Nakamura Masanao

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Nakamura Masanao.

Nakamura Masanao (中村 正直?, 24 June 1832 – 7 June 1891) was a Japanese educator and leader during the Meiji period. He also went by his pen-name of Nakamura Keiu.

Born to a samurai family in Edo, Nakamura was originally a Confucian scholar. He was selected by the Tokugawa bakufu to study in Great Britain, where he mastered the English language.

On his return to Japan, he translated Self-Help, by Samuel Smiles, and On Liberty, by John Stuart Mill into Japanese. Both works proved to be tremendously popular.

He taught at the Tokyo Imperial University, founded a school, Dojinsha, and headed what later became the Ochanomizu University.

Nakamura was one of the first prominent Japanese philosophers to convert to Christianity, which he tempered with Confucian humanism and belief in the innate goodness of humanity. He viewed Christianity as the foundation for the military and economic strength of the western nations, and stated that Japan needed to discard its traditional beliefs as a necessary step in strengthening the nation. In this, he was one of the more radical members of the original circle of philosophers in the Meirokusha.

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