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Fukuzawa Yukichi: A Role in Sino-Japanese Animosity

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Title: Fukuzawa Yukichi: A Role in Sino-Japanese Animosity
Authors: Kuwaye, Michael
Issue Date: 26 Sep 2014
Publisher: University of Hawaii at Manoa
Abstract: Fukuzawa Yukichi (1834-1901) was one of the most popular and influential men in the Meiji period. He was considered the leading educator of the time and was known as "Mr. Western Learning." Fukuzawa made a conscious effort to disseminate his opinions to the public successfully using the mediums of print and public speaking. But while encouraging western learning as a way to a new and stronger Japan, Fukuzawa vigorously denounced a restrictive tradition of Chinese learning. This included Confucian theory, scholars, and family life. Fukuzawa also saw China as an obstacle in Japan's road to strength and security. China was a weak country and was considered a potential western base in Asia. Fukuzawa first ridiculed China's weakness, then advocated rising above China, and finally supported a war with China. Perhaps unknowingly Fukuzawa comprehensively and intensely attacked much of what I call, "things Chinese." For this reason I will examine this darker side of Fukuzawa, as a possible contributor to anti-Chinese sentiment in Meiji Japan and, in a larger sense, to the ensuing century of war and misunderstandings with China. Two underlying concepts were used in giving Fukuzawa a role in Sino-Japanese animosity. The first was that the decision-making process in the diplomatic field during the Meiji period and even up to World War II was influenced by external forces. Marlene J. Mayo, in her article "Attitudes Toward Asia and the Beginnings of Japanese Empire," held that the decision to expand was not masterminded by a few men and run on a "timetable." The Meiji oligarchs' approach to expansion was hesitant and cautious. They were more likely to be guided by "broad purposes, ambitions, or attitudes."
Pages/Duration: 56 pages
Rights: All UHM Honors Projects are protected by copyright. They may be viewed from this source for any purpose, but reproduction or distribution in any format is prohibited without written permission from the copyright owner.
Appears in Collections:Honors Projects for History

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