With the Meiji Restoration of 1868 the flow of Western ideas into Japan turned from an uncertain trickle to a flood. In the famous words of the Charter Oath issued by the Emperor Meiji in 1868, the government resolved that ‘knowledge shall be sought throughout the world so as to strengthen the foundations of imperial rule’ (Tsunoda et al. 1964: vol. 2, p. 137). The study of Western social and economic thought inevitably constituted an important part of that knowledge.