondary Sources :
7.      Encyclopaedia Britannica Vol. 16: Macropaedia, Article : China
8.      Encyclopaedia Britannica Vol. 22: Macropaedia, Article : Japan
9.      Encyclopaedia Britannica Vol. 28: Macropaedia, Article : Transportation
10.      Michael Dilton¡¯s China, a Cultural and Historical Dictionary Curzon, 1998
11.      Choi, Un-sik : Modes of Transportation: Traditional Korean Society -The Spirit of Korean Cultural Roots Series 20, Seoul : Ehwa UP 2007
12.      History of Railroad in Japan ? from JR East Japan:
13.      Japanese Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport, and Tourism :
14.      Analysis of the Geography of China by Columbia East Asian Studies Web:
15.      Analysis of Ancient China's Technology by East West Dialogue,
16.      Geography of China: Analysis by Lukas Czarneck
19.      Introduction of China's Railroad System, from China Page
20.      Past and Present of Japanese Metro by Tokyo Metro Company:
21.      History of Japanese Subway by Japan Subway Museum
22.      Newspaper Article: History of Japanese Subway System:
23.      Wikipedia Article on Transport in Japan:
24.      Wikipedia Article on Transportation in the People's Republic of China's_Republic_of_China
25.      Oliver Wild: The Silk Road:
26.      UNESCO Analysis of Caravans on Silk Road:
27.      Transportation in Ancient China, by gteacher:
28.      Tourist Information on Traditional Chinese Cart, from China Discover
29.      Summary on China's Transportation, from Asia Planet
30.      Wikipedia Article on Automotive Industry in Japan
31.      Research and Development Report on Japanese Express Maglev Trains, from RTRI
32.      History of Japanese Streetcar posted on Trends in Japan :
33.      Shinkansen History posted on Japanese Lifestyle:
34.      Timetable: History of Bicycles in Japan (in Japanese)
35.      Wikipedia Article on List of Rivers of Japan
36.      Wikipedia Article on Lake Biwa Canal:
37.      Wikipedia Article on Japan Airlines
38.      History of Japan Airline Company:
39.      The History of Aviation : History of Airlines : China, from Histoey Central
40.      History of China Airline Company, from Funding Universe
41.      William Cochrane, Sea Transport of the Nations : Japanese Shipping (1935),
42.      B. R. Mitchell, International Historical Statistics 1750 -2000, Africa, Asia and Australia, London : Fifth Edition, Palgrave 2003
43.      Jinrikisha business in Haneda Airport, from flickr,
44.      Taylor, The Rickshaw & Velotaxi
45.      Wikipedia Article on Rickshaw
46.      Ancient Tea Horse Road, from Tuocha Tea
47.      Wikipedia Article on Steamboats in Yangtze River

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