Skip to 0 minutes and 8 seconds The Edo period in Japan lasted for more than 250 years. During this time, Japan was a closed society, very different from the West. With the Meiji Restoration of 1868, Japan began opening up and learning from Western countries, and moving forward with modernization. At this crucial turning point in Japan, there was a who pursued the essence of thought and mindset of Western society. Rather than just adopting the superficial traits and features from abroad, he sought out the best approach for the Japanese. His name was FUKUZAWA Yukichi. Hello everyone. My name is YAMAUCHI Keita.
Skip to 0 minutes and 51 seconds This course will examine the perspective of FUKUZAWA Yukichi, a figure who insightfully called attention to social issues and struggled throughout his life to achieve genuine modernization and civilization in Japan. We will consider the best ideals for individuals, societies, nations, and the world, taking “independence” and “civilization” as keywords. FUKUZAWA Yukichi was born almost 200 years ago into a low-ranking samurai family. In his boyhood he did not feel that he belonged to the feudal class system. From the age of 19, he began to assimilate Western learning through his study of the Dutch language.
Skip to 1 minute and 33 seconds He also mastered English, and closely observed the West by capitalizing on three opportunities to experience the world overseas This was at a time when almost no Japanese had ever seen a foreign country. Hello. I’m TOKURA Takeyuki. This is where the first speech was delivered in Japan. What’s interesting about Fukuzawa is that he wasn’t concerned only with technological development, above all, he focused on the “spirit” of Western society, and considered what gives rise to it.
Skip to 2 minutes and 10 seconds Fukuzawa founded one of Japan’s leading private educational institutions to cultivate people Recognized the importance of communication, engaged in public speaking, and established social clubs Founded a newspaper recognized by many as the best in Japan in order to promote journalism Powered Japan’s modernization not only via the government, but also through an independent private sector made up of his many followers. Fukuzawa’s life was a continuous struggle. The best approach for the nation, government and the people, men, women, and families, and learning and human beings. He battled with words, cultivated people, and continued dialogue with communities in order to explain new and different perspectives. Has the society that Fukuzawa strived for been achieved? Or do many issues still remain?
Skip to 3 minutes and 3 seconds The strivings and concerns of FUKUZAWA Yukichi from 150 years ago are not just historical references of an era of great change in Japanese society. They call our attention to issues the world is dealing with in today. What is the “civilization” we should strive for?