- Historical Society of English Studies in Japan
- 英学史研究 (ISSN:03869490)
- no.26, pp.85-101, 1993
The Tokugawas established the School Fuchu (Shizuoka) Gakumonjo in Suruga in the autumn of 1868 as their major undertaking after the debacle of the Shogunate. In straitened circumstances they found a gleam of light in educa-tion for their future.<BR>Gohachiro Namura was the head of the professors of English at this school. Unfortunately, however, we seldom come across his name as such in the litera-ture concerning the school. Instead, the name of Taizo Namura, who has nothing to do with the school, is often seen as a professor at the school. There are cases where Taizo's personal history is mistaken for Gohachiro's, or, vice versa.<BR>In this paper, the causes of this confusion are discussed, and personal his-tories of Gohachiro and Taizo are presented. Gohachiro was a son of Hachiemon Namura, a very able official Dutch interpreter at Nagasaki. Taizo is said to have become a stepson of Hachiemon. Both Gohachiro and Taizo learnd Dutch and worked as Dutch intepreters at Nagasaki in the beginning, and they learned English and other foreign languages in addition, which made them indispensa-ble persons for modernization of Japan.<BR>Gohachiro was one of the Japanese who studied and taught English earliest in Japan : he was one of the compilers of an English and Japanese dictionary, 1851-1854 (uncompleted), the second English and Japanese dictionary compiled in Japan. He was one of the interpreters when the Treaty of Peace and Amity was signed between the United States and Japan in 1854. He served as the chief interpreter of the first Japanese embassy to the United States in 1860, and also of the Japanese embassy to Russia in 1866.<BR>Taizo was known for his ability in French. He was appointed an interpreter for a group of French technical instructors and workers for the construction of an iron foundary in Yokohama in 1862. He went to France to work for an International Exhibition at Paris in 1867, which Japan took part in for the first time. After the Restoration of 1868 he was employed by the new government at Nagasaki, where he taught French at a language institute transmitted to the new government. He entered the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Tokyo in 1869. He moved to the Ministry of Justice in 1872. He was appointed as an Acting President of the Supreme Court in 1892, and as a member of the House of Peers in 1894. One of his most important contribution was, perhaps, the introduction of French law into Japan, serving as an interpreter and assistant for a famous French professor in law, Dr. Gustave Emile Boissonade de Fontarabie (1825-1910).<BR>The confusion between Gohachiro and Taizo was originated in a simple mistake in a paper published in 1917, where the author wrote "Gohachiro (Taizo) Namura", in his judgement that Taizo must have been Gohachiro's later name. Then, another authour, in his book published in 1934, noted just "Taizo Namura" in the list of professors at the school. Because this book is one of the basic books in the field, the confusion has been handed down to many other authors.