Ueno Kagenori (上野景範)

Kagenori UENO (January 8, 1845 - April 11, 1888) was a Japanese diplomat.

Personal Profile

Kagenori was from Kagoshima Prefecture. He had mastered English and was in charge of the issue of the Japanese immigrants of 1868 in Hawaii and other matters.

He was successively appointed as Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary to the United States of America, Britain, Austria, and other countries.

Later he was appointed to Councilor of Genroin (the Chamber of Elders)(Japan).

He liked to draw oil painting for pleasure.

In May 1873, a written opinion was submitted to the Cabinet concerning the issue to conclude a Japanese-Korea Treaty of Amity with the Yi Dynasty Korea; this was the beginning of Seikanron (debate on subjugation of Korea) and caused the Coups of 1873

Kagenori was born in January 8, 1845 as the first son in Shioyacho Town in the Satsuma Domain, and commonly called Keisuke. His father was Taisuke UENO, a Chinese translator, and his mother was Yuki UENO.

In 1856, he started to learn Dutch studies in Nagasaki, but later changed to learn English. In 1862, he smuggled into Shanghai City to make a deep study of English. In 1863, he encountered the group of Nagaoki IKEDA, the Mission to Europe, dispatched by the bakufu (Japanese feudal government headed by a shogun) when they were visiting to the Shanghai port, and attempted to go to Europe together with them, but failed. He was repatriated to Nagasaki.

In 1864, Kagenori became Kutoshi (a teacher of the elementary level) in 'Kaiseijo,' a Western studies education school, established by the Satsuma Domain and taught English to Arinori MORI (the first Minister of the Minister of Education, one of the Meiji six greatest educators, and the founder of the Commercial Training Institute [the present Hitotsubashi University]) and others. Later he was appointed to the negotiator with Britain.

In 1865, Kagenori served as the interpreter with Thomas WALTERS, an Irish "Surveyor General," who was involved with the construction of a sugar refining plant in the Amami-Oshima Island.

In 1868, he was appointed to Goyogakari (a general affairs official) in Foreign Affairs Bureau under the patronage of Munenori TERASHIMA in the New Meiji Government. In March 1868, he was appointed to Goyogakari in the Yokohama District Court. He was dispatched to Hong Kong from March 1868 to 1869 to purchase the first mint machine in Japan.

In May 1869, Kagenori was appointed to Tomyodaigakari (an official at the lighthouse, the present Japan Coast Guard Research Center) and additionally to the Customs. He was involved with the construction of Mikomotoshima Lighthouse (Shizuoka Prefecture), Kashinozaki Lighthouse (Wakayama Prefecture), Iojima Lighthouse (Nagasaki Prefecture), Mutsureshima Lighthouse (Yamaguchi Prefecture), Satamisaki Lighthouse (Kagoshima Prefecture), and others together with Richard Henry BRUNTON, a British civil engineer.

In August 1869, Kagenori discussed with Shigenobu OKUMA who was Okura no taifu (a senior assistant minister of the Ministry of Treasury), Hiroshi NAKAI, Hisanari MACHIDA, etc. concerning new currency issuance at the residence of Okuma (Later Okuma decided to consign the new mint's design to Natsuo KANO in metal carving, Tomoo MASUDA and two other people who were all Kano's apprentices, and the calligraphic characters to Tanko ISHII, a calligrapher who worked for the Ministry of Treasury.)
In September 1869, he was appointed to Senior Director of Minbusho (Ministry of Popular Affairs).

Kagenori was dispatched to Hawaii from October 1869 to March 1870. The first Japanese immigrants in the Kingdom of Hawaii, so-called 'Japanese settlers of 1868,' had faced various problems in the field including labor environment, and after this was internationally reported, the government ordered Kagenori to go off to Hawaii as Envoy Extraordinary. The 40 Japanese who were hoping to return and other 3 left for Japan, and the Kingdom of Hawaii firmly promised to dismiss Van REED, the General to Japan in Hawaii, who had recruited the immigrants.

In May 1870, Kagenori was appointed to Gon no shojo (Junior Secretary) of Minbusho. He was dispatched to Britain from June 1870 to September 1871 as Okura taijo (Senior Secretary of the Minister of the Treasury) and Special Commissioner. Hisoka MAEJIMA accompanied him. In a contract concerning the fund raising, the engineer employment, etc. concluded for constructing railways between the Japanese government and Nelson LAY, the former Inspector General in the Qing dynasty (a friend of Harry PARKES, the British Minister Plenipotentiary in Japan), Lay's fraud was exposed, and therefore, Hirobumi ITO, Okura no shofu (Junior Assistant Minister of the Ministry of the Treasury) ordered Kagenori to go off to Britain to cancel the contract. Kagenori successfully concluded a foreign bond subscription contract for railway construction with the British Oriental Bank. He also served as the chief of taxation.

Around this time, he carried out railway construction with Masaru INOUE, a railway official in Minbusho, Edmund MOREL, a British chief engineer, and others (In June 12, 1872, the first Japanese railway tentatively opened for 18 miles between 'Shiodome Station [former Japan National Railways] and Sakuragicho Station).

Kagenori served as the first director of the tax office in the Yokohama Customs from October 1871 to March 1872. Around this time, he married Ikuko UENO, the first daughter of Seizaburo YASOOKA, a former retainer of shogun, and later had four children. One of his grandchildren was Kagetomi UENO (professor of Tokyo University).

In March 1872, Kagenori started to serve as a third-class official in the Ministry of the Treasury. In July 1872, he submitted a proposal to the Central State Council to found a paper industry (later Shoshi Kaisha, current Oji Paper Co., Ltd.) in the joint names including Eichi SHIBUSAWA, Eiichi KOREZUKI, and Kaoru INOUE. In October 1872, he started to serve as a third-class official in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. He served in the United States (as Third-Rank Envoy, Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs, and Deputy Chief of Foreign Ministry) from October 1872 to 1873.

In 1873, Harry PARKES, the British Minister Plenipotentiary in Japan, visited Kagenori concerning the issue of territorial right in the Ogasawara Islands. In March 25, 1873, Kagenori submitted a report to escalate the establishment of facilities for imported drug testing (later Tokyo Reagent Lab) to the government. In June 12, 1873, he attended a cabinet meeting for the issue concerning the Japanese people in Korea, which had been submitted to the cabinet as a proposal.
He presented a draft created by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs which stated 'Whether or not to leave Korea, or to conclude a Japanese-Korea Treaty of Amity to protect the settlers even by exerting a military power.'
He served in Britain from July 1873 to April 1879 as the Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary.

In 1879, Kagenori's five-month-old third son died due to illness on the way home and was buried in Aden (a city in the present Republic of Yemen). In September 1879, Kagenori was appointed to Goyogakari for investigating treaty revision.

In 1880, he was appointed to Gaimu-taifu (post of Foreign Ministry). He poured his energy into the treaty revision under Kaoru INOUE, the Minister of Foreign Affairs.

In July 1881, Kagenori was additionally appointed to Gijo (official post). Concerning the issue to visit the Utsuryo Island, he received a protest from Yi Dynasty Korea as the Deputy Chief of Foreign Ministry in the same year.

Kagenori served in Austria from July 1882 to September 1884 as Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary.

He served as the Councilor of the Genroin (Chamber of Elders) (Japan) from February to October 1885.

Kagenori died in April 11, 1888 (at the age of forty-five).

The issue of the Japanese immigrants of 1868 in Hawaii

The issue of the Japanese diplomatic office in Korea