An Encouragement of Learning

An Encouragement of Learning

Fukuzawa Yukichi
Translated by David A. Dilworth
Introduction by Nishikawa Shunsaku
Copyright Date: 2012
Pages: 192
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  • Book Info
    An Encouragement of Learning
    Book Description:

    The intellectual and social theorist Yukichi Fukuzawa wroteAn 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.

    eISBN: 978-0-231-53661-5
    Subjects: History, Political Science

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-viii)
    (pp. ix-xii)
    David A. Dilworth

    Among his acclaimed collections, the 20th-century Japanese artist Hirayama Ikuo produced a series of paintings depicting the monk Xuanzang (602–664) and fellow Buddhist pilgrims, with their camels carrying precious cargoes of Mahayana sutras, as they crossed the searing sands, high mountain-passes, and deep valleys from India to China. The story of these arduous “west-east” journeys along the Silk Road, and of the following decades of translation of the teachings of the Dharma into Chinese—in due course affecting a significant penetration into the East Asian cultural matrix—remains as a preeminent example of efficacious “globalization” in premodern history. The...

  4. INTRODUCTION The Life and Works of Fukuzawa Yukichi
    (pp. xiii-xxx)
    Nishikawa Shunsaku

    In Japan, a portrait of Fukuzawa Yukichi appears on every 10,000-yen note. This is official recognition of his dedication to the cause of introducing Western institutions and thought into Japan. Some people, however, may wonder why he wears traditional Japanese robes. Although there are a number of pictures of Fukuzawa, only a few are in Western attire. It seems that this reflects his basic stance: he always emphasized the spiritual revolution rather than the spurious imitation of things Western.

    Fukuzawa first learned Dutch and later changed to English studies; he visited the United States twice and traveled through Europe for...

    (pp. xxxi-2)
  6. Section ONE
    (pp. 3-10)
    Fukuzawa Yukichi

    Heaven, it is said, does not create one person above or below another. This signifies that when we are born from Heaven we all are equal and there is no innate distinction between high and low. It means that we humans, who are the highest of all creation, can use the myriad things of the world to satisfy our daily needs through the labors of our own bodies and minds and, as long as we do not infringe upon the rights of others, may pass our days in happiness freely and independently. Nevertheless, as we broadly survey the human scene,...

  7. Section TWO
    (pp. 11-18)

    Learning in the broad sense can be divided into immaterial and material spheres. The former includes such subjects as ethics (shingaku), theology, and metaphysics; the latter, astronomy, geography, physics, and chemistry. Each branch of learning broadens the range of our knowledge and experience, gives us discernment into the principles of things and understanding of our duties as persons. In order to widen our knowledge and experience, we must hear what others have to say, form our own ideas, and read books as well. Accordingly, although it is essential to know letters to study, it would be a great misunderstanding of...

  8. Section THREE
    (pp. 19-26)

    In the previous section I stated that all men, whether rich or poor, strong or weak, members of the government or citizens of the government, have the same inherent human rights (kengi). Here I want to broaden its meaning to discuss the relations between nations as well. Since a nation is a society of people, Japan is a society of the Japanese, England of the English. Japanese and English both live between the same heaven and the same earth. Therefore there is no reason why they should infringe upon each other’s rights. If there is no reason for one man...

  9. Section FOUR
    (pp. 27-36)

    List en quietly to what intelligent people are saying these days. Some raise the questions of whether Japan—whose future fate of course cannot be known—might be in danger of losing her independence, or will gradually progress to a high level of prosperity and civilization by keeping stride with the force of events, as she is now actually doing. Others are more skeptical. They feel we should reserve judgment concerning Japanese independence for two or three decades. Still others make the criticism that if we follow the advice of some foreigners who actually despise Japan, our national independence will...

  10. Section FIVE
    (pp. 37-42)

    As this work was originally presented as a book for the public and as a text for lower schools, I made every effort from the beginning through the third section to use common words, it being my intention to keep the style of writing simple. But in the fourth section I changed my style a bit, using perhaps slightly more difficult vocabulary. And since this fifth section is a written record of a lecture which I delivered on 1 January 1874, at the New Year meeting of Keio colleagues, I fear likewise that its form may also be more difficult....

  11. Section SIX
    (pp. 43-50)

    The government represents the people. It conducts its affairs in accordance with the wishes of the people. Its duty is to arrest those who commit crimes, and to protect those who are innocent. This is what the people desire. Therefore if this purpose can be achieved, the government will be serving the country well. For, in the first place, criminals are wicked, and the innocent are good. There is therefore no reason to object if a good person defends himself against the wicked intentions of another—for example, if that wicked person had attempted to harm the good person, to...

  12. Section SEVEN
    (pp. 51-58)

    In section six I discussed the importance of national laws, saying that each citizen plays two roles in regard to them. I continue that discussion here, elaborating in even greater detail the function and duty of citizens.

    Each citizen has a double role. The first is to be subordinate to the government with the mentality of a guest. The second is to join together with the other citizens of the nation to form a company, as it were, that is called the nation, to enact and implement the laws of the nation. This involves the mentality of being a master....

  13. Section EIGHT
    (pp. 59-66)

    In the work entitledMoral Scienceby the American named Francis Wayland [1796–1865], there is a discussion of the freedom of the human mind and body. The general point of this book is that each individual constitutes an independent person who is the master of his own affairs, uses his own mind and does his own necessary business.


    a) Every person has a physical body through which he comes in contact with external things which he uses to meet his own needs. For example, he can plant seeds to grow rice, or make clothes from cotton.

    b) Every...

  14. Section NINE
    (pp. 67-72)

    Carefully considering the mental and physical functions of mankind, I find that I can make the following division: the functions of individual persons and those of social beings.

    Let us call the former function the pursuit of happiness in daily life through the powers of one’s own body and mind. There is nothing in the universe which is not for a person’s use. If we plant a seed, it will produce fruit two hundred and three hundred times over. The trees in the heart of the mountains grow even when they are not cultivated. The winds turn water mills. The...

  15. Section TEN
    (pp. 73-78)

    In the former section, my argument divided the meaning of learning into two aspects. To generalize that argument, we cannot be satisfied with providing only for ourselves and our immediate families. There are higher bonds than this in human nature. Therefore we must enter into communities of social life, and work for the good of society according to our capacity as one of its members. And we must elevate our ambition to pursue learning. Even cooking rice and lighting the fire under the bath are kinds of learning. Discourse on the affairs of state is another. Still, management of a...

  16. Section ELEVEN
    (pp. 79-86)

    In section Eight I gave examples of harm done to women and children through the concept of the moral subordination of inferiors to superiors. I noted many such abuses that extend even outside of the family. To take up, in the first place, the origin of this theory, its form certainly is reducible to the principle of might makes right. But it does not necessarily arise from evil intentions. It consists rather in regarding people as ignorant and good people who are easy to control, i.e. who should be succored and guided by their total subservience to the commands of...

  17. Section TWELVE
    (pp. 87-92)

    Enzet su is called “speech” in English. It is a style of expressing one’s views at a large assembly of people. This kind of thing has since ancient times never existed in Japan, except perhaps for preaching done in temples. But it is very popular in the West. From the parliament of a government, the meetings of scholars, business companies, and gatherings of citizens, down to ceremonial occasions and even trivial matters such as the opening of a shop, there is a custom that whenever there is a gathering of ten or more people, some person always makes a speech...

  18. Section THIRTEEN
    (pp. 93-100)

    Of the many human vices, none is more damaging to society than envy. Greed, luxury, and defamation are other notable vices, but properly considered, they are not vices in the quality of the actions themselves. Circumstances sometimes neutralize them as vices, i.e. their degree and purpose are contributing factors. For example, greed is an insatiable love of money, but love of money is a part of human nature. They can hardly be blamed if a person satisfies this love in accordance with human nature. Only if he mistakes its proper place by seeking to gain money by unjust means, thereby...

  19. Section FOURTEEN
    (pp. 101-108)

    As i observe people passing their lives, I find that they do more evil and foolish things than they think in their hearts, and do not achieve so much success as they had planned. But no matter how wicked people are, there is no one who devotes his whole life to doing only evil deeds. Yet, meeting with opportunities in the course of daily life, a person may suddenly be tempted to do evil, even though he knows quite well that it is so. He may make selfish excuses of various sorts to console himself. Or when he does some...

  20. Section FIFTEEN
    (pp. 109-118)

    There is much that is false in the realm of belief, and much that is true in the realm of doubt. We need only consider how stupid people believe in other people’s words, books, novels, rumors, the gods and Buddha, and fortunetellers. On the advice of a masseur they use grasses and herbs to cure a parent’s mortal illness. At the time of the marriage negotiations over their daughter, they believe a fortune teller’s analysis of the “physiognomy” of a suitor’s house, and thus lose a good husband. Their faith in Amida prompts them to intone thenenbutsuinstead of...

  21. Section SIXTEEN
    (pp. 119-124)

    People talk these days about “freedom and independence” (fuki dokuritsu), but since there is apt to be much misunderstanding about what this really means, each of us should mark the point.

    There are two forms of independence, material and spiritual. Simply stated, one refers to things and the other to the mind.

    The former means that each person in society may possess his own property and conduct his own business affairs, thereby providing for himself and his family without being a burden to others. In a word, it means not being dependent on others. Such material independence is something tangible;...

  22. Section SEVENTEEN
    (pp. 125-132)

    A person to whom many others look up and point as trustworthy and reliable may be called popular. He is one who inspires confidence in people in whatever calling he pursues and in whatever job he takes on, and for whom society has great expectations. The human world has people of various degrees of popularity; if a person cannot be accredited even in the slightest degree, he will be of no use at all. To take a small example, a person who is sent on an errand to buy something worth tensenis trusted to that amount, and is...

    (pp. 135-146)
    Gokurō Senban

    There have been many recent attacks on Mr. Fukuzawa’sGakumon no susume(Encouragement of Learning). These attacks seem mostly to have been aimed at Sections Six and Seven. Intelligent people have the right to express their views, of course, and I am not venturing to refute these critics to cajole public opinion. But I find that there are many who seem to make rash criticisms of only a section or a phrase of the book, or without even closely examining Sections Six and Seven that are the main targets of these attacks. This motivates me to express my own view...

  24. Chronology of Japanese history, with special reference to Fukuzawa Yukichi and An Encouragement of Learning
    (pp. 147-149)
  25. Fukuzawa Yukichi: Some Representative Writings and Further Reading
    (pp. 150-152)
  26. INDEX
    (pp. 153-158)