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An Encouragement of Learning

by Elliott Samuels

Staff Writer

Yukichi Fukuzawa, who appears on every Japanese ¥10,000 note, wrote “An Encouragement of Learning” as a collection of essays while completing his masterpiece, “An Outline of a Theory of Civilization” (1875). The essays highlight the basic tenets of his fundamental philosophical beliefs — freedom, equality and independence — as well as his calls for the adoption of Western styles of education.

An Encouragement of Learning, Yukichi Fukuzawa, COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY PRESS

Mirroring the work of 17th-century thinkers such as John Locke, the essays offer an insightful glimpse into the underlying principles upon which contemporary Japan was first constructed. And, not surprisingly, it all starts with education.