HISTORICKÁ SOCIOLOGIE
HISTORICKÁ SOCIOLOGIE

Interdisciplinary journal focusing primarily on sociological, political science and historical perspectives on the issue of long-term social processes and trends, modernization, globalization tendency and impacts.

The journal creates a broader platform for researches in the historical social sciences. Epistemological field is not strictly bounded, it is also meant to overlap with civilizationalism, cultural sociology and other related fields.

Historical Sociology is Open Access Journal and all published papers are available in the archive section. Open access journal means that all content is freely available without charge to the user or institution. Users are allowed to read, download, copy, distribute, print, search, or link to the full texts of the articles in this journal without asking prior permission from the publisher or the author.

Published by Charles University in Prague, Karolinum Press, cooperated with Faculty of Humanities, Charles University in Prague.

Reviewed scientific journal issued twice a year (in June and December).

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HISTORICKÁ SOCIOLOGIE, Vol 13 No 2 (2021), 47–66

A Perspective for Japan: Fukuzawa Yukichi’s “Theory of Civilization”, 1875

Wolfgang Seifert

DOI: https://doi.org/10.14712/23363525.2021.17
announced: 29. 11. 2021

abstract

This paper discusses the thought of Fukuzawa Yukichi, probably the most influential Japanese intellectual of the late nineteenth century, with particular reference to his attempt to develop a theory of civilization. For him, the civilizational approach was a framework for reflection on Japan’s situation in the world after the great changes of the 1850s and 1860s. He saw the preservation of national independence and the reform of Japanese society as primary goals, but they necessitated extensive learning from the experience and achievements of more advanced societies, especially those of Western Europe and the United States. However, he did not advocate a purely imitative Westernization. Japan’s distinctive identity and autonomous international stance were to be maintained. To clarify the reasons for transforming Japan in light of Western models without capitulating to them, he outlined an evolutionary conception of social change, understood in terms of an advance towards civilization. That kind of progress was not only a matter of technical and organizational development; it also involved the mobilization of whole peoples. On this basis, Fukuzawa articulated a more democratic vision of Japan’s future than the road subsequently taken by the Meiji government.

keywords: Fukuzawa Yukichi; Japan; civilization; nationalism; Meiji renovation; Westernization

references (18)

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ISSN: 1804-0616
E-ISSN: 2336-3525

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