Mori Arinori (森有礼)

Arinori MORI (his name is written 森有禮 in orthographic style) (August 23, 1847 - February 12, 1889) was a Japanese samurai as well as a feudal retainer of Satsuma Province and a statesman. He was the first Minister of Education, and one of the six major educators in the Meiji period. He was a viscount. Sukegoro or Kinnojo (金之丞) was an alias (byname).

Career and Personal Profile

He was born as the fifth son of Kiemon Arikuni (喜右衛門有恕) MORI, a feudal retainer of Satsuma Province, in Kasugakoji-cho near Kagoshima-jo Castle in Satsuma Province in 1847. Yasutake YOKOYAMA was his older brother. He studied in England with other students including Tomoatsu GODAI in 1865 and then went to study in the US. At that time, he took deep interest in Christianity. When he returned to Japan after the Meiji Restoration, he founded the Meirokusha (Meiji 6 Society, a group of promoting civilization and enlightenment in Japan) with Yukichi FUKUZAWA, Amane NISHI (an illuminator), Shigeki NISHIMURA, Masanao NAKAMURA, Hiroyuki KATO, and Mamichi TSUDA.

In 1875, he established a private school, Shoho Koshujo (the Commercial Law Institute) (the predecessor of Hitotsubashi University) in Owari-cho, Ginza, Tokyo.

In 1885, he became the Minister of Education under the first Hirofumi ITO cabinet and since then, he engaged in Japanese education policies. He issued the statement that 'good wife and wise mother education' should be a national policy. Guideline for educating pupils' prepared based on the policy was distributed to girls' schools and girls' high schools nationwide.

In 1886, he promulgated the Academic Degree Order to set up two academic ranks of great doctor and doctor in Japan. In addition, pushing forward with his work of consolidating various school systems, he made an effort to establish the education system as a modern state. On the day when the Constitution of the Empire of Japan was issued in 1889, however, he was stabbed to death by a nationalist, Buntaro NISHINO. He was 43.

Newspapers of the day reported that one minister got a bamboo blind out of the way with a cane to look into the shrine room when he visited the Ise Jingu Shrine, which caused a problem (the incident of disrespect for the Ise Jingu Shrine). People suspected that the "Minister" could be Mori because he was a radical westernizationist. Whether or not this was true is uncertain, but this incident was one of the causes of Mori's assassination.

He was famous for advocating English as a national language in Japan. In 1872, he sent a letter to William Dwight Whitney, a professor of linguistics of Yale University to ask if English except its irregular verbs should be adopted to Japan as a national language. However, Whitiney opposed to the abolition of Japanese except the case of using Roman characters in writing, expressing a negative opinion on the use of simplified English.

Arimasa MORI (1911 - 1976), a scholar of French literature and a philosopher was a grandson of Arinori.

There was a gap between the general public and Arinori since he had a radical idea, and therefore he was criticized and called "Meiroku no yurei (which is a pun for his name "有礼" that can also be pronounced "yurei") (the ghost of the Meirokusha)".