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Hamaguchi Goryo

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Hamaguchi goryo

Hamaguchi Goryo was the first born son in a branch of Hamaguchi Shichiemon in Hiro-mura village (currently Hirogawa-cho). He was adopted into the head family at the age of 12 and later inherited the family business, Yamasa Soy Sauce in Choshi. 
In 1854 (Ansei 1) while goryo was staying at his home village of Hiro-mura, a strong earthquake suddenly occurred and a massive tsunami struck the Kii Peninsula district.
goryo set fire to some ‘inamura’ (rice sheaves) and evacuated the villagers to a safe place by guiding them using the fire as a landmark.
However, the tsunami pretty much destroyed the village. Upon seeing the completely changed site goryo turned himself inside out to save his home village. He engaged in various recovery efforts including the construction of huts for disaster victims and the provision of farming and fishing equipment. Moreover, he engaged in the construction of a breakwater 600 m long and 5 m high, which minimized damage from tsunamis in later years.

goryo also displayed his exceptional abilities in other fields. In the field of education, he established a private academy for learning swordplay and Chinese classics with Hamaguchi Toukou and Iwasaki Meigaku at the end of the Edo period. This private academy was later called “Taikyu-sha” and became the current Taikyu Junior High School after a few changes.

goryo assumed the Minister of Post and Telecommunications at the behest of Okubo Toshimichi in 1871 (Meiji 4) and was elected the first chairman of the Wakayama Prefectural Assembly in 1879 (Meiji 12). After resigning as chairman, he founded the Kinokuni Doyukai (Association) and developed activities that encouraged democracy.

In 1885 (Meiji 18), he passed away in New York during an inspection tour of Europe and the United States, which had been a long-cherished desire of his.

Hamaguchi Goryo under Niagara Falls

Chronology of Hamaguchi goryo

Christian Year 
(Old Calendar) 
(Name of Era)
(Eastern Age Reckoning)
Name of goryo Chronology of goryo  (*) shows historical background.
1820 (Bunsei 3) 1 year old Shichita Shichita, June 15, Born in Hiro-mura village in Kishu, Childhood name, Shichita
1821 (Bunsei 4) 2 years old   January 18, His natural father Shichiemon died.
1823 (Bunsei 6) 4 years old    *Katsu Kaishu was born.
1825 (Bunsei 8) 6 years old    *February, Order to Repel Foreign Ships
1831 (Tenpo 2) 12 years old Gita Adopted into the head family and renamed Gita.
      Went to Choshi by way of Edo and engaged in the family business.
1834 (Tenpo 5) 15 years old Gitaro Renamed Gitaro after celebrating his coming of age. 
  *Fukuzawa Yukichi was born.
1837 (Tenpo 8) 18 years old   His grandfather Kanpo died. 
  *February, the Oshio Heihachiro Rebellion
1839 (Tenpo 10) 20 years old   Married Matsu, a daughter of Ikenaga Umataro, in Yuasa. 
  *Imprisonment of Scholars of Western Studies
1841 (Tenpo 12) 22 years old   Met Miyake Gonsai 
  *Miyake Gonsai started practicing medicine in Choshi.
1848 (Kaei 1) 29 years old   Eldest daughter Taki was born.
1850 (Kaei 3) 31 years old  

Studied under and developed a friendship with Sakuma Shozan.
  *Katsu Kaishu established a military science academy.

      Met Katsu Kaishu.
1851 (Kaei 4) 32 years old   Founded Shugidan.
1852 (Kaei 5) 33 years old   Established a training camp (private academy) in Hiro-mura village.
1853 (Kaei 6) 34 years old Gihee March, Succeeded to Gihee VII.
      His adoptive father Yasuhira died. 
  *June, The Black Ship fleet of Perry arrives in Uraga.
      Planned to travel abroad with the help of Senior Councilor Ogasawara Ikinokami.
      Second daughter Michi was born.
1854 (Ansei 1) 35 years old   Saved the villagers by setting “the fire of rice sheaves” when the tsunami caused by the Ansei Earthquake struck the village. 
  *March, Conclusion of Treaty of Peace and Amity between the United States of America and the Empire of Japan (Treaty of Kanagawa)
  *November, Nankai Earthquake Tsunami
      Decided to build a large embankment and did his utmost to aid disaster victims.
1855 (Ansei 2) 36 years old   January, Submitted a petition to Wakayama Han to obtain permission to build the embankment.
      Commenced building the Hiromura Embankment and continued relief work for victims of the tsunami.
      Organized Uragumi (a self-disaster-prevention organization) in Hiro-mura village and trained the young people.
      Rebuilt Hirohashi Bridge.
      Rebuilt the training house.
      Stopped a plan to build the “Hamaguchi-daimyojin” Shrine by villagers from Hiro-mura village.
      His store in Edo was hit by an earthquake.
  *October, Ansei-Edo Earthquake
1856 (Ansei 3) 37 years old   Given the status of Dokurei by the Wakayama Han in recognition of his relief work.
1858 (Ansei 5) 39 years old   Sent Seki Kansai to Edo and promoted cholera prevention. 
  *A Vaccination Center was established in Otamagaike by Ito Genboku and his associates.
      Completion of the Hiromura Embankment 
  *Fukuzawa Yukichi opened a private academy (which became Keio-Gijuku).
  *The Vaccination Center in Edo was damaged by fire.
1859 (Ansei 6) 40 years old   Contributed 300 Ryo for the reconstruction of the Vaccination Center.
      Invited by Katsu Kaishu to travel with them on the Kanrin-maru but gave up on the idea.
1860 (Manen 1) 41 years old    *Kairin-maru departed and Katsu Kaishu, Fukuzawa Yukichi and their associates traveled abroad.
1861 (Bunkyu 1) 42 years old   Contributed 400 Ryo to the Institute of Western Medicine for use in medical research. 
  *October, The Vaccination Center was renamed the Institute of Western Medicine.
1863 (Bunkyu 3) 44 years old    *The Tenchugumi Rebellion
1864 (Ganji 1) 45 years old   Yamasa received the title of Best Soy Sauce
1866 (Keio 2) 47 years old   Named the training camp in Hiro-mura village Taikyu-sha.
1867 (Keio 3) 48 years old    *Boshin War, Return of Political Rule to Emperor
1868 (Meiji 1) 49 years old   January 29, Selected as Commissioner of Finance in Kishu Han. 
 *Meiji Restoration, Katsu Kaishu saved Edo from war.
1869 (Meiji 2) 50 years old   January, Appointed the post of Kujakunoma-seki and Sansei (Parliamentary Under-secretary).
      February, Appointed the position of Ohiroma-seki, and the president of Gakushukan . 
  * Abolition of Han System
      Struggled to establish Kyoritsu-Gakusha with Matsuyama Toan .
      April, Went to Tokyo with the Lord of the Han.
Appointed Counselor of Civil Affairs in Arida-gun.
Order to Take Care of Aged People and Nourish Children
      October, Appointed to double as the Counselor of Civil Affairs in Nagusa-gun.
      November, Appointed Shosanji (Minor Counselor) of Wakayama-han.
1870 (Meiji 3) 51 years old goryo Installed his adopted son Gosho as Gihee VIII and from then on used the common name of goryo.
      February, Appointed Minister of Civil Affairs of Matsuzaka.
      December, Appointed Gondaisanji (the Vice Counselor) of Wakayama-han.
1871 (Meiji 4) 52 years old   May, Transferred to Tokyo Hancho (Prefectural Head Quarters).
      July, Appointed Ekiteisei (Chief of Post and Telecommunications). 
  *July, Abolition of Hans (Domains) and Establishment of Prefectures
      August, Appointed Ekiteinokami (Minister of Post and Telecommunications).
      Appointed Daisanji (Counselor) of Wakayama Prefecture the same month.
      October, Resigned the post and engaged in the work of Gondaisanji.
      November, Appointed Sanji (Counselor) of Wakayama Prefecture.
1872 (Meiji 5) 53 years old   February 13, Resigned as Sanji. 
 *New systems for mail, family registers, schooling, railways and the solar calendar were adopted.
      June 2, His son Tan was born.
1877 (Meiji 10) 58 years old    *Seinan War
1878 (Meiji 11) 59 years old   Made efforts to maintain Jishusha .
1879 (Meiji 12) 60 years old   Became a representative of the proposal to open the National Diet. 
 *Campaigns for democratic rights and opening of the Diet occurred all over the country.
      Elected the first chairman of the Wakayama Prefectural Assembly.
1881 (Meiji 14) 62 years old   Established the Choshi Kisen Corporation. 
  *October, Imperial Rescript at the Opening of the National Diet
  * Itagaki Taisuke founded the Liberal Party (Jiyu-to).
1882 (Meiji 15) 63 years old   December, Organized the Kinokuni Doyukai (Association). 
 *Okuma Shigenobu founded the Constitutional Progressive Party (Rikken Kaishin-to).
1884 (Meiji 17) 65 years old   May 30, Left Yokohama to travel abroad and arrive at the United States.
1885 (Meiji 18) 66 years old   Died in New York, the United States.
      Fukuzawa Yukichi, Katsu Kaishu and their associates held a funeral for him in Yokohama.
1892 (Meiji 25)     Taikyusha was renamed Taikyu Gakusha.
1893 (Meiji 26)     A monument was erected in Hiro-mura village.
1897 (Meiji 30)     A monument was erected in Choshi.
1903 (Meiji 36 )     His son Tan gave a lecture while studying in England. Through questions made by Miss Stella La Rolets he was revealed to be the son of Gohei, the hero in “Living God” that was written by Lafcadio Hearn, and was greatly applauded.
1908 (Meiji 41)     Taikyu Gakusha was renamed Private Taikyu Junior High School in accordance with the Junior-High-School Law.
1915 (Taisho 4)     November 11, At the Imperial Ritual of the accession of Emperor Taisho, goryo was given the lower-fifth grading (in the official court hierarchy) in recognition of his merits over many years.
1916 (Taisho 5)     Forty-two members of the Wakayama Prefectural Assembly plan to erect the bronze statue of goryo.
1920 (Taisho 9)     April 10, The bronze statue of goryo was constructed and unveiled.
1938 (Showa 13)     Hiromura Bank and the tomb of goryo were designated as national historic sites.
1967 (Showa 42)     The bronze statue of goryo was erected in the schoolyard of Taikyu Junior High School.
Last updated:2017.4.18

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