Traveler: Fukuzawa Yûkichi

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Traveler: Fukuzawa Yûkichi
This activity corresponds to the "Traveler: Fukuzawa Yûkichi" feature in your textbook. The questions below are designed to help you learn more about the topic. Once you have answered the Comprehension questions, submit your answers and move on to the subsequent questions included in the Analysis and Outside Sources sections. Each section is designed to build upon the one before it, taking you progressively deeper into the subject you are studying. After you have answered all of the questions, you will have the option of emailing your responses to your instructor.

Fukuzawa Yûkichi lived during the great age of Western imperialism, when the European powers and the United Stated rapidly expanded their political and economic control of large portions of Asia, Africa, and Latin America. In Asia, Japan was one of two nations (the other was Thailand) that successfully fended off Western intrusion and transformed itself into a modern state; and Japan was the only Asian nation to join the ranks of the worlds’ economic and imperial powers. Fukuzawa Yûkichi was one of the architects of Japan's extraordinary transformation and one of several Japanese westernizers who traveled abroad to gather any Western knowledge that could be useful to Japan. The links and questions below will help you to learn more about Fukuzawa Yûkichi and how Japan and other Asian societies responded to challenge of Western expansion.


1. When did Fukuzawa Yûkichi first travel to the United States?

2. What was his social background in Japan?
3. What did his philosophy emphasize?

One of Fukuzawa Yûkichi's most important statements was a newspaper editorial entitled "Datsu-A Ron" or "An Argument for Leaving Asia." The links below will take you to the two parts of the editorial. (The translation, by a non-native speaker of English, is a bit awkward but readable.) Read the editorial and answer the questions below.



1. What is Fukuzawa's view of the Western Industrial Revolution?

2. What role does nationalism play in Fukuzawa's vision of the transition from the old Japan to the new?
3. How does Fukuzawa regard China and Korea and Japan's relation to them?
Outside Sources

1. Twelve years after Fukuzawa Yûkichi's journey to the United States, another Meiji reformer, Kume Kunitake, visited America and Europe. Read an extract from his account of his journey at What is Kunitake's assessment of the economic realities and possibilities of America? What role does he see Japan playing in a broader Pacific economy linking Asia and North America?

2. During Fukuzawa Yûkichi's lifetime, anti-Western resentment in China exploded into the Boxer Rebellion of 1910. Go to and read one Chinese man's account of his experiences during what he called the Boxer War. Why do you think he calls the conflict a war rather than a rebellion? What is his view of the Boxers? How does he represent his encounters with Japanese and Western soldiers and officials?
3. Two years before Fukuzawa left with the delegation to the United States, native Sepoy troops in India mutinied against their officers, sparking the Indian Revolt of 1857. Go to and read and English woman's account of the mutiny at the city of Meerut. What tone does the author maintain in the text? How would you explain that tone?

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