Maeno Ryotaku

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Maeno Ryôtaku was a Rangaku scholar of the 18th century, known as one of the most active in learning the Dutch language, reading and translating Dutch materials, and organizing opportunities for others to learn the language.

He studied with Yoshio Kôsaku, and was active in Rangaku circles of his time.

In his Kanrei higen (1777), Maeno writes of the virtue of European nations, and of the importance of the quality of a culture's religious teachings in ensuring peace and prosperity. He writes of the success of the spread of Christianity as evidence for the value of Christianity as a moralizing agent, and asserts that while China has seen numerous violent coups, no European ruler has ever taken power by violent usurpation. He never published his Kanrei higen for fear of running afoul of the shogunate, but manuscripts circulated among other Rangaku scholars, physicians, and translators.

Selected Works


  • Bob Tadashi Wakabayashi, Anti-Foreignism and Western Learning in Early Modern Japan, Harvard University Press (1992), 46-51.
  1. Yokoyama Manabu 横山学, Ryûkyû koku shisetsu torai no kenkyû 琉球国使節渡来の研究, Tokyo: Yoshikawa kôbunkan (1987), 224.