Professor Yukihiro Ikeda, Dean of the Keio University Faculty of Economics, Delivers the Yukichi Fukuzawa-Francis Wayland Memorial Lecture
December 22, 2020
On May 15, 1868, the Boshin War had thrown Edo, present-day Tokyo, into a state of chaos. However, despite the battle between the Imperial forces and Tokugawa loyalists raging just five miles from his school, Yukichi Fukuzawa remained calm and continued to give his lecture on an economics text by the American economist Francis Wayland. In doing so, Fukuzawa demonstrated to his students his belief that, when it came to pursuing education and research, there was not a moment to be lost. Since 1956, Keio has designated this day Yukichi Fukuzawa-Francis Wayland Memorial Lecture Day, and has celebrated it every year with a special lecture.
This year, due to the coronavirus disease pandemic, the lecture was delayed by around six months from its traditional timing, and took place on Wednesday, December 2 at the West School Building Hall, with Professor Yukihiro Ikeda, dean of the Keio University Faculty of Economics, lecturing on "Discourses of Yukichi Fukuzawa and economics: At the threshold of old and new ideologies." Faculty of Economics Dean Ikeda analyzed Gakumon no susume (An Encouragement of Learning) and the Autobiography of Fukuzawa Yukichi, sketching a portrait of Yukichi Fukuzawa as a figure astride the threshold between old and new ideologies. Despite being one of the first to introduce the concept of bookkeeping to Japan and being sensitive to the new concept of economics, Fukuzawa at the same time remained in thrall to the model of Confucianist ethics (old ideology), and wished to maintain an appropriate distance from "economics" as a scholar.
While the traditional venue for the lecture has been the Mita Public Speaking Hall (Mita Enzetsu-kan), it was this year held at the West School Building Hall in a format which maintained appropriate seating distance in order to prevent infections by COVID-19 (coronavirus disease), and the audience listened attentively to the lecture at this venue.
A transcript of the lecture is scheduled to be published in the February edition of the Keio University publicationMita-hyoron (Japanese).