Biography of Fukuzawa Yukichi

Essay by redbullsmsux May 2006

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This paper will be on the life and works of Fukuzawa Yukichi, the man who spread foreign studies throughout Japan, opening schools and founding one of Japan's major universities today.

I chose this topic, because the name Fukuzawa Yukichi sounded familiar and therefore I did some brief research on him. From there I found out that he had been the founder of Keio University, which got me interested in him. Fukuzawa Yukichi is a very important figure in Japanese education, for he spread foreign studies and rangaku amongst the Japanese society.

My research question of this paper will be: How was Fukuzawa's knowledge in foreign studies and "rangaku" advantageous when trying to spread foreign studies?

My hypothesis is that his knowledge helped him to gain support and respect from the bakufu as well as the citizens, and helped him to open schools throughout Japan and travel abroad to study.

Fukuzawa's Background

" Fukuzawa Yukichi was born on January 10th, 1835 in the city of Osaka."1 His father was a low-ranking samurai of the Okudaira clan of Nakatsu. However, a year and a half after Fukuzawas birth, his father passed away leaving the family in poverty. Due to this Fukuzawa was unable to go to school until he was fourteen, when he finally had enough money to go to a school of Dutch studies. "When his brother sent a letter to the chancellor of the lord of his clan, it was returned to him for the address didn't contain honorifics appropriate to the chancellor's status. Due to this Fukuzawa developed a great hatred for the feudal system."2

Fukuzawa waited for a chance to change the ways of the feudal system. In February, 1854 at the age of nineteen he traveled to Nagasaki to study Dutch language and gunnery in order...