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The Autobiography of Yukichi Fukuzawa, Essay Example

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Essay

Since his birth in 1835, and after a sixty-six year period that had seen extraordinary changes, Fukazawa’s hard work continues to pay. Japan has since transformed from an isolated feudal state to a modern role thanks to Fukazawa’s leading role. During his life, he spent most of his time educating his fellow citizens and trying to unveil some of the ideas behind western civilization. This was during a time when Japan was separate from the modern world. During his life, Japan transformed from a country whose economy depended on Agriculture, had medieval notions of warfare and whose modern science was in the confines of some Dutch books to a modern state. This included things like a well-disciplined army and navy, an efficient parliament, compulsory education, and rapidly growing industries.

It is certain that Fukazawa’s determination to transform feudal Japan had a strong foundation from which he decided to seek the transformation. Fukazawa had to disentangle himself from the Chinese culture which he believed had held them captive and an incapacitated them. It is clear that it all started with a dislike of the Chinese medicine, which became a platform on which he influenced the fellow citizens to disconnect themselves from the Chinese culture altogether (Fukazawa and Kiyooka 91). This alienation from the Chinese culture made Fukazawa embrace western science, which he came to trust more and more as he grew from being a member of a lower Samurai class in the village, to when he wrote his book “Seiyo Jijo” that made him famous.

A disregard of Chinese medicine and culture and his interest in modern science was the backbone of Fukazawa’s transformation of Japan to a modern state. However, Fukazawa was not the only one who disliked the traditional culture that was backward but was with other fellow citizens. According to Macfarlane (6), Fukazawa stood out from the rest because of while his fellow citizens became caught up in western civilization, Fukazawa was busy integrating the small facets and trying to look at the organization that made the civilization work. Japan embraced the Chinese culture ad just like any other child she had to follow the tradition until when he realized that his father’s determination to make him a priest was a way to get him out of the rigid law of inheritance of the time (Fukazawa and Kiyooka, 6). From this time own, he realized that the only way to develop was to disentangle from the chains of inheritance thus including the Chinese culture. This led Fukazawa to setting from home to Nagasaki, Osaka, then Europe all for the sake of a change in the normal routine of a Japanese boy and a search for knowledge which he believed modern science entrenched.

Fukazawa’s chance to escape from the uncomfortable Nakatsu laid the foundation for the imminent revolution in Japan (Macfarlane, 28). This is because he was not only capable of learning Dutch, which most people back in the village did not know because of lack of reading materials, but also interfere with physicians who practiced Dutch medicine. Indeed this remarkable step in what was to become an enthusiast in western science and technology elevated Japan from an isolate feudal state to a modern society. Fukazawa was among those whom the government sent to the USA on a ship of war, and this journey made him learn many things that drove him further and further away from the Chinese culture they practiced back in Japan. This opened his eyes to the marvels of the world and made him more determined to make it world in Japan. According to Craig, (56)., Fukazawa realized that they had to  lose faith in their culture first or simply realize that it had made them fall behind in civilization, which was difficult to admit for most Japanese (Fukazawa and Kiyooka, 82). This included the Chinese culture starting from Chinese medicine, education, and then ideologies that had sheltered Japan from life realities.

It is certain that Fukazawa’s greatness that had enabled him become a spectator looking at two worlds from the outside turned out to be his strong points in becoming a transformer of Japan (Schirokauer et al, 285). This is because he had become a sympathetic outsider, a participant, as well as an observer who looked to it that Japan succeeded in becoming civilized because this gave him one of the deepest discoveries of the time. The fact that he decided to be a teacher and a translator in Edo shows just how much determination he had to make a new Japan (Fukuzawa and Kiyooka, 67). This is because by being a teacher, he taught many of what he had seen, experienced, and passed down the knowledge to a mass of people that could help build Japan.

The fact that he disliked the Chinese medicine and culture all together was a revelation to many things ahead that could help transform Japan. This is because the Chinese culture had sheltered Japan from the outside world, which was busy growing and embracing new things for the betterment of the people. An interest in western science through and through functioned as a fuel for civilization because it lead Fukazawa to travelling abroad and gather information that was of relevance to the growth of Japan. Therefore, the sidelining of the Chinese culture and the interested in western civilization were key things that led to Japan civilization.

References

Craig, A.M. (2009). Civilization and Enlightenment: The Early Thought of Fukuzawa Yukichi. Harvard University Press.

Fukuzawa, Y. (1966). The autobiography of Yukichi Fukuzawa. NewYork, Columbia University Press.

Macfarlane, A. (2003).Yukichi Fukuzawa and the making of the modern world. Retrieved from <http://www.alanmacfarlane.com/TEXTS/FUKUZAWA_final.pdf >

Schirokauer, C. et al. (2011). A Brief History of Japanese Civilization. New Jersey, Cengage Learning.

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