With the opening of Japan to increased foreign contact with Europe and the United States in the 1850s, Japanese Buddhist scholars and clerics, like other members of the Japanese elite, began to travel abroad in significant numbers for the first time since the seventeenth century. Beginning in the early 1870s, Japanese Buddhists followed the imperative of the Charter Oath by fanning out to seek knowledge throughout the world. Having mastered modern philological methods, Sanskrit, and Pali, Japanese scholars and clerics returned home to assume influential university appointments in Buddhist and Indian studies and to serve in important administrative and educational capacities in their respective denominations.