Maeda Masana (前田正名)

Masana MAEDA (1850- 1921) was a bureaucrat in the Meiji era. He was a Baron. He contributed to the conservation of nature through activities such as establishing the basis of Maeda Ippoen Incorporated Foundation in Akan-cho (present-day Akan-cho, Kushiro City), Hokkaido, and purchasing the forests in the neighborhood of Lake Akan to plan to protect them.

Masana's father was the sixth son of Yoshiyasu MAEDA, a domain doctor of the Satsuma domain. He had an older brother named Masazane (Kenkichi) MAEDA.
He was known as a practitioner of the policy for encouragement of new industry in the Meiji era, and called 'Minister of Agriculture in hoi' (Minister of Agriculture in full dress for a samurai in the lower rank, which means the one in the field figuratively.)
His wife was Ichi, a Toshimichi OKUBO's niece (the second daughter of Mine ISHIHARA, a Toshimichi's younger sister).


He was born in Kagoshima. He entered government service to work in Bureau for Encouragement of Agriculture of Ministry of Interior, and in 1869, he went to Paris to study by accompanying Count Montblanc who had been appointed Consul General in France. He lodged for a while at the Montblanc's residence which was used as Consulate General. In 1876, he came back to Japan and was appointed to Goyo-gakari of Ministry of Interior, and in the next year, he established Mita Institute of Breeding Plants. In 1878, he was appointed as Head of Official Center of the Paris World Exposition, and in 1881, he was appointed as Great Secretary of Ministry of Finance and Ministry of Agriculture and Commerce, and was promoted to Resident. While being in office, he examined the actual condition of the domestic industries, and drew up report for the encouragement of new industry, and presented it as well as the entire thirty volumes of 'Kogyo Iken' (Opinions on Encouragement of New Industry). In June, 1888, he left for a post of the Governor of Yamanashi Prefecture as a successor to Naotane YAMAZAKI.
Because his tenure in office was rather short, no remarkable policies could be seen, but he promoted and encouraged new industry with Nobuchika KURIHARA and others, and carried out the maintenances of roads, the improvements of rivers, the recommendations of Koshu grapes, and so on (his successor was Masutane NAKAJIMA.)

In February, 1889, he concurrently held the posts of Director of Public Service Bureau of Minister of Agriculture and Commerce and Head of Tokyo Agriculture and Forestry School, and in 1890, although he was promoted to Vice-Minister of Agriculture and Commerce, he conflicted with Minister of Agriculture and Commerce Munemitsu MUTSU and resigned his government post. In September of the same year, he was appointed as a member of the House of Peers. After that, he served as Genroin gikan (Councilor of Chamber of Elders or Senate), and established organizations like Goni-kai.

In 1898, in addition to setting up the business to develop rice fields in Miyazaki Prefecture, he established Maeda Paper Industries Joint-stock Company (the predecessor of present-day Kushiro Factory of Nippon Paper Industries Co., Ltd.) in Kushiro, in 1907, he took up his residence beside Lake Akan, and in the same year, he established Kushiro Bank together with Zenkichi TAKETOMI to contribute to the development of the eastern part of Hokkaido. On the same day as he died, the title of Baron was conferred on him.