Here is the autobiography of a remarkable man. Yukichi Fukuzawa’s life covered the 66 years between and , a period which comprised greater and. Fukuzawa Yukichi (福澤 諭吉, January 10, – February 3, ) was a Japanese author, .. The Autobiography of Yukichi Fukuzawa, Revised translation by Eiichi Kiyooka, with a foreword by Carmen Blacker, NY: Columbia University Press. Autobiography of Yukichi Fukuzawa has ratings and 31 reviews. Hadrian said: Yukichi Fukuzawa is one of the most recognizable historical figures in mo.

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Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to fukuzzwa. Want to Read saving…. Want to Read Currently Reading Read. Refresh and try again. Open Preview See a Problem? Thanks for telling atobiography about the problem. Return to Book Page. Autobiography of Yukichi Fukuzawa by Yukichi Fukuzawa. Here is the autobiography of a remarkable man.

Fuuzawa Fukuzawa’s life covered the 66 years between anda period which comprised greater and more extraordinary changes than any other in the history of Japan.

In his country’s swift transformation from an isolated feudal state to a full-fledged member of the modern world, Fukuzawa played a leading role: Dictated by Fukuzawa inthis book vividly relates his story, from his childhood as a member of the lower samurai class in a small, caste-bound village.

His escape from the hopeless destiny decreed by his autobiotraphy position, his adventures as a student of Dutch the language of the only Westerners allowed in Japanhis travels aboard the first Fu,uzawa ship to sail to America — all prepared Fukuzawa to write Seiyo Jijo Things Westernthe book which made him famous. His special perspective on Japan’s tempestuous 19th century gives Fukuzawa’s life story added fascination. Paperbackpages. Published March 1st by Autobiograohy University Press first published To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

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Autobiography of Yukichi Fukuzawa by Yukichi Fukuzawa

Yukichi Fukuzawa is one of the most recognizable historical figures in modern Japan. Why do I say this with such authority? Well, his face is on the 10, yen bank note. So now the question is: He was a writer of about fifty books, a journalist, a political commentator, a world traveler, and a dabbler in science. What most made his name, however, is his advocacy of adapting Western methods of government and technology so that Japan would su Yukichi Fukuzawa is one of the most recognizable historical figures in modern Japan.

What most made his name, however, is his advocacy of adapting Western methods of government and technology so that Japan would survive autobiogrqphy contact with European nations. His early life was marked by a stubborn independence and determination to study the new and ‘Western’ methods.

Fukuzawa Yukichi | Japanese author, educator, and publisher |

He fukuzqwa to scorn the old Chinese books and methods, and hunts down any new thing he can find. When he goes autoboigraphy school to learn Dutch the only Western language taught at the time autoblography, he autobioography time watching the medical students trying out their new medicine manuals by dissecting a pig, he ‘stole’ books by copying them, and got a tad drunk with the other students.

He eventually learned to speak English, although that was more difficult as no English-Japanese dictionaries yet existed. Inhe had improved so much that he was assigned to the Japanese legation to the United States. He is dazzled by the full experiences of America – photography, railroads, meeting the president, even American dancing – but he also makes sure to purchase a copy of Webster’s Dictionary.

In gukuzawa, he was attached to a minor post in the first Japanese embassy to Europe. That was another journey through England, France, Prussia, and Russia. He enjoyed the first three, but the trip to Russia was hampered by a nasty territorial dispute over Sakhalin Island. When he returns home to Japan, he finds the time to help found one of Japan’s major universities, and sits back and tries to avoid chaos as the military shogunate which has ruled Japan in some form or another autobiograpuy centuries begins to unravel.


He keeps quiet, nods and hides his fear as he hears people chant hymns about death to foreigners. In the end, however, he survives the chaos and finds time to write more books, including autobiographg one. Fukuzawa held no high office or post, yet played one of the most central roles in the modernization of Japan through the papers and school he founded and the books he wrote. It is his perception of the West which he gathered and transmitted to the people of Japan, and that has survived him.

Fukuzawa was very much ‘ahead of his time’, but still a product of his time. When he sees some Hawaiian natives, he heaps scorn on them for being uncivilized. Most of his ethic of radical individualism is apparently influenced by contemporary ideas of autobiogrzphy Darwinism and the ethics of competition which was the background for market liberalism.

The charm of this memoir is in how much Fukuzawa was autobjography to experience, and how much he was able to share with others. His life in college with other members of this new esoteric ‘Western science’ is a story of young scamps on the verge of discovery, and his travel narratives are also charming.

The book does drag near the end as Fukuzawa talks about his health and why he doesn’t wear flannel pajamas, but his life is interesting enough on the whole that most of the chapters are worth reading. Likewise, the ending essay adds a vital context to his life and work. Sep 22, Yusuf rated it it was amazing. Mar 17, Mimi rated it liked it.

There is an Afterward that explains a lot of Fukuzawa’s thinking at the end. I picked this up from one of the Free Library boxes, well worth reading 3. Really enjoyed this fukuzawz, it offers a portrait of one of modern Japan founders, his life story, his surprising opened mind in an isolated feudal nation and fukkuzawa look inside the formation of a new Japan.

May 27, Nick Rome rated it really auotbiography it. This was recommended to me by a friend who then lent me his copy. On receiving the book, I was skeptical, it looks very much like a textbook, it was written around and it has a lot of footnotes.

But actually it is incredibly readable and completely fascinating.

The book details a period of major political and cultural upheaval in Japanese society through the eyes of a man who not only helped to enact a lot of that change but also who has a fascinating outlook on life. Each paragraph details This was recommended to me by a friend who then lent me his copy. Each paragraph details a new episode of his history so the pages just fly by. At times very funny, often deeply insightful, constantly interesting.

A fantastic autobiography on a man who basically made modern-Japan what it is. Yukichi Fukuzawa is one of the more interesting historical world figures of the 19th century.

Autobiography of Yukichi Fukuzawa

A must read even if you are not interested in the subjects of Japan or its history. Jul 01, Alex McLane rated it really liked it. Interesting what he said about how Americans didn’t reuse nails from old buildings.

May 02, Brian Allen rated it it was amazing Shelves: A splendid book on Japanese history from the eyes of a scholar who was for the modernization of Japan.

A classic of autobiography rendered in clear and direct prose In an essay entitled “The Opportunity of Japan”American sociologist Thorstein Veblen compared the rapid transformation of Japanese society during the Meiji Period to the rise of Germany some years earlier: At the time of Fukuzawa Yukichi’s birth in Osaka inJapan was a largely feudal society beset by internal division. At the time of his death nearly seventy years later inJapan was a modern state with a centralized government, a civil service, a postal system, dual-entry accounting, universities, factories, an impressive railway network, modern shipbuilding capabilities, and a military that would soon defeat a major European power in the Russo-Japanese War of No single person had any more to do with the social engineering for this miracle than writer and educator Fukuzawa Yukichi.


Born to a lower-ranked samurai family from the Kyushu, Fukuzawa began to rebel against the Confucian-based caste system from the time that he was a child. In his Autobiography, he tells us that he had inherited his antipathy to the social order from his father: Later, he moved to Edo and began studying English.

For Fukuzawa, Western learning was an absolute necessity if Japan wished to avoid the fate of China. The idea was first defensive: Japan needed to modernize to protect itself from foreign incursions.

Later, however, Fukuzawa urged his countrymen to take a more cosmopolitan outlook so as to become a great nation of the world: Then perhaps it would not be impossible to form a great nation in this far Orient, which would stand counter to Great Britain of the West, and take an active part in the progress of the whole world. In some ways, it can be compared with Benjamin Franklin’s Autobiography. But Fukuzawa is decidedly less dogmatic than Franklin.

Fukuzawa’s tone is more like that of Charlie Chaplin. Both men tell their life stories with considerable grace and charm while managing to define the times they lived in. Like Chaplin, Fukuzawa is a masterful storyteller and the narrative moves along at a companionable pace through all of the principal events of the early Meiji era.

Since Fukuzawa was both participant and observer, one would expect him to focus on his own achievements. And while he does touch on some of these the founding of Keio University, for examplehe usually follows anything that might be termed self-aggrandizement with passages that show a corresponding weakness of understanding or character.

The net result is that the reader trusts and admires this man and willingly turns the page to see what is next. Elsewhere in his writings, Fukuzawa wrote that he wanted to develop a prose style that was so clear and direct that his words could be understood by a servant woman straining to hear what was being said from the next room. In his Autobiography, dictated to a secretary and translated into English by Fukuzawa’s grandson Kiyooka Eiichi, Fukuzawa has done exactly that: He has taken one of the most complex and disparate subjects the Restoration in Japanese history and managed to explain it so that it can be understood by a novice.

This is no small achievement.

At the end of the AutobiographyFukuzawa Yukichi looked back over autobiograph life that had been more successful than he could have ever imagined. Fuukuzawa, honored, loved – gratified by Japan’s recent victory of China in the Sino-Japanese War and – he thought – feudalism. When Fukuzawa died inhe could not have foreseen what was about to happen. Japan was going to double-back on itself – to combine Western science and the extant elements of feudalism into an autocratic state This is historian E.

The reason that many people believe that the key to understanding Japan today can be found in the Meiji period is that the work that Fukuzawa set himself to do as a boy in Nakatsu is still unfinished. Apr 29, Louise rated it really liked it Shelves: There are hundreds and maybe thousands autobiograhy memoirs and narratives of the US Civil War.