Last modified on 10 October 2014, at 17:55

Fukuzawa Yukichi

Each individual man and each individual country, according to the principles of natural reason, is free from bondage.

Fukuzawa Yukichi (福澤 諭吉 Yukichi Fukuzawa; 10 January 18353 February 1901) was a Japanese author, writer, teacher, entrepreneur and political theorist whose ideas about government and social institutions made a lasting impression on a rapidly changing Japan during the period known as the Meiji Era.

QuotesEdit

Civilization is an open-ended process. We cannot be satisfied with the present level of attainment of the West.
In an age when anti-foreign sentiment was running high, it was unavoidable that in my position as an advocate of open intercourse and free adoption of Western culture, I should make some adversaries.
  • It is said that heaven does not create one man above or below another man. Any existing distinction between the wise and the stupid, between the rich and the poor, comes down to a matter of education.
    • Gakumon no Susume [An Encouragement of Learning] (1872–1876).
  • Each individual man and each individual country, according to the principles of natural reason, is free from bondage. Consequently, if there is some threat that might infringe upon a country’s freedom, then that country should not hesitate even to take up arms against all the countries of the world.
    • Gakumon no Susume [An Encouragement of Learning] (1872–1876).
  • In its broad sense, civilization means not only comfort in daily necessities but also the refining of knowledge and the cultivation of virtue so as to elevate human life to a higher plane... It refers to the attainment of both material well-being and the elevation of the human spirit, [but] since what produces man’s well-being and refinement is knowledge and virtue, civilization ultimately means the progress of man’s knowledge and virtue.
    • Bunmeiron no Gairyaku [An Outline of a Theory of civilization] (1875).
  • Moreover, the argument for national polity, for Christianity, and for Confucianism... are also insufficient to bolster people’s hearts. What, then, will? I say there is one thing: namely, to establish our goal and advance toward civilization... The way in which to preserve this independence cannot be sought anywhere except in civilization.
    • Bunmeiron no Gairyaku [An Outline of a Theory of civilization] (1875).
  • Robbery and murder are the worst of human crimes; but in the West there are robbers and murderers. There are those who form cliques to vie for the reins of power and who, when deprived of that power, decry the injustice of it all. Even worse, international diplomacy is really based on the art of deception. Surveying the situation as a whole, all we can say is that there is a general prevalence of good over bad, but we can hardly call the situation perfect. When, several thousand years hence, the levels of knowledge and virtue of the peoples of the world will have made great progress (to the point of becoming utopian), the present condition of the nations of the West will surely seem a pitifully primitive stage. Seen in this light, civilization is an open-ended process. We cannot be satisfied with the present level of attainment of the West.
    • Bunmeiron no Gairyaku [An Outline of a Theory of Civilization] (1875).
  • Once the wind of Western civilization blows to the East, every blade of grass and every tree in the East follow what the Western wind brings... We do not have time to wait for the en­lightenment of our neighbors so that we can work together toward the development of Asia. It is better for us to leave the ranks of Asian na­tions and cast our lot with civilized nations of the West... We should deal with them exactly as the Westerners do.
    • "Datsu-a-ron" [On departure from Asia], Jiji Shimpo (1885-03-16).
  • Therefore, to teach them [women] at least an outline of economics and law is the first requirement after giving them a general education. Figuratively speaking, it will be like providing the women of civilized society with a pocket dagger for self-protection.
    • From Fukuzawa Yukichi on Japanese Women (1988), trans. Kiyooka Eiichi.

The Autobiography of Fukuzawa Yukichi (1897)Edit

  • Whatever happens in the country, whatever warfare harasses our land, we will never relinquish our hold on Western learning. As long as this school of ours stands, Japan remains a civilized nation of the world.
    • Ch. X.
  • I think I have made it clear that I never intended to make enemies. But in an age when anti-foreign sentiment was running high, it was unavoidable that in my position as an advocate of open intercourse and free adoption of Western culture, I should make some adversaries.
    • Ch. XI.
  • To recount the history of assassination since the beginning of our foreign intercourse — in the beginning, people simply hated the foreigners because all foreigners were "impure" men who should not be permitted to tread the sacred soil of Japan... As I have said before, I felt my life in greatest danger during the twelve or thirteen years around the period of the [Meiji] Restoration.
    • Ch. XI.
  • The world is large.
    • Ch. XV.

External linksEdit

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