- 英学史研究 (ISSN:03869490)
- vol.1987, no.19, pp.91-108, 1986-11-01 (Released:2010-02-22)
Taizo Masaki, the first president of Tokyo Shokko Gakko (Tokyo Industrial School), is most prominently mentioned in “Yoshida Torajiro”, a short story by Robert Louis Stevenson. From 1876 to 1881, Masaki was in Great Britain supervising Japanese students. In the summer of 1878, he met Stevenson at Edinburgh, and told him about the Japanese anti-Shogunate revolutionary Shoin Yoshida, who was Masaki's teacher when he was a young boy. It is not clear, however, what precisely Masaki's main work in Britain involved. In this article, his history and achievements there will be described.Masaki was born on October 24, 1846 as the third son of Jiemon Masaki, a high ranking samurai in Choshu. Choshu was a hotbed or revolutionary activity against the centralized federal Shogunate regime, and many of his family were likewise revolutionaries, later assuming a number of important roles in the Meiji Revolution. Furthermore, there were many great revolutionaries and statesmen around him including Kaoru Inoue, Takayoshi Kido and Saneomi Hirosawa. Thus, the formation of Masaki's character doubtlessly was affected by them. When he was about thirteen years old, he attended Yoshida's private school, Shokason-Juku. He became the page of Motonori Mori, the Prince of the Daimyo Lord of Choshu. The Daimyo was cut off from the progressive camp, and so Masaki acted as his mesenger.After the Meiji Revolution of 1871, Masaki was dispatched to Great Britain to study modern mintage technology. In fact, however, he studied chemistry at University College in London. At this time, he met R. W. Atkinson and invited him to go to Japan as a professor of Tokyo Kaisei Gakko. In 1874, Masaki returned to Japan with Atkinson, and worked as an assistant professor for Atkinson for about two years at Tokyo Kaisei Gakko. He taught basic chemistry, including analytical chemistry and chemical experimentation. He was the first Japanese to teach modern Western chemistry in a Japanese university.In June, 1878, Masaki went to Great Britain again as the supervisor of new students newly selected for study abroad from Tokyo Kaisei Gakko, and stayed there for 5 years. In 1881, he came back from Britain, and became the first president of Tokyo Shokko Gakko (presently Tokyo Institute of Technology). For nine years, he worked earnestly to establish the first Western-style industrial school in Japan. In 1890, Masaki was transferred to the Foreign Office, and went to Honolulu as the consul general of Hawaii. But his life in Hawaii was not long. He returned to Japan in December 1892, and retired from public service for reasons of his health, and he died on April 5, 1896.Masaki's main accomplishment in Britain can be classified in terms of three categories. First, he took care of the Japanese students in Europe. We can read his annual reports from Britain, which describe the activities of his students. Secondly, he was able to find good teachers for new schools or universities in Japan. One of these was famous physicist Sir J. A. Ewing. In Edinburgh, along with Ewing, he also met Stevenson. It was during this time, that he gave Stevenson his account of his teacher Shoin Yoshida. Thirdly, he conducted research in the area of modern education in Europe. He worte many articles in Japanese educational journals, including translated articles or lectures and his own reports of experience in Great Britain.Taizo Masaki's achievements in Great Britain were important to education, particularly industrial education in early Meiji Era.