Fukuzawa Yukichi lived a quite adventurous life during the Bakumatsu and early Meiji Period. As a young man he was already an accomplished scholar. He learned Dutch and English and served as an important translator for state affairs. Blessed with a gift to write in a simple yet convincing manner he wrote something akin to an introduction to western culture. Sincerely believing in the importance of education and science (also for gaining independence) later he went on to found what nowadays is known as Keio University and an independent Newspaper called Jiji-Shinpō (amongst other things).
Please see here for a more lengthy account of all the accomplishments and the inheritance of this man: