Fukuzawa Yukichi Summary

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The Meiji period was a transformation process in Japan that was a direct response to the harsh conditions of the Tokugawa era. Lasting from 1868 to 1912 the Meiji period wanted to use “civilization” as a a mechanism for social order in Japan. The new government along with regaining control of what had been lost during the Tokugawa regime wanted to install new institutions. Control through institutions of education, legalism and moral training were some of the new ways in which the Meiji wanted to regain order and not fall behind the western world. A shift to western thought (bunmei) stemmed from this restoration period in Japan. Many writers and leading cultural figures sought to westernize Japan in order to develop and stay relevant on the…show more content…
In spite of Fukuzawa’s piece, what does he seek to accomplish politically and through performativity? Yukichi uses performativity to add depth to the meaning of civilization and how the spread of westernization is inevitable relating it to that of a disease. Yukichi also uses his piece to stress the idea of social darwinism (survival of the fittest), and how Japan must leave the stubborn countries of China and Korea behind or they will be likely “wiped out”. During the Meiji Period (1868-1912), Fukuzawa Yukichi uses “On Leaving Asia”, to draw awareness to the process of restoring wealth, power and civilization to the Japanese people. He argues for bunmei, and inherently believes that Japan will be left behind if direct changes aren't made. In the second paragraph of Yukichi’s piece he addresses the spread of western ideas and relates it to that of “measles”. “there is no point in trying to prevent their spread.” Fukuzawa claims that the spread of westernization in east Asia is inevitable an that the benefits of western civilization far outweigh the damages that may come with it. Like most new ideas, Fukuzawa

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