Spencer has been called the most widely read and possibly the most in fluential Western social and political thinker in Japan during the 1880's. Between 1877 and 1900, at least thirty-two translations and one critical study of Spencer's works were published, besides many articles in journals and magazines. The writings of John Stuart Mill ranked next in popularity. Other Western thinkers—such as Rousseau, Montesquieu, Guizot, Haeckel, T. H. Huxley, Darwin, Bentham, and Bagehot—received much less public attention.

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