Oyatoi-gaikokujin (foreigners in Japan hired to teach new techniques) (お雇い外国人)

The term "oyatoi-gaikokujin" refers to the practice, common from the late Edo period into the early Meiji period, of hiring Europeans and Americans to foster the importation into Japan of the advanced technologies, scholarship and systems of Europe and the United States under the banner of 'Shokusan-kogyo' (encouragement of production and industry). Such foreigners were invited to Japan by the Edo bakufu (Japanese feudal government headed by a shogun) and by various regional domains; beginning in the Meiji period, they were invited by the new Meiji government, prefectural offices, or by the private sector. In the final years of the Edo period, each domain competed in the hiring of foreigners to serve their lords; as such, they were also called Okakae-gaikokujin (foreigners in service).

Although broadly speaking the designation oyatoi-gaikokujin also included the employees of foreign diplomatic missions in Japan as well as the (foreign) guards at the foreign settlements, for the purposes of this article the term will be used only for those foreigners who were employed by the Japanese government in order to foster the learning of new technologies and scholarship from Europe and the United States.

Summary
Oyatoi-gaikokujin were employed to teach native Japanese the latest technologies and knowledge from Europe and the United States in order to fuel the process of Japan's modernization. These foreigners would have a lasting influence on various fields, including industry, politics and academia, for generations thereafter. From the early days of the Edo period, there had been foreigners hired for this purpose in Japan, notably Jan JOOSTEN and William ADAMS, both highly esteemed and well treated by Ieyasu TOKUGAWA, who valued them as advisers to the bakufu on foreign diplomacy or technology; there was also the example of Philipp Franz Balthasar von SIEBOLD, who was employed briefly as an adviser for the bakufu. However, it was not until after the Meiji Restoration, which saw the end of the long period of national isolation and the beginning of Japan's search for models abroad, that the Japanese government began the full-scale hiring of foreigners.

In 1855 of the end of Edo Period, the Tokugawa shogunate established a Japanese Naval School in Nagasaki and invited several Dutchmen, notably Willem Huyssen van KATTENDIJKE, to serve as advisers on military affairs. As a consequence, in the early days of the Japanese Navy it was primarily Dutchmen who led the way; with the birth of the new Meiji government, however, Englishmen were employed as advisers, and as such, the administration of the Navy followed the British model. As regards the developmental pedigree of the Japanese Army, under the bakufu military advisers were invited from France. However, because the efforts of this advisory group ended in defeat at the battle of Hakodate during the Boshin War, and perhaps also because Prussia (Germany) won the Franco-Prussian War, the new Meiji government overturned its military system and decided to invite an advisory group from Germany.

As regards the project of reclaiming the land of Hokkaido, most people invited to participate were from the United States of America.
The Dutch had risen to influential positions by the end of the Edo period, and after the Restoration many Dutchmen, notably Johannis de RIJKE, were hired in the field of river engineering (It is said that this was because Dutch flood control technology was highly praised by those connected to this field of engineering; however, a different theory holds that the large-scale hiring of Dutch river engineers was due to the nepotism of Dr. Anthonius Franciscus BAUDUIN and his younger brother.)
Italians were employed at schools for craftsmanship and art.

Reference: The 1975 document entitled "Shiryo: Oyatoi-gaikokujin"(Document on Hired Foreigners) lists the names of 2,299 people with foreign nationalities who were employed by Japanese public and private institutions as well as by individuals between 1868 and 1889 (the list includes the names of families and employees at the foreign diplomatic missions). The breakdown by nationality is 928 Englishmen, 374 Americans, 259 Frenchmen, 253 Chinese, 175 Germans, 87 Dutch, and several others of various nationalities.

It is well-known that Oyatoi-gaikokujin were highly paid. During an era in which the top-level ministers in the government were being paid monthly salaries of a few hundred yen, foreigners were being paid a monthly wage that ranged between several hundred yen to over one thousand. Even compared to national wage levels in an era when the status difference between social classes was very large, such a salary was extremely high. The high salaries were partly due to the fact that the yen was extremely weak internationally, but mainly because of the difficulty in convincing top-class experts in technology and knowledge to come to Japan, which from the perspective of Westerners was a country on the extreme eastern edge of the Far East, a country moreover that held considerable physical danger for foreigners.

The vast majority of foreigners returned to their own countries upon completing the tasks for which they had been hired. Although there were some Oyatoi-gaikokujin who were drifters who came to Japan thinking to strike it rich, notably Thomas James WALTERS, or arrogant and looked down on the Japanese such as Charles Alfred Chastel de BOINVILLE, there were many others who deeply appreciated Japan and were greatly respected by their (Japanese) disciples. There were those such as Yakumo KOIZUMI (Lafcadio Hearn), Josiah CONDOR and Edwin DUN who found themselves captivated by Japanese culture, and chose to remain in Japan for the rest of their lives.

Graves of oyatoi-gaikokujin
Some Oyatoi-gaikokujin were buried in graveyards in Japan. The grave of Yakumo KOIZUMI (Lafcadio Hearn) is treated as a major tourist attraction for the city of Matsue in Shimane Prefecture. Although Fenollosa died in London, he was laid to rest in Onjo-ji Temple (also known as Mii-dera Temple).

In Aoyama Cemetery, a graveyard for foreign residents in Tokyo, some of the graves are of foreigners who no longer have any known relatives, as a consequence of which the maintenance fee (590 yen yearly as of 2005) has not been paid for many years. In such cases, the remains are usually reclassified as muen botoke (a person who has died leaving nobody to look after his or her grave) and reburied in a communal grave; but in the fiscal year of 2006, as reported by the Yomiuri Shimbun (the Daily Yomiuri) on February 18, 2005, in the case of the Aoyama Cemetery the Tokyo Metropolitan Government re-evaluated 78 graves of Oyatoi-gaikokujin for which the maintenance fee has not been paid as important from the perspective of cultural history, and it plans to preserve them as historical sites.

Categories of Oyatoi-gaikokujin

Foreigners employeed in the fields of Scholarship and Education
Yakumo KOIZUMI (British, also known as Lafcadio Hearn)
- Active in linguistic education: authored "Kwaidan" (Ghost Stories)
Edward S. MORSE (American, 1838 - 1925)
- Biology: discovered the Omori Shell Mounds
William Smith CLARK (American)
- Served as the first vice-principal at Sapporo Agricultural School (now Hokkaido University)
Basil Hall CHAMBERLAIN (British)
- Active in linguistic education: translated "Kojiki" (The Records of Ancient Matters) into English
Raphael von KOEBER (Russian, 1848 - 1923)
- Active in philosophy
Viktor HOLTZ (German)
- Active in education in various fields
Emil HAUSKNECHT (German)
- Active in education
Alice Mabel BACON (American)
- Active in women's education
George Adams LELAND (American)
- Served as professor at the School of Gymnastics
Henry DYER (British)
- Served as the first vice-principal at the Imperial College of Engineering (today's Faculty of Engineering at the University of Tokyo)
Heinrich Edmund NAUMANN (German)
- Discovered Fossa Magna and Elephas namadicus
David MURRAY (American, 1830 - 1905)
- Served as an adviser to the Ministry of Education (director and dean)

Foreigners employed in foreign diplomacy
Charles de MONTBLANC (French)
- Served as an adviser to the Bureau of Foreign Affairs
Also served as Japan's consul general in France.
(France)

Henry DENISON (American)
- Served as an adviser to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Also served as a negotiator at the Treaty of Shimonoseki and at the Treaty of Portsmouth.

Foreigners employed in the field of medicine
Erwin von BÄLZ (German)
- Active in medicine
Ferdinand Adalbert JUNKER (Austrian)
- Worked as a medical doctor
Theodor HOFFMANN (German)
- Worked as a military surgeon
Leopold MULLER (German)
- Worked as a military surgeon

Foreigners employed in the field of law
Guido Herman Fridolin VERBEEK (Dutch, 1830 - 1898)
- Active in law; translated Old Testament into Japanese
Gustave Emile BOISSONADE (French)
- Active in civil law
Albert MOSSE (Germany)
Ottmar von MOHL (German, 1848 - 1922)
(Germany)
Hermann ROESLER (German)
- Active as a legal scholar

Foreigners employed in the fields of architecture, civil engineering, and transportation
Hermann ENDE (German)
- Active in architecture
Wilhelm BOECKMANN (German)
- Active in architecture
Johannis de RIJKE (Dutch)
- Active in erosion and sediment control management for rivers
Anthonie Thomas Lubertus ROUWENHORST MULDER (Dutch)
- Involved with the Tone Canal and Hiroshima Bay projects
(Holland)
George Arnold ESCHER (Dutch)
- Active in river maintenance; the father of the print-maker Maurits Cornelis ESCHER
Cornelis Johannes VAN DOORN (Dutch)
- Involved in the planning of the Asaka Canal and the project of Nobiru chikuko (Industrial development policy and the construction of Nobiru harbor)
Thomas James WALTERS (British)
- Created the Ginza renga-gai (brick-laid streets of Ginza)
Jules LESCASSE (French)
- Built the Ikuno Silver Mine as well as the residence of Tsugumichi SAIGO
Josiah CONDOR (British)
- Planned the Rokumeikan and taught architectonics

Edmund MOREL (British)
- Built the railway between Shinbashi and Yokohama, and served as the first head engineer of railway and telegraph construction
Richard Vicars BOYLE (British)
- Built the railway between Kyoto and Kobe, and served as the successor to E. Morel
Richard Francis TREVITHICK (British)
- Supervised locomotive construction at the Japan Imperial Government Railway's Kobe Factory. He also built the first locomotive ever to be made in Japan. He was the grandson of Richard TREVITHICK, the father of the locomotive engine.
(UK)

Francis Henry TREVITHICK (British)
- Taught railway engineering to the Japanese. He also worked as the supervisor for locomotive manufacture at the Japan Imperial Government Railway's Shinbashi Factory. He was the younger brother of Richard Francis TREVITHICK.

François Léonce VERNY (French)
- Worked at various places, including Yokosuka Armory, Nagasaki Shipyard and Jogasaki Lighthouse
Benjamin Smith LYMAN (American)
- Worked as a geological surveyor at various sites, including the site that later became the Yubari Coal Mine in Hokkaido
Frederic BEREDER (French)
(France)
Richard Henry BRUNTON (British)
- Built lighthouses in various places; worked to improve roads in Yokohama
Henry Spencer PALMER (British)
- Built sewer networks in various places all over Japan, notably Yokohama
William K BURTON
- Worked to improve the water supply and sewage systems in various places
John William HART (British)
- Planned the foreign settlement in Kobe
Edmond Alfred BASTIEN (French, 1839 - 1888)
- Planned the iron mill at Yokosuka and the silk mill at Tomioka
Charles Alfred Chastel de BOINVILLE (French)
- Built several buildings, including the audience chamber at the Imperial Palace and the school buildings of the Imperial College of Engineering
Giovanni Vincenzo CAPPELLETTI (Italian)
- Built Japan's Staff Headquarters as well as the Yushukan (Yasukuni-jinja Shrine's military and war museum)
John SMEDLEY (Australian, year of birth and death unknown)
- Worked at the University of Tokyo as a lecturer of architecture/civil engineering and graphics (education) in the Department of Science. He also made proposals for urban development in various cities, among other activities.

R. P. BRIDGENS (American)
- Built Shinbashi Station and the Tsukiji Hotel
Charles Assheton Whately POWNALL (British)
- Planned construction of various bridges; even after he left Japan, he was asked to serve as a general advisor on Japanese railways

Foreigners employed in various other types of engineering and industry
Edwin DUN (American)
- Served as an agricultural adviser in Hokkaido
William Penn BROOKS (American)
- Served as an agricultural adviser in Hokkaido
Louis BOEHMER (American)
- Served as an agricultural adviser in Hokkaido
Horace CAPRON (American)
- Served as an agricultural adviser in Hokkaido, and also worked on other projects, including roads
Hendrik HARDES (Dutch)
- Built Nagasaki Shipyard and Nagasaki Iron Mill
Francois Leonce VERNY (French)
- Supervised the construction of the Navy Arsenal, among other projects
Oskar KELLNER (German)
- Active in agricultural chemistry
Oscar LOEW (German)
- Active in agricultural chemistry
William Edward AYRTON (British, 1847 - 1908)
- Active in physics
Curt NETTO (German)
- Served as a technical advisor for the mining industry
Jean Francisque COIGNET (French)
- Active in mining technology, and served as the chief mining engineer for Imperial Japan at Ikuno Silver Mine; he also surveyed various mine sites in Japan
William GOWLAND (British)
- Served as an adviser in chemistry and metallurgy at Japan's Mint (in Osaka); he also contributed to the field of archeology in the study of kofun (ancient burial mound)
Karl FLAIG (German)
- As the general manager of the Imperial Hotel, he provided instruction in the basics of hotel management in the western European style
Paul BRUNAT (French)
- He was involved with the Tomioka Silk Mill from its construction to the introduction of modern yarn-making technology, serving as the mill's chief (in other words, the one in charge of the mill)

Foreigners employed in the arts
Ernest FENOLLOSA (American)
- Provided a positive evaluation of Japanese philosophy and arts
Edoardo CHIOSSONE (Italian)
- Directed the printing of banknotes and stamps, and painted portraits of the Emperor Meiji and Takamori SAIGO
Antonio FONTANESI (Italy)
- Active in painting, and at the School of Arts and Technology
Luther Whiting MASON (American)
- Introduced western music into Japan, and served as the instructor at the Ongaku Torishirabegakari (Institute of Music)
Franz von ECKERT (German)
- Arranged the current version of 'Kimigayo' (Japan's national anthem; one theory holds that he also composed it)
Gottfried WAGENER (German)
- Served as an adviser for the manufacture of ceramics, pottery and glassware
Charles LEROUX (French)
- Served as an instructor of music, especially military music; composed Army marches (Battotai [the Drawn Sword Company] and Fusoka [Song of the Eastern Land])

Foreigners employed in military affairs
Klemens Wilhelm Jacob MECKEL (German)
- Served as an instructor at the Military Staff College
Willem Huyssen van KATTENDIJKE (Dutch)
- Trained Japan's modern navy
Archibald Lucius DOUGLAS (British)
- Served as an instructor at Japan's Naval Academy

A note on the definition of 'oyatoi'

Oyatoi' refers to the hiring of someone (unnecessary to be a foreigner) who does not belong to a samurai family for his or her special skills or knowledge in order to accomplish the bakufu's 'goyo' (official business). In the latter half of the Edo period, as the Japanese became aware of the trends affecting foreign countries, it became clear that the Shogun's samurai retainers would not be able to master the bewildering array of specialized fields by themselves. Therefore, the government began to employ especially talented non-samurai commoners in order to meet the new needs facing them. However, from the point of view of the bakufu, these employees were and would always remain of 'oyatoi' (hired) status, and as such, their social position was fully as low as that of temporary employees. Some of these hirees, however, did earn recognition for their abilities and achievements, and were promoted to the status of full retainers and granted family names, allowed to carry swords, and given hereditary rights to their status.