I. Question Drawing upon Fukuzawa Yukichi’s writings,
“A Discussion of our National Independence”(1874) and “Escape from Asia”(1884) construct an argument about whether Fukuzawa’s ideas regarding Japan’s position in the world changed over time from 1874 to 1884. Do his ideas transform over time, or stay consistent, or partially change/ partially remain the same? Papers should not merely summarize what Fukuzawa writes, but rather through an analysis of certain elements of his argument construct an argument about Fukuzawa and his approach to the problems that occurred after Japan’s encounter with the West. Your argument should address whether his ideas change or stay the same.
II. Structure of paper In coming up with your thesis, or argument for your paper, you should think about centering your argument around three key points that are supported by evidence and your analysis of the evidence. For this paper, think quality over quantity. DO NOT feel obligated to cover every aspect of Fukuzawa’s writings. Pick and choose what works for you and your argument. Of course you will need to read everything to decide what will work best for your argument, but since this is only a 4 page paper, don’t feel you need to cover everything. 1) Introducion with your three key points (A, B, C) mentioned and thesis statement (your argument) 2) Body paragraph: Key point A- First sentence of paragraph has topic sentence with mention of key point A. Backed up with evidence and analysis not background info. 3) Body paragraph: First sentence of paragraph has topic sentence with mention of key point B. Backed up with evidence and analysis not background info. 4) Body paragraph: First sentence of paragraph has topic sentence with mention of key point C. Backed up with evidence and analysis not background info.
III. How to narrow down your argument
1) What type of problems did Fukuzawa identify that confronted Japan, East Asia, as well as the world in general in the 19th century? 2) What type of solutions did Fukuzawa advocate to solve these problems? Why? Through his criticism of other solutions, can you get to what his solution is? 3) Do you see continuity in his ideas across both of the documents- or an abrupt departure or an evolution? (Remember you can nuance your argument by saying some of the things he advocated for in 1874 were still apparent in his writings in 1884- it doesn’t have to be all or nothing. As long as you support your argument with evidence, you can make any argument, within reason, viable).
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