Takasaki Masakaze (高崎正風)

Masakaze TAKASAKI (September 8, 1836 - February 28, 1912) was a patriot, a poet and a songwriter. He was the oldest son of Atsuyasu Goroemon TAKASAKI, a feudal retainer of Satsuma Domain. His mother was Tomeko (daughter of Jozen NIIRO). His common names were Sataro, Ise, Toyomaro and Sakyo. Go (pen name) was Hogido.

He was from Kawakami, Satsuma Province (now Kagoshima City, Kagoshima Prefecture). In 1849, his father Goroemon did Seppuku (suicide by disembowelment) for the Oyura feud and the next year, 1850, Masakaze was also implicated in it and deported to Amami-Oshima Island. After he was pardoned in 1852, he had been active in Kyoto in the end of Edo period and he received a will from Hisamitsu SHIMIZU of the party of Kobu-Gattai (the union of the court and the shogunate) to contact secretly with Teijiro AKIZUKI, Aizu Domain Koyokata (the highest consultative body of Aizu Domain), and then he sought to drive away Choshu Domain from Kyoto. On August 18, 1863, he succeeded it (Coup of August 18), which made him a leading figure of Satsuma-Aizu Alliance. Although he was appointed to Kyoto rusuiyaku (a person representing the master during his absence) with that achievement, he was in opposition to Takamori SAIGO and the others against overthrowing the Shogunate by military power so that he lamented his misfortune after Meiji Restoration.

From 1869 to 1871, he managed the administration in Tarumizu, Satsuma Domain (now Tarumizu City, Kagoshima Prefecture) to take measures to 'Heshigo' (abortion). In 1871, he served in a new government. He was appointed as a member of Iwakura Mission to inspect the Western countries for about two years. He served as Jiju Bancho (a junior officer of Chamberlain) in 1875, Outagakari (a former Outadokoro that is Imperial Poetry Bureau) and so on from the next year and he was appointed to the first director of Outadokoro in 1888. In 1890, he became the first president of Kokugakuin University by an appeal of Akiyoshi YAMADA, the director of Koten Kokyusho (a research institute for Shinto sect) (through 1893). In 1895, he doubled as a Privy Councilor. He died in February 28, 1912. There is his grave in Aoyama cemetery.

In May, 1887, his achievement of Meiji Restoration was recognized, so that he was given Baron. He was given the Order in 1898, the Order of the Rising Sun in 1905 and a Senior Second Rank, Grand Cordon of the Order of the Rising Sun with Paulownia Flower after his death.

He was the central figure in the old style Waka (Japanese poetry) that is also called Okadokoro Group. He also wrote the words for 'Kigensetsu' (the National Foundation Day) (music: Shuji IZAWA), 'Kangaku no uta' (a song for the encouragement scholarship) (music: Yoshiisa OKU), 'Mizu tsuku shikabane' (a corpse soaked in the water) (music: Mitsuyoshi YOSHIMOTO) and so on.