Toyama Masakazu (外山正一)

Masakazu TOYAMA (October 23, 1848 - March 8, 1900) was an educator, writer, and sociologist who lived in the Meiji period. He called himself Chuzan.


His father was a hatamoto (a direct retainer of the shogun) called Masayoshichubei TOYAMA, who was a trainer of foot soldiers at a kobusho (military training school) of the Edo bakufu (Japanese feudal government headed by a shogun). He was born in Koishiwaka, Edo. His childhood name was Sutehachi. His family wanted to become famous for the military arts, but Masakazu distinguished himself academically. His academic talents became well known when he was still young since he studied English at the Bansho shirabesho Institute when he was 13, and became a teacher at the Kaiseijo Institute when he was 16.

Recommended by Kaishu KATSU, in 1866, he went to England with Masanao NAKAMURA as students supporting the bakufu and learned the latest British cultural systems. He returned to Japan in 1869 due to the collapse of the bakufu. He was away from Tokyo and working at a school in Shizuoka for a while, but because the new government recognized his outstanding language abilities, he was appointed to Benmu-Shoki in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and went to the US. In 1871, he was appointed to Gaimu gon no daisakan (a post in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs) while he was still overseas. He however immediately resigned, studied at アンポール High School in Michigan, and then entered the University of Michigan. He studied philosophy and science in the US, which was in the recovery period from the Civil War, and returned to Japan in 1876.

After returning to Japan, he started to teach sociology at Kaisei School in 1877 and became the first Japanese professor when the school was reorganized into Tokyo University (later to become Tokyo Imperial University). The most up-to-date knowledge that Toyama obtained in Europe and the US from the end of the Edo period through the beginning of the Meiji period was important for the Japanese government at that time. As if knowing what the government wanted to know, he introduced sociological theories established by Spencer to Japan, was called "the Guardian of the Reading Circle of Spencer's Work," and became the pioneer of Japanese sociology.

In 1882, he published "Shintaishisho" (A Collection of Poems in the New Style) in cooperation with his coworkers Ryokichi Watabe and Tetsujiro INOUE. Although their poems were at the study level, they explored a new-age poetic style differing from the traditional waka and haiku styles, and greatly influenced modern literature.

In 1889, in cooperation with Yujiro MOTORA (former professor at the University of Tokyo) and Naibu KANDA (former professor at the Tokyo College of Commerce [of the old system school]), he established Seisoku Yobiko (a prep school) in Shiba. It is still operating as Seisoku High School.

In order to promote romanization of the Japanese language, he formed the "Romajikai" (Society for the Romanization of the Japanese Alphabet) and insisted on termination of the use of Chinese characters and kana writing. Then he participated in the Engeki kairyo undo (theatrical performance improvement movement) implemented by Danjuro ICHIKAWA the ninth and Gakukai YODA. He played an extensive role in educational and cultural activities in the Meiji period by insisting that Japan require educational improvement to be at the same level as powerful Western countries, and that, to realize this, it was necessary to provide good education to the female population and build public libraries. After serving as the President of the Department of Literature at Tokyo Imperial University (currently the Dean of the Department of Literature at the University of Tokyo), he worked as the Chancellor of the same university, a member of Kizokuin (the House of Peers), and then the Minister of Education successively during the third Ito administration. On March 8, 1900, he died of encephalopathy caused by a middle ear infection. He was 53 years old.

He was also an active writer and published many books such as "Engeki Kairyo Shian" (1886), "Nihon Kaiga no Mirai" (1890), and "Nihon Chishiki Doutokushi" (1895). He created lyrics for a song called "Mikoku no Mamori" (composer: Shuji IZAWA).


Although he was a member of the elite who worked at a university and was at an important post in the government, he led a frugal life. His life was described as 'a life with only one maid and an old servant even though his position was quite high' ("Hikawa Seiwa" [Quiet Talks at the Hikawa Mansion] written by Kaishu KATSU) and his grave in the Yanaka Cemetery is also small.

Toyama was a stylish man; he wore the latest fashion items such as a derby hat and a jacket with a vivid and bright color, and was called 'Akamon Tengu.'
Believing that the right haircut would result in brain development, he kept changing where he had his hair cut.

It is believed that Shoichi TOYAMA was the first one to call 'banzai' to Emperor Meiji at the ceremony of issuance of the Constitution of the Empire of Japan.

Toyama introduced his poem 'Battotai' in a poem collection called "Shintaishisho." This poem described the brave battle that 'Battotai,' a force of the government army that attacked the enemy with swords, engaged in during the Seinan Warn. This poem was unique in the sense that the last two lines 'advance and prepare to die with your shining sword until the enemy dies' were repeated. Toyama copied the style of a Civil War song that he listened to while he was studying in the US. Afterwards, an Imperial Japanese Army Band instructor of French nationality, Charles Leroux, composed a tune for this poem and the song became a major hit as the first Japanese military song. Then, the song was arranged into a march called 'Fusoka' or 'Rikugun Bunretsu Koshinkyoku,' was sung by the former pre-war Army, and is still sung by the current SDF.

In 1883, when he was the Dean of the Department of Literature of the University Tokyo, he interviewed a new student.
When Toyama asked the student 'what you want to study for,' the student said 'I wish to become a bridge across the Pacific.'
This new student was Inazo NITOBE.

Planning to improve the quality of English and British Literature education, Toyama strongly encouraged the Greek Irish Yakumo KOIZUMI to become an instructor of British Literature at Tokyo Imperial University. Yakumo KOIZUMI was formerly known as Lafcadio Heam.