Oki Takato (大木喬任)

Takato OKI (April 23, 1832 - June 26, 1899) was a feudal retainer of the Saga clan in the late Edo period and a statesman in the Meiji period. His common name was 幡六 or Minpei. He was a count.

Career

He was born to a feudal retainer of the Saga clan of Hizen Province, Tomotaka OKI, as his first son. He studied at a domain school Kodokan (in Saga domain) and participated in a political association named Gisai-domei with Shinpei ETO, Shigenobu OKUMA and Taneomi SOEJIMA. He led the opinion of a domain people into Sonno Joi (19th century slogan advocating reverence for the Emperor and the expulsion of foreigners).

When a new government was established in 1868, he entered government service with Okuma, Soejima and Eto and held posts such as Choshi (government officer), Sanyo (senior councilor), Gummukan Hanji (military judge) and governor of Tokyo Prefecture. He made efforts to relocate the national capital to Tokyo. In 1871, he established a school educational system as Minbukyo (Minister of Popular Affairs) and Monbukyo (Minister of Education). In 1872, he served concurrently as Kyobukyo (Minister of Religion). In 1873, he became Sangi (councilor) and Shihokyo (Minister of Justice). He was engaged in the punishment of the rebel group of samurai involved in the Shinpuren War in 1876 and the Hagi War in 1879.

He had a conflict with Okuma over taking the initiative in organizing family register. He became a close adviser of Toshimichi OKUBO and established the Family Registration Law as Minbu-taifu (Senior Ministerial Assistant of Popular Affairs). Although he was appointed as Minbukyo later, Minbusho (Ministry of Popular Affairs) was integrated into Okurasho (Ministry of Finance). He was involved with developing Civil Code as the president of the Civil Code Compiling Council. Later, he held important posts, such as chairman of Genroin (the Chamber of Elders) and Sangi (a councilor).

In 1884, when the Peerage Law was enacted, he was elevated to the title of hakushaku (a count). In 1888, he became a privy councilor and was reappointed as Chairman of the Privy Council in 1892. He died in 1899 at the age of 67.

Family

His eldest son was Enkichi OKI (Minister of Justice in Hara and Takahashi cabinets and Minister of Railway in Kato cabinet).

Notes

He owned a villa in Numazu City, Shizuoka Prefecture (present KKR Numazu).

Because of his contribution to the establishment of the education system and codification of laws, he is counted as one of the six great educators in the Meiji period.

The Oki clan is a branch family of the Kamachi clan in Chikugo Province and their ancestor is Masanaga OKI who is a legitimate son of Tomotsuna UTSUNOMIYA, the second son of Kanehisa UTSUNOMIYA of Utsunomiya clan in Chikugo. The Oki clan is a descendant of Munemitsu OKI who served Naoshige NABESHIMA later in life and was a senior vassal of Shigenami KAMACHI, a descendant of Hisanori KAMACHI who was Tomotsuna's elder brother.