Roel van der Veen, for Addis Standard
Development in the non-Western world
In the 1870s Japanese public intellectual Yukichi Fukuzawa shocked his audience by stating that he thought Japan should leave poor Asia and join the modern world. Japan in those days was going through a phase of rapid change, which would eventually lead to Japan becoming a modern nation and the leading nation in Asia. Yukichi Fukuzawa, who founded a university and Japan’s first daily newspaper, travelled extensively in America and Europe, and his books about the development of the West became bestsellers in Japan. The provocative, brave ideas of Yukichi Fukuzawa angered many Japanese, but more important, inspired millions of his countrymen to support Japan’s modernization effort, thereby improving people’s lives. How does this story of 150 years ago in a very different part in the world, connect to Ethiopia and Africa?