On May 15, 1868, while Edo (present-day Tokyo) was in a state of turmoil in the midst of the Boshin War, Yukichi Fukuzawa remained unperturbed and continued to present a lecture as usual on an economic text by the American economist Francis Wayland. A memorial lecture has been held at Keio University on May 15, designated the "Yukichi Fukuzawa-Francis Wayland Lecture Day," since 1956 in order to pass down to posterity the spirit of Fukuzawa who esteemed learning and education over any social change that took place.
This year's event likewise took place on Monday, May 15, where Professor Yusaku Matsuzawa of the Faculty of Economics delivered a lecture entitled "War, Advancement, and Gender: The Foundational Processes of Meiji Japan," which was so highly anticipated that advanced reservations closed when registration reached maximum capacity, leading to a hugely successful event. The lecture was held at the Mita Public Speaking Hall (Mita Enzetsu-kan), adorned with the portrait of Francis Wayland on the podium. It was the first time in four years since 2019 that the memorial lecture was given at the hall. Professor Matsuzawa weaved in Fukuzawa's ideas as he examined the social changes brought about by the Boshin War, as well as aspects of the period of "advancement" that followed, through a gender history perspective. Interpersonal connections that can be observed now through various modern-day issues were thus traced back and revealed in early modern Japan.
The audience listened attentively to Professor Matsuzawa's light-hearted talk, many times with a smile on their faces, and participated in a lively Q&A session that followed.