Maejima Hisoka (前島密)

Hisoka MAEJIMA (February 4, 1835-April 27, 1919) was a Japanese government official as well as a statesman. He was one of the founders of modern postal system in Japan and has been known for the portrait on one-yen stamp. He gave names of "Yubin (for postal service)", "Kitte (for a stamp)", and "Hagaki (for a postal card)." Based on his achievements, he has been called as "the father of postal system." He has also been known to have made a petition for Edo-sento (Transferring of the national capital to Edo) as against Osaka-sento (Transferring of the national capital to Osaka) forwarded at first by Toshimichi OKUBO and others. He was the reformer of Japan's official script.

In 1835

He was born as the second son of Sukeemon UENO, a wealthy farmer in Shimoikebe, Tsuari-mura, Kubiki-gun, Echigo Province (Joetsu City, Niigata Prefecture at present). He was named as Fusagoro.

In 1847

He came to Edo to master medicine and learned Rangaku (western studies) and English.

In 1858

He went to Hakodate City to learn seamanship. He changed his name to Taizo MAKI.

In 1859

He entered shojutsushirabesho (an educational institution for western studies and military science) of Ayasaburo TAKEDA.

In 1865

He became a Rangaku teacher of yogakko (Kaiseijo) (school of western studies) in Satsuma Domain.

In 1866

He was adopted by Maejima family, a Shogun's retainer, took over as head of the family, and designated himself as Raisuke MAEJIMA. He submitted a proposal to abolish the use of kanji (Chinese characters) to Yoshinobu TOKUGAWA, the Seitaishogun (commander-in-chief of the expeditionary force against the barbarians, great, unifying leader).

In 1869

Invited by Meiji Government, he began to serve in Minbusho (Ministry of Popular Affairs) and Okura-sho (Ministry of the Treasury).

In March, 1870

He became sozei gonnokami (the principle officer of tax), then in May, ekitei gonnnokami (the principle officer of posts) concurrently, and proposed Daijokan (Grand Council of State) to establish a postal system. He went to Great Britain to inspect the postal system and conclude a contract to loan money for railway construction.

In August 1871

On coming back to Japan, he was appointed as Ekitei-no-kami (Minister of Post and Telecommunications), exerted himself to found a postal system, and established the basis of a modern postal system in Japan.

In 1872

He participated in the establishment of Rikuun-Motogaisha (a land transportation company) (Nippon Express Co., Ltd. at present) and publication of Hochi Shinbun (newspaper) (Sports Hochi at present).

In 1877

He was appointed as the chief of Ekitei Kyoku (Postal Bureau). He was also the chief examiner of the first National Industrial Exhibition.

In 1878

He held an additional post of Genroin gikan (councilor of Chamber of Elders).

In 1879

He was appointed as the ekitei (postal) superintendent general of Ministry of Interior in Japan.

In 1881

He resigned on "1881 Political Crisis" and established the Constitutional Progressive Party together with Shigenobu OKUMA.

In 1886

He became the president of Tokyo Senmon Gakko (Waseda University at present) and the president of Kansai Railroad Company.

In 1888

He was asked to become the Vice Minister of Communications in November and hold the office until March in 1891. He inaugurated government-controlled telephone exchange system.

In 1894

He became the president of Railroad Co. Hokuetsu and started to construct Hokuetsu Railway (from Naoetsu Station to Nigata Station).

In 1902

He was granted Baron.

In 1905

He was elected as a member of the House of Peers.

In 1919

He died at Jojo sanso, a villa in Ashina, Nishiura-mura, Miura-gun County, Kanagawa Prefecture (at present Ashina, Yokosuka City).