Baron D. Kikuchi, President of the Kyoto Imperial University gave an interesting lecture on "Japanese National Development," in the Fogg Lecture Room last evening. President Lowell introduced the speaker who laid stress on the following ideas.
"The present Japanese progress is not something extraordinary, it is the natural course of the realization of national ideals. Even as far back as the seventh century the Japanese saw the benefits that could be gained by adopting Chinese civilization. At that time the Chinese religion, governmental systems and literature were introduced in a body, and the present introduction of western civilization in the nineteenth century is well known.
"Beginning with the study of medicine, a rapid assimilation of western education took place. The revolutionary ideas thus brought about made possible the peaceful restoration of the imperial dynasty in 1868. At that time an oath of five articles was sworn to by the emperor. As a result of this oath the feudal system was abolished. Owing to the leadership of the late Prince Ito this and the other reforms were not brought about without great difficulty. Their success can only be ascribed to the far-sightedness of the Emperor and to the great devotion of all his subjects.
"The educational history of Japan since 1868 began by the opening of schools closed directly after the fall of the Shogun. In 1871 it was announced that education was to be universal without regard to class or sex. Soon afterward, students were sent abroad and foreign teachers were employed in all departments. But in spite of mistakes and failures a working system has been established which has brought about good results.
"Not long ago an imperial rescript of education was issued to serve as a fundamental basis on which to build the superstructure of all Japanese training. The cardinal virtues of loyalty and filial piety are laid down as the ground-work. At present a crisis is imminent in the Japanese field of education. The old social system based upon the idea that the national unit was the family is now at variance with the more modern idea of the individual as the national unit. Keeping in mind the fundamental characteristics which have made it possible for the nation to receive so much that is foreign, the government is looking forward to making a change so that what is good of the old may be combined with the best of the new."