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Pilgrimage to the place in connection with Tadamasa Oguri, MAR, 2024

As I mentioned in the article about Yasukage Amano, the lord of Kokokuji Castle, I visited the ending place of Oguri Kozukenosuke in Takasaki City, Gunma Prefecture. The Oguri family had been vassals of the Matsudaira family since Ieyasu's grandfather (Hirotada), and some of their descendants remained as vassals of the hatamoto family and the Echizen Matsudaira family until the Meiji Restoration. Tadayuki was from the Mataichi Oguri family, which was the head family, and could be said to be an outstanding figure among the decadent shogunate retainers at the end of the Edo period. There is no doubt that the Meiji Restoration was a turning point in the creation of modern Japan, but it is worth repeating that Oguri led the modernization policy at the end of the Edo period, and that many of his visions were adopted by the new government. I think it should be evaluated.

Takamori Saigo and Eiichi Shibusawa are good, but I recommend Tadamasa Oguri for the next "Taiga" drama themed on the end of the Edo period. When I went on a business trip to Washington DC a few years ago, I had the opportunity to stay at the Willard Hotel, where the Japanese envoys to the US stayed in 1860, including Oguri, and I was impressed by the history of the Japanese envoys' visits.

Oguri's accomplishments are too numerous to list, but he served as Foreign Magistrate and Accounting Magistrate, the Yokosuka Steel Works, negotiations of revising tariff rates and currency exchange ratios, financial reconstruction, utilized private capital and established a trading company, Tsukiji Hotel, and the Army and Navy. There's too much to list, including modernization. Under severe financial conditions, he was the only one in the declining Edo shogunate, but the measures he implemented one after another during the last eight years of the Edo period (from the above-mentioned mission to the United States to the Meiji Restoration) led to the modernization of Japan. It can be said that it was an important run-up period for the team.

He was not just a loyal vassal of the Tokugawa family, but also expressed his belief in opposing opinions by admonishing them, saying, "Even though the fate of the shogunate is limited, there is no limit to Japan's fate." Tragedy occurred in April of the fourth year of Keio, on the eve of the Meiji Restoration, when he was executed by the new government forces. After the Battle of Toba-Fushimi, Oguri's plan to use the Kaiyo Maru to fight against the new government forces was not successful, and he was discharged from service. He lived in seclusion in Gonda Village, Joshu, which was part of his territory, but was captured at Tozenji Temple. He was beheaded at Torigawa Riverside without any investigation.

His wife, who was pregnant at the time, fled to Aizu using her connections, and thanks to the consideration of the feudal lord, Katamori, He gave birth to Kuniko in a field hospital on the eve of the Battle of Tsuruga Castle. Shigenobu Okuma, whose wife was a relative of the Oguri family, later took in the family and restored the Oguri family, but said, "The modernization policy of the Meiji government is merely an imitation of Tadamasa Oguri." Heihachiro Togo later invited the Oguri family to his home and presented them with a letter of thanks, saying, "We were able to win the Battle of Tsushima thanks to Lord Oguri, who built the steelworks and shipyards." I had the opportunity to see the actual letter at Tozenji Temple.

After the Battle of Japan, Chester Minnitz visited Japan as a candidate for second lieutenant and had the opportunity to meet Heihachiro Togo. Since then, he has respected Togo for the rest of his life, and after the Pacific War, he kept Togo's belongings in his hometown (Fredericksburg, Texas). It is a small town of German immigrants, about a five-hour drive from Houston, where I lived, and it also has a Japanese garden. Along with the National Museum of the Pacific next door, it is one of the must-visit places for Japanese people as it provides an opportunity to think about modern Japan and Japan-US relations.

Tadamasa Oguri, who studied at the Washington Shipyard and built the Yokosuka Shipyard, brought victory to Togo, while Nimitz, who learned from Togo, destroyed the Japanese Navy, but I would like to remember Tadamasa Oguri as one of the important figures who created the cause and effect that created modern Japan.



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