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Warupuranku on the Death of a Schoolmaster

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Warupuranku on the Death of a Schoolmaster Kindai Nihon kenkyu Volume 13 (1996) Warupuranku on the Death of a Schoolmaster Albert Craig In comparison to the grand edifices of thought constructed by major thinkers, painstaking textual research of scholars may seem dry and peripheral. Yet it can be basic to an understanding of the thinkers. In the case of Fukuzawa Yukichi (1835-1901) this is particularly so, for his writings prior to 1871 were virtually all translations from English-language texts. Only when we contrast the original texts with his Japanese versions can we fully grasp what translation entailed, and observe in its most concrete and minute aspects the creative process by which his early thought came into being. The discovery of new texts hitherto unknown to scholars is, consequently, of vital importance. The Problem Apart from the three volumes of Conditions in the West (Seiyo Jijo), which were published in 1866, 1867, and 1870, perhaps the most important of Fukuzawa’s early translations is his 1869 geography, All the Countries of the World (Sekai kunizukushi). It was by far the best text on the subject available in Japan at the time; it was immensely popular, and contained ideas that went beyond geography and were central to the formation of Fukuzawa’s thought during the 1870s. Fukuzawa began his Preface to the work as follows: A proverb states that ‘disaster arises from below.’If this is so, then, good fortune also must arise from below. Advancing this argument a step further, this means that whether disaster or good fortune befalls a country depends on nothing other than the level of knowledge of the common people. This work, All of the Countries of the World, is intended solely to acquaint children and women with conditions in the wider world, to start them on the road to knowledge, and, by so doing, to lay the foundation for the future good fortune of Japan.(1) For the remainder

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