Representative enlightenment thinker in the Meiji Era. Born in Osaka, the son of a samurai of the Nakatsu Clan, who was serving at the clan's storehouse in Osaka when Fukuzawa was born. After his father died, he returned to Nakatsu and became a disciple of Tsuneto Shiroishi, and later, he went to Osaka for Western studies through the Dutch language under Koan Ogata. During the period from 1860 until 1867, he took part in the Shogunate missions to Europe and the United States three times, and based on these experiences, he introduced Western culture through his writings, such as "Seiyo jijo" (Conditions in the West). In 1868, he established the Keio Gijuku. After the Meiji era, he did not assume any public post or receive any court rank or honors. He published many writings including "Gakumon no susume" (Encouragement of Learning) (1872) and "Bunmeiron no gairyaku" (An Outline of a Theory of Civilization) (1875).