Ishii Tadaakira (石井忠亮)
Tadaakira ISII (male, August 4, 1840 - January 1, 1901) was a high ranking government official who lived during the Meiji period. He was the founder of the telephone enterprise run by the Japanese government. He was the first commissioner of the Telegraph Bureau of the former Ministry of Communication. Current Nippon Telegraph and Telephone group originated from the Telegraph Bureau of the former Ministry of Communication. He was one of the big four of the communication business along with Masaru INOUE of the Railway Bureau, Hisoka MAEJIMA of the Postal Bureau, and Yasuyo ISHIMARU of the Communication Bureau.
Tadaakira was an ex-feudal retainer of the Saga clan, and was an instructor in the Saga clan-operated Mietsu Navy school with Kuranosuke NAKAMUTA and others. He belonged to the Pro-Imperial force, and went to battle in Hakodate as the commander of the Saga clan navy's ship, Yoshunmaru. He was given a stipend of 50-goku from the Meiji Emperor for his honorable service during the war.
He left the Navy while serving as commander and transferred to the Ministry of Engineering. He was involved with civil engineering and telegraph projects and, in 1875, visited Europe to observe the status of their telegraph operations. He was assigned to be director of the Telegraph Bureau in 1880. In 1883, he went to Shanghai to inspect the Telephone Exchange Office. He felt that it was an urgent necessity to establish a nationalized telephone company. He approached Sir Takayuki SASAKI of Kobu immediately after his return and proposed the idea to establish one. As a result, a nationalized telephone company was established and Tadaakira became the first person to talk over the phone in Japan.
In 1885, he attended the World Telegraph Conference in Germany as a delegate from the Japanese government. In 1887, he was appointed a member of the Chamber of the Elders by the commissioner of the Telegraph Bureau of the former Ministry of Communication. He became the mayor of Wakayama Prefecture in 1889. He retired in 1891, and spent his remaining years in Wakayama Prefecture. He died in 1901.