- 英学史研究 (ISSN:03869490)
- vol.1988, no.20, pp.47-68, 1987 (Released:2010-01-25)
Ninjun Takasugi was a granduncle of the great revolutionist Shinsaku Takasugi. Because Heibei Tagami adopted Ninjun as his heir, however, his final name was Uheida Tagami. In the late period of Edo era, Uheida was one of the advanced scholars of the Dutch language in Choshu which had a very progressive Daimyo. He translated many Dutch military books, mainly concerned with modern artillery, and introduced modern technologies to the Shogunate and his home province of Choshu. His translations played an important part in the period of the Meiji Restoration; however, his life and work have not been fully studied or recognized yet. In this article, his life will be reviewed and his achievement in Meiji Restoration will be discussed based on a recently discovered translation by him of an artillery book.In 1817, Uheida was born as the third son of Kozaemon Takasugi who was great grandfather of Shinsaku Takasugi in Hagi the capital of Choshu. Details of his younger days are not cleared. At first, he entered the Meirin-kan, the academy of Choshu. He studied conventional Japanese curriculums in this school. Then he went to Nagasaki and studied the fundamentals of the Dutch language and artillery. When he was 30 years old (1847), he went to Edo, the capital of old Japan and was admitted into the private school of Genboku Ito who was one of the most famous Dutch-style medical doctors of that period. In this school, many students gathered and studied the Dutch language. In a short time he became the supervisor of students instead of his teacher Genboku, because his ability to understand the Dutch language in the area of military technology was on a par with his teacher Genboku. He translated many Dutch military books for the Shogunate and for Daimyo Nabeshima of Saga. “The Shore artillery defence” is the only work of his which still remains. We found it at Nagasaki Library's Aokata-Bunko. He finished this work in August, 1849. This book was not just a simple translation of one Dutch textbook. In this textbook, he introduced four modern Dutch military textbooks, and explained the defence method of sea shore by artillery. We can imagine that when Nabeshima the Daimyo of Saga constructed his artillery bases on Saga shore, this work of Uheida was very useful to him.In 1851, Uheida came back to his home province Choshu. In this time, the pressures to reopen Japan to foreign countries became greater. Finaly, through American navy admiral Matthew C. Perry this happened in 1854. After this time Japan experienced a great revolutionary period. As Choshu was a hotbed for revolutionary activity against the centralized federal Shogunate, Uheida acted as a modern millitary specialist at Choshu. He introduced modern Western style technologies to Choshu's military preparation. Unfortunately he did not see much of the results of the Restoration, because he died in 1869, the second year of new Meiji Era.Uheida Tagami is not too famous as a Western-style Dutch scholar of late Edo period. His period of Dutch scholarship was short : however, he acted as a military specialist and made his mark upon the war between the Shogunate and Choshu, or new Meiji government.