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Seceding from Asia (Datsuaron) Fukuzawa Yukichi The winds of Western civilisation have slowly blown to the east,

as communication has improved, and so that there is not a blade of grass that has not bent under their influence. The life style of the Western people has, it may be said, to not have changed over the years but while it was placid in the past today it has become energetic, precisely because they have successfully taken advantage of modern modes of travel. If the people of the eastern countries have the resolve to protect themselves from the gradual spread of Western civilisation that would be a different matter but at least for those who observe the real condition of the world know that is not possible and there is no alternative but to move with the times and become a part of the ebb and flow of the sea of civilisation and rise with its waves; a rise that brings both joy and sorrow. Western civilisation could be compared to the spread of measles. The measles that affects Tokyo today spread gradually eastwards with the sprig weather from Nagasaki. We may hate the harmful effects of this disease and seek to prevent it but are there any means available today. I think that there is absolutely no way to protect ourselves. There is absolutely nothing beneficial that can be done against the ill effects of this disease. When there is nothing we can do to stop a harmful epidemic what can be done to prevent the spread of civilisation which brings both benefit and harmful, and perhaps more good than harm. Intellectuals should far from stopping its spread should actually assist in its diffusion and help people to quickly immerse themselves in its ethos. Western civilisation first entered our country when it was opened in the Kaei era and people understood the importance of adopting Western civilisation and became energetic; but nothing could be done about the old-fashioned and aging government that blocked the road to progress. If you desire to preserve the government the Western civilisation cannot be adopted. Since modern civilisation cannot co-exists with Japanese conventionalism then it follows that the government will collapse if you throw out the old days. The tensions and pressures of world civilisation will not allow an isolated island in the East to sleep so if you prevent the encroachment of Western civilisation then Japan cannot stay independent. The people (samurai) of this country, at this juncture, based on the principle that the nation is given respect than the government, with the help of the sacred majesty of the Imperial House overthrew the old government and established the new government. The land of Japan lies on the eastern fringe of Asia but we can say that the spirit of the Japanese people transcended the bigotry of Asia and has moved towards Western civilisation. Unfortunately, however, there are two neighbouring countries- one called China and other Korea. The peoples of these two countries, just like our own, have been nurtured in the conventional political and religious milieu but despite being brought up in the same ethos is it because of the different origins, or difference in the inherited legacy and education that the people of China and Korea resemble each other than they do Japan. These two countries, both as nations and as individuals, do not understand the way to reform though they cannot but be aware of the material aspect of Western civilisation. Yet the evidence of their eyes and ears is not enough to move their hearts and they continue to cling to the old customs and manners in the same way they have done for thousands of years. In todays fast changing world (in the context of the introduction of Western civilisation) even when they talk of

education all they can think of is Confucianism, and in school education they cannot think beyond the Five Confucian Virtues, so it seems (that in all matters), they are concerned with outward forms. These people are, in reality, not only ignorant of the principle of truth, but all morality ahs been erased and they have become extremely cruel and lack all integrity; as the very proud they lack any idea of self-examination. When I look at these two nations I see no way for them to preserve their independence in the present world as (Western) civilisation moves eastwards. If they are fortunate and patriots come forward to initiate the work of advancing their countries as we did during the Restoration, by undertaking a broad range of plans to reform the government, in particular to reforming the attitudes of the people, even as politics is reformed then, of course, it would be a different matter; but if this does not happen, then within some years they will be finished as countries. The worlds enlightened nations will divide their lands amongst themselves on this point there can be no doubt. Thus, while facing the onslaught of Western civilisation which is like a measles epidemic these two countries have tried to ignore the contagion and for protection locked themselves a room, which will only suffocate them. There is an old Chinese saying that the relationship between neighbouring countries is like lips and teeth and so each should help the other but Chin and Korea are, at present, not only of no help to Japan but the West tends to treat all the three in the same manner just because of their geographical proximity. So if China and Korea have old style autocratic governments without dependable laws, Westerners will suspect that Japan too is a country without Law; if the people of China and Korea are irrational and lack knowledge of science, Western scholars will think that Japan too is a country of YinYang and the Five Virtues; if the Chinese people are servile and know no shame, the chivalry of the Japanese will, because of this be hidden; if in Korea people are punished cruelly, it will be inferred that the Japanese too are cruel. Such examples can be citied endlessly. This can be compared to the situation in a town or village where the people, who are foolish, lawless, cruel and heartless, overwhelm the rare man who is just in human affairs. This can be seen actually in our foreign policy, where it has become no small obstacle. It is a great misfortune for our country. To achieve our present objectives our country cannot wait for its neighbours to become so civilised that we may combine to awaken Asia, rather our country should secede from their ranks and behave like the Western countries. It is not necessary to treat China and Korea in any special manner just because they are neighbours, we should deal with them in the same way as the Westerners. People with disreputable friends get a bad name through their association and I feel that we should secede, in our hearts, from the friends if ill-repute of the Eastern region of Asia