Fukuzawa Yukichi: from samurai to capitalist. [Helen M Hopper] — “Trace the career of Fukuzawa Yukichi, who began life as a lower-level samurai during the. Although he embraced much from Western thought, he never let go of his early Confucian training. Fukuzawa never entered public office, but his influence. Fukuzawa Yukichi: From Samurai to Capitalist (Library of World Biography Series ) (), , Helen M. Hopper,

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Born into a poor samurai family, Fukuzawa diligently educated himself, learning first the Dutch and then the English language. During the period from fukuawahe took part in three Shogunate missions to Europe and the United Statesand based on these experiences, he introduced Western culture to Japan through his writings, such as ” Seiyo jijo ” Conditions in the West. After yukicui Meiji era, he rejected all government appointments and did not receive any court rank or honors, but remained a private citizen.

In he founded Keio Universitythe first Japanese university to be independent of the government, which produced many business leaders. He is highly respected as one of the founders of modern Japan.

He published many works including ” Gakumon no susume” Encouragement of Learning and ” Bunmeiron no gairyaku” An Outline of a Theory of Civilization Fukuzawa emphasized importing knowledge and ideas as well as technology and material goods from the West, theorizing that with the necessary foundation of knowledge, Japan could develop its own technology. This attitude is still evident in Japan today, where education is taken very seriously.

Fukuzawa advocated a strong Japan which could win the respect of the West, not an expansionist Japan. When he died inhe did not see the imperialist path that the Japanese government was later to follow.

Fukuzawa Yukichi was born January 10, into an impoverished low-ranking samurai family of the Nakatsu clan in Osaka. Fukuzawa had little hope for advancement; his family was poor following the early death of his father. After his father died, he returned to Nakatsu and became a disciple of Tsuneto Shiroishi.

At the age of 14, Fukuzawa entered a school of Dutch studies, or Rangaku a Japanese term used to describe Western knowledge and science during the period before the mid-nineteenth century, when the Dutch were the only Westerners in Japan. Inshortly after Commodore Matthew C.

Fukuzawa Yukichi: From Samurai to Capitalist

Perry ‘s arrival in Japan, Fukuzawa’s brother, the family patriarch, asked Fukuzawa to travel sammurai Nagasaki, where the Dutch colony at Dejima was located. Fukuzawa was instructed to learn the Dutch language in order to study European cannon designs and gunnery techniques. Fukuzawa did travel to Nagasaki, but his stay was brief because he quickly began to do much better in his studies than his host in Nagasaki, Okudairi Iki.

The jealous Okudairi plotted to get Fukuzawa to return home by writing a letter saying that Fukuzawa’s mother was ill. Fukuzawa recognized the letter as a fake and, knowing that he would not be able to continue his studies in his home town, made plans to travel to Edo Tokyo and attend a school there. Upon his return to Osaka, however, his brother persuaded him to stay and enroll at the Tekijuku school run acpitalist physician and rangaku scholar Ogata Koan.

Fukuzawa studied at Tekijuku for three years, and became fully proficient in the Dutch language. Inhe was appointed official Dutch teacher of his family’s domain, Nakatsu, and was sent to Edo to teach the family’s vassals there.

The following year, Japan opened three of its ports to American and European ships, and Fukuzawa, intrigued with Western civilization, traveled to Kanagawa to see them. When he arrived, he discovered that virtually all of the European merchants there were speaking English rather than Dutch. He began to study English, but at that time, English-Japanese interpreters were rare and dictionaries nonexistent, so his studies progressed slowly.

The Tokugawa bakufu government decided to send envoys of the Shogun to the United States, and Fukuzawa volunteered his services to Admiral Kimura Yoshitake.

The delegation stayed in the city for a month, during which time Fukuzawa had himself photographed with an American girl one of the most famous photographs in Japanese historyand also found a Webster’s Dictionary, from which he began to seriously study the English language. On his return to Japan inFukuzawa became an official translator for the bakufu. Inhe visited Europe, as one of the two English translators in a delegation of 40 representatives sent by the Tokugawa bakufu.


The delegation spent almost an entire year in Europe. InFukuzawa returned to America, this time visiting Washington, D. Fukuzawa compiled the information collected during these travels in his famous work Seiyo Jijo ” Conditions in The West “which he published in ten volumes inand The books, which described Western political, economic and cultural institutions in clear and simple terms that were easy to understand, became immediate best-sellers, and Fukuzawa was soon regarded as the foremost expert on Western culture.

He decided that his mission in life was to educate his countrymen in new ways of thinking, which in turn, would strengthen Japan and enable it to resist the threat of European imperialism. Before the Meiji Restoration ingroups of xenophobic samurai tried to forcefully eject Americans and Europeans, and the Japanese who befriended them, by violence and murder.

After the Restoration, when the Japanese government began yukkichi actively samkrai information about the West, Fukuzawa was often offered government posts, but he consistently declined, insisting that Capitalisg needed to develop an independent intellectual community, and he remained a private citizen all of his life. Fukuzawa wrote more than one hundred books advocating parliamentary government, popular education, language reform, women’s rights, and a host of other causes.

He was an avid supporter of education and in founded one of Japan’s most prestigious samyrai, Keio-gijuku, now known as Keio University. It was the first great Japanese university to be independent of the government, and produced many business leaders.

Fukuzawa believed in creating a firm intellectual foundation through education and study. For years it was one of Japan’s most influential newspapers, and a training ground for many liberal politicians and journalists. Jiji Shimpo, which received wide circulation, encouraged acceptance of a national assembly as the form for the new government, and urged the people to enlighten themselves and fkkuzawa adopt a moderate political attitude towards the changes that were being engineered within the social and political structures of Japan.

Fukuzawa’s writings were possibly his greatest contribution to the Meiji period. Between andhe published 17 volumes of Gakumon no Susume ” An Encouragement samruai Learning” or more literally ” of Studying “. Fukuzawa outlined the importance of understanding the principle of equality of opportunity, and emphasized that study was the key to greatness. Fukuzawa also advocated his most lasting principle, “national independence through personal independence.

With such a self-determining social morality, Fukuzawa hoped to instill fgom the people of Japan a sense of their individual personal strength, and through that personal strength, build a nation to rival all others. He understood that Western society had become a powerful influence over other countries because Western nations fostered educationindividualism independencecompetition and the exchange of ideas. Among the many influential essays and critical works which Fukuzawa published, one of the most enduring is ” Bunmeiron no Gairyaku” “An Outline of a Theory of Civilization “published indetailing his theory of civilization.

According to Fukuzawa, civilization was relative to time and circumstance, as well as relative to capiyalist contemporary civilizations. He gave the example that, at that time, China was relatively civilized in comparison to some of the African colonies, and European nations were the most civilized of all.

Many of Fukuzawa’s views were shared by colleagues in the Meirokusha intellectual society, and were published in his contributions to Meiroku Zasshi Meiji Six Magazinea scholarly journal he helped publish. In his books and journals, he often spoke about the word “civilization” and its meaning.

He advocated moving toward “civilization,” which meant basic material well-being as well as spiritual well-being, by elevating human life to a “higher plane. Fukuzawa proposed that people could find the answer to the problems of their lives and understand their present situations by examining “civilization.

Fukuzawa Yukichi: From Samurai to Capitalist – Helen M. Hopper – Google Books

Japanhe said, should not be just importing new guns and materials from foreign countries, but importing knowledge; if a capitaliwt basis of knowledge and education were established, material necessities would take care of themselves. Fukuzawa also talked of the Japanese concept of being pragmatic jitsugaku and building things that were basic and useful to other people.

One of his most widely read article in Japan at the time was Datsu-A Ron, translated as “Argument for Leaving Asia, ” published in The article first declared that the “wind of Westernization” was blowing through the east, and Asian countries would either adopt the movement to “taste vukuzawa fruit of civilization,” or be left without a choice as to their own destiny.


The key to getting rid of the old, and gaining from the new was, “leaving Asia. Unless ho were pioneers to reform these countries, they would be conquered and divided by external forces, as evidenced by the unequal treaties and threats of force against Asian counties by the United States and other Western powers. In my view, these two countries [China and Korea] cannot survive as independent nations with the onslaught of Western civilization to the East It is not different from the case of the righteous man living in a neighborhood of a town known for foolishness, lawlessness, atrocity, and heartlessness.

His action is so rare that it is always buried under the ugliness of his neighbors’ activities… The spread of civilization is like the measles… Those [who] are intimate with bad friends are also regarded bad, therefore we should deny those bad Asian friends from our hearts.

Fukuzawa, Yukichi, Datsu-A Ron, Fukuzaww was later criticized as a supporter of Japanese imperialism because of his essay ” Datsu-A Ron ” ” Leaving Asia, “as well as for his support of samrai First Sino-Japanese War His enthusiastic support of the First Sino-Japanese War had much to do with his opinions about modernization. Like many of his peers smaurai the government, Fukuzawa ultimately believed the modernization of Asia could ultimately only be achieved by force.

He believed that China suffered from archaic and unchanging principles and would be unable to change under its own power. At the time sxmurai the war, foot-binding was still the practice in China; opium was being sold on street; and political institutions were corrupt and unable to fend off foreign incursions. China was selling national interests such as railroads and imposing taxation to pay foreign debts. Japan suffered a similar humiliation of having to endure unequal treaties with the Western powers.

Fukuzawa hoped a display of military prowess would sway public opinion in the West towards treaty revision, and help Japan to avoid fukuaawa fate of China. In his hopes for a strong Japan, Fukuzawa saw the Asian countries around Japan as both a danger and an opportunity. In addition to his many original books and articles, Fukuzawa translated many books and journals from foreign languages to Japanese, on a wide variety of subjects such as chemistrythe arts, the militaryand sociology.

Fukuzawa’s ideas about individual strength and his knowledge of Capitakist political theory, as presented in his writings, were instrumental in motivating the Japanese people to embrace change.

He is regarded as one of the leaders of the Meiji Enlightenment movement. By the time of his death, Fukuzawa was revered as one of the founders of modern Japan. All of his works were written during a critical juncture in the history of Japanese society, when the Japanese people felt uncertainty about their future after the signing of the Unequal Treaties, and recognized the weakness of the Capitqlist Shogunate and its inability to repel American and European influence.

Fukuzawa helped the Japanese people to understand their situation, leave behind their bitterness over American and European forced treaties and “imperialism,” and move forward.

Fukuzawa appears on samruai current 10,yen banknote and has been compared to Benjamin Franklin in the United Stateswho appears on the similarly-valued U.

Although all other personages appearing on Japanese banknotes changed during a recent fuluzawa, Fukuzawa remained capiralist the 10,yen note. The house and the Yukichi Fukuzawa Memorial Hall are the major tourist attractions of yukicyi city. New World Encyclopedia writers and editors rewrote and completed the Wikipedia article in accordance with New World Encyclopedia standards. This article abides by terms of the Creative Commons CC-by-sa 3.

Credit is due under the terms of this license that can reference both the New World Encyclopedia contributors and the selfless volunteer contributors of the Wikimedia Yukici.

To cite this article click here for a list of acceptable citing formats. The history of earlier contributions by wikipedians is accessible to researchers here:. Some restrictions may apply to use of individual images which capita,ist separately licensed. Previous Fujiwara no Teika. Credits New World Encyclopedia writers and editors rewrote and completed the Wikipedia article in accordance captialist New World Encyclopedia standards.

The history of earlier contributions by wikipedians is accessible to researchers here: History of “Fukuzawa Yukichi” Note: Contents 1 Life 1.