Fukuzawa Yukichi: The Great Japanese Intellectual


This post is part of series posts related to my experiences as an ABE Initiative Scholar in Japan. If you want to read related posts, please CLICK HERE.

We’re attending a 5-days workshop co-organized by National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies (GRIPS) and Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) for JICA long-term and JDS participants. The aim is to give the participants an opportunity to deeply understand the Japanese development experience, and then to draw lessons and insights that will help them in the development of their respective countries. In my case, the possibility of contributing to the development of Somalia by understanding the experience of how Japan has developed.


The first day covered the major turning points, issues and figures that shaped the history of Japan throughout history. One amazing intellectual that I was amazed at his influence in making modern Japan is Fukuzawa Yukichi. He was a profound and reflective thinker, educator, and advocate of opening Japan to Western Ideas and civilization.

The reason why I’m fascinated by his story and legacy is that he was an advocate of education, individual independence, and self-respect, values which I personally strive to achieve and implement in my life. I always tell my students that it is about education that makes us worth living and enables us to contribute to our society. I’m an advocate of personal development and self-education.

“It is said that heaven does not create one man above or below another man. Any existing distinction between the wise and the stupid, between the rich and the poor, comes down to a matter of education.” – Fukuzawa Yukichi , 1872

Mr. Fukuzawa Yukichi‘s hope was for a society that can continuously produce people who have the ability to think logically, who can think for oneself, and take action based on that understanding. He believed that only at the hands of such people can a society become affluent and civilized.

He strongly believed that progress was the key to civilization, and the only way to achieve such progress was through learning/knowledge. In addition, he believed that knowledge has to be acquired not for individual advantage, rather for the development, civilization, and independence of our society.

His major works included Conditions in the West (1866-70); Encouragement of Learning (1872); An Outline of a Theory of Civilization (1875).

Finally, I found my favorite Japanese intellectual thinker, Fukuzawa Yukichi.

5 thoughts on “Fukuzawa Yukichi: The Great Japanese Intellectual

  1. Hello Ustaad Mohamed Muse. It seems that we are common in my areas of interest among them is helping people and working hard about everything. When I was in Semester six at SU we have seen a little bit about FUKUZAWA but I already felt that it wasn’t enough about the guy. If you can bring some of his work it would be terrific.


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