Ebara Soroku (江原素六)

Soroku Ebara (born March 10, 1842; died May 19, 1922) was a former retainer of the shogun who subsequently became a Japanese statesman and educator, as well as a Christian.

He was born in Tsunohazu, Edo (present day Shinjuku Ward of Tokyo) as the legitimate child of a gokenin (an immediate vassal of the bakufu: Japanese feudal government headed by a shogun). He was raised in an impoverished family who made toothpicks to supplement their income, and though he experienced hardship, he was able to study swordsmanship and Western studies, and was appointed as an instructor at Kobusho. As the bakufu was short of manpower at the Battle of Toba and Fushimi, he was appointed as a commander, and even after the fall of Edo Castle, he fought the army of the new government at Ichikawa, Funabashi and the like, eventually being injured and withdrawing from the battlefront. After the Meiji Restoration, he was pardoned thanks to the good offices of Kaishu KATSU, and relocated to Numazu, and in order to educate the children of former retainers of the bakufu, he made exhaustive efforts to establish the heigakko (Numazu officer academy), Sunto school for girls (present day West Numazu High School, Shizuoka Prefecture), as well as the Azabu Gakuen in Tokyo.

In Numazu, under a work program established for former retainers of the bakufu, he established a company for exporting tea, conducted a movement of disposing the government forest on Mt. Ashitaka, and so on. He served as the head of Sunto County, and was elected to the Diet in the first general election of members of the House of Representatives, where he was active in the Rikken seiyukai (a political party organized by Hirobumi ITO). Even though he was elected to the House of Peers in 1912, he remained active as a statesman until he died. In addition, after he became a Christian in 1877, he established the Christian Church of Numazu, and was active in church related activities, serving as the fifth head of the Tokyo YMCA, and so on. Several days after he embarked on a school trip in his capacity as a principal of the junior high school he established in Azabu, taking his students to Hakone, he died of cerebral apoplexy at the age of 80.