When in 1869, to Rutgers College, came an application through Rev. Dr. Guido F. Verbeck, of Tokio, from Fukui for a young man to organize schools upon the American principle in the province of Echizen (ultra-Buddhistic, yet already so liberally leavened by the ethical teachings of Yokoi Héishiro), the Faculty made choice of the author. Accepting the honor and privilege of being one of the "beginners of a better time," I caught sight of peerless Fuji and set foot on Japanese soil December 29, 1870. Amid a cannonade of new sensations and fresh surprises, my first walk was taken in company with the American missionary (once a marine in Perry's squadron, who later invented the jin-riki-sha), to see a hill-temple and to study the wayside shrines around Yokohama. Seven weeks' stay in the city of Yedo-then rising out of the débris of feudalism to become the Imperial capital, Tokio, enabled me to see some things now so utterly vanished, that by some persons their previous existence is questioned. One of the most interesting characters I met personally was Fukuzawa, the reformer, and now "the intellectual father of half of the young men of ... Japan." On the day of the battle of Uyéno, July 11, 1868, this far-seeing patriot and inquiring spirit deliberately decided to keep out of the strife, and with four companions of like mind, began the study of Wayland's Moral Science. Thus were laid the foundations of his great school, now a university.
Cover Image: Used under Creative Commons License, attribution: Kate Nevens.