Modernization of Japan: The Struggle of Fukuzawa Yukichi

Through Fukuzawa Yukichi’s struggle, let’s consider what is the ‘civilisation’ we should strive for.

Edo period Japan lasted for more than 250 years. It was a closed society very different in character from the West. With the Meiji Restoration of 1868, Japan began the process of learning from Western countries, and moved forward with modernization.

At the turning point between those eras, he pursued the essence of the thought and mindset of Western society, and thereby sought out the best approach for the Japanese. His name was FUKUZAWA Yukichi.

This course will examine the perspective of FUKUZAWA Yukichi, a figure who insightfully called attention to social issues, and struggled throughout his life to achieve genuine modernization and civilization in Japan. We will consider the best ideals for individuals, societies, nations, and the world, taking “independence” and “civilization” as keywords.

Lang: English / Japanese
This course will be available in Japanese in advance.


Keita Yamauchi, Professor at Keio University and a member of the Fukuzawa Memorial Center for Modern Japanese Studies
Takeyuki Tokura, Associate professor at the Fukuzawa Memorial Center for Modern Japanese Studies,
Keio University

What topics will you cover?

  • Basic knowledge of Japanese society before/during modernization process
  • Fukuzawa’s view on the individual, family, society, government and nation.
  • Fukuzawa’s experience oversea that influenced to his philosophy.
  • Fukuzawa’s contribution to education, academia, industry in relation to Japanese modernization.
  • Fukuzawa’s communication strategy to the people for changing society.
  • Fukuzawa’s future vision and what he could not complete.

Who is the course for?

This course is for those who are interested in the Japanese modernization process or are working toward the modernization of their own countrie. It can also serve as a comprehensive resource for those who research Fukuzawa Yukichi himself in relation to Japanese modernization.

This course is also beneficial to those who are responsible for management of organizations including corporate executives, to widen the perspective on problem solving approach in communities.

Lastly, this course fits for those who want to get a deeper understanding of the history, spirit, and culture of modern Japan

Needless to say, it is a must-take course for all people related to Keio University!!