Summary Of Fukuzawa's An Outline Of A Theory Of Civilization

922 Words4 Pages
Does the knowledge and education of one civilization determine how civilized one country is, or is it a subtle implication of imperialism? Fukuzawa’s 1885 anonymous editorial “Goodbye Asia” marks a break from his earlier work, An Outline of a Theory of Civilization (1875) because he is talking about two completely different ideas. In An Outline of a Theory of Civilization, Fukuzawa talks about his idea of civilization and in “Goodbye Asia,” it may seem he is still talking about civilization but is actually introducing the idea of imperialism through the anonymous publication of his editorial.
Comparing both Fukuzawa’s work, it is clear that the two works had a separate idea. Fukuzawa seems to believe that civilizations will eventually become
…show more content…
He stated that civilization is relative. “[civilization] refers to the attainment of both material well-being and the elevation of the human spirit. It means both abundance of daily necessities and esteem for human refinement.” Fukuzawa breaks down his theory of civilization to a deeper level, to describe it as the level of complexity in a civilization. The amount of knowledge and education within a civilization determines how advanced it is. Fukuzawa states, “The national structure of a nation is not something immutable. It is subject to considerable change.” Fukuzawa believes that advancing civilization takes time. As he continues, western civilization seems to just be a goal of Japan and not of Asia, even though the title of chapter two is “Western Civilization as our Goal.” It is selfish of Fukuzawa to group Asia together as one identity. “Besides, civilization is not a dead thing it is something vital and advancing.” This is a huge contrast from the idea he has in “Goodbye Asia” where he emphasizes that China and Korea should already be as advanced as Japan. Fukuzawa explains his idea of civilization through different processes and does not hint at any imperialism and only using the west as an example. “The west of today can with justice be described as a complex world.” There is bias in his work as he always leans towards western civilization and…show more content…
In response, he writes “Goodbye Asia.” Fukuzawa starts with a reason to subtly imply that imperialism is the only way to get China and Korea to start their own restoration. He states, “In my view, these two countries cannot survive as independent nations with the onslaught of Western civilization to the East.” Fukuzawa is assuming that Western civilization is superior to any other civilization. For this reason he is able to implicate that Japan should take actions against China and Korea similarly to the west as stated, “We simply follow the manner of the Westerners in knowing how to treat them” Since the first encounter of Japan with the West, Japan had been treated with inferiority with unfair treaties and taking their taxes. Black ships would come on their harbor and Westerners would demand to open up to the rest of the world. Fukuzawa suggests using the same force that the Westerners had used on them on China and Korea. Fukuzawa also has contradicted himself by saying a country should preserve their own national polity, “Earlier I mentioned the opinion that all countries ought to preserve their own national polity when adopting Western civilization.” But Fukuzawa is trying to force Western

More about Summary Of Fukuzawa's An Outline Of A Theory Of Civilization

Open Document