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Worksheets and No Prep Teaching Resources
Reading Comprehension Worksheets
Social Studies Biographies
|edHelper's suggested reading level:||grades 6 to 8|
|Flesch-Kincaid grade level:||7.55|
By Vickie Chao
1 In the news, we often hear a term called the "G8 Summit." This annual meeting is a gathering for the leaders from eight of the world's leading countries. During the session, they meet and discuss various topics. Some of them are about labor. Some of them are about law enforcement. Some of them are about pollution. And some of them are about health. Of the eight participating nations, five are from Europe, two from North America, and only one from Asia. That lone Asian country is Japan.
2 Today, Japan's economy is one of the largest in the world. Thanks to its advanced technology, its products are very popular all around the globe. To understand why Japan is so successful, we have to first know the story of Emperor Meiji.
3 Emperor Meiji was born on November 3, 1852. At the time of his birth, Japan was a poor and isolated country. His father, Emperor Komei, did not have much say about state affairs. Most power was in the hands of several generals or shoguns. The dire situation that Emperor Komei faced was nothing new. Since the 12th century, the Japanese emperors had been rulers in name only. For nearly 700 years, they lived solely at the mercy of different shoguns. In the early 17th century, one family, the Tokugawa clan, seized power. They were the ones that Emperor Komei had to answer to.
4 The Tokugawa administration (or the Tokugawa shogunate) was distrustful of foreigners. The government did not like the idea of trading with another country. The Dutch, the Chinese, and the Koreans were the only exceptions. Even with them, the activity was quite limited. For a while, the seclusion seemed to do no harm to Japan. But it later turned out to be a huge mistake.
5 In 1853, Commodore Matthew Calbraith Perry of the United States arrived in Edo Bay (today's Tokyo Bay) with a fleet of four "black ships." His mission was to present a letter from President Millard Fillmore to the Japanese emperor. In the letter, President Fillmore listed several demands that were directly against Japan's policies at the time. For example, he told the Japanese emperor that Japan should open up more ports for trading and that Japan should trade with the Americans.
Paragraphs 6 to 12:
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