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An Encouragement of Learning

Yukichi Fukuzawa; Introduction by Shunsaku Nishikawa, Translated by David A. Dilworth

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December, 2013
Cloth, 192 pages,
ISBN: 978-0-231-16714-7
$55.00 / £38.00

The intellectual and social theorist Yukichi Fukuzawa wrote An Encouragement of Learning (1872–1876) as a series of pamphlets while completing his critical masterpiece, An Outline of a Theory of Civilization (1875). These closely linked texts illustrate the core tenets of his philosophical outlook: freedom and equality as inherent to human nature, independence as the goal of any individual and nation, and the transformation of the Japanese mind as key to advancing in a rapidly evolving political and cultural world.

In these essays, Fukuzawa advocated for the adoption of Western modes of education to help the Japanese people build a modern nation. He also believed that human beings’ treatment of one another extended to and was reflected in their government’s behavior, echoing the work of John Locke, Thomas Jefferson, and other Western thinkers in a classically structured Eastern text. This volume translates the full text into English and includes a chronology of Japanese history as it relates to Fukuzawa and his work. An introduction provides additional background on the life and influence of this profound thinker, and a selection of representative writings and suggestions for further reading fully introduce readers to the rare brilliance of his thought.

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About the Author

Yukichi Fukuzawa (1835–1901) founded Keio University, the first private university in modern Japan, and was an engaged speaker and controversial journalist. His books include An Outline of a Theory of Civilization, The Autobiography of Yukichi Fukuzawa, and Conditions in the West.

Shunsaku Nishikawa is professor emeritus at Keio University, where he also served as the director of the Fukuzawa Memorial Center for Modern Japanese Studies at the Keio Institute of East Asian Studies. His books include The Labor Market in Japan: Select Readings. David A. Dilworth is professor of philosophy at the State University of New York, Stony Brook. He is also the translator, with G. Cameron Hurst III, of Yukichi Fukuzawa’s An Outline of a Theory of Civilization.

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