Hanabusa Yoshimoto (花房義質)

Yoshimoto HANABUSA (February 10, 1842 - July 9, 1917) was a diplomat in the Meiji and Taisho periods. He was the first son of Masatsura HANABUSA, who was a retainer of the Okayama clan, a businessman and a politician (the first mayor of Okayama City). His peerage was viscount. He successively assumed the governmental and official posts such as Privy Councilor, President of the Japanese Red Cross Society. Masatsura's second son was Shigenao MATSUDA, who was adopted by Shigenori MATSUDA, a grand master of the Koshu-ryu Gungaku (Military Strategy of Koshu) and later became Shoshoshi (marine engineering officer) of the Navy, and his third son named Naosaburo HANABUSA was a scholar of statistics with a doctorate and the first Chief of the Statistics Bureau and was in charge of the first census.

Biography and Personal Profile

Hanabusa, who studied at Tekijuku, a private school set up by Koan OGATA, went to the European countries and the United States for studying in 1867 and returned to Japan next year. He served the Foreign Ministry as Gaikokukan Goyogakari (official aide for the Foreign Ministry) since 1870. In the same year he visited Qing China to prepare for the agreement of the Japan-Qing Treaty of Friendship.

In 1872, he was a secretary to assist the Foreign Minister, Taneomi FUKUSHIMA, for the issue of the mistreatment of Qing indentured laborers on board the ship with Peruvian nationality (the Maria Luz Incident) and delegated to St. Petersburg, Russia as an acting minister for the arbitration trial. After the trial he assisted Takeaki ENOMOTO, the Minister Plenipotentiary, who was sent to Russia as a special envoy for the negotiation to fix the national boundaries between Japan and Russia.

Following that Hanabusa was appointed as charge d'affaires to the Li Dynasty Korea in 1877, the Korean government violated the Japan Korea Treaty of Amity agreed in May 1876 and set up a custom house at Dumojin in the Busan Metropolitan City and started to collect tariff from the domestic importers in Korea from August 10, 1878. As retaliatory measures, Hanabusa, charge d'affaires then, was sent to Busan with a battleship and demanded to remove the custom house at Dumojin. Finally the Korean government gave in and the situation was settled, resulting in the official removal of the custom house at Dumojin on December 4, 1878. In April 1880, the Japanese government decided that the Japanese minister be permanently stationed in Hanseong and appointed Hanabusa as the first minister. But the legation had not been opened in Hanseong yet at this time. He negotiated with Kim Hon-jip (in 1842) regarding the establishment of the legation and the opening of the port in the Incheon Metropolitan City, and subsequently he succeeded to make the Korean government to admit the official establishment of the Japanese legation in Hanseong and the opening of the Incheon Port. Along with this the sovereign's messages were exchanged between Japan and Korea and Hanabusa was promoted from charge d'affaires to minister.

Later he was stationed in Korea and proposed to establish Byeolgigun (a modernized special military force) to modernize the Korean army, but as a result the Jingo Incident occurred, in which he barely escaped alive from the legation assaulted by rioters and returned to Japan. As soon as he returned to Japan, he went back to Korea with the Japanese army led by Masatake TERAUCHI and had the Jemulpo Agreement concluded, in which the Korean government agreed to compensate for the damages Japan suffered in the incident as well as the full time stationing of the Japanese army in Seoul Special City.

For three years from 1883 to 1886 he stationed in St. Petersburg as an envoy extraordinary to Russia.

After that he successively assumed the posts such as undersecretary of the Ministry of the Agriculture and Commerce, Director of the Imperial Accounting Bureau, the Imperial Household Ministry, privy councilor and President of the Japanese Red Cross Society. In 1896, he was ennobled as Baron under the kazoku (Japanese peerage) system.

The name of Hanabusa-yama Mountain, one of the Jonan Gozan (five great mountains) in Meguro, comes from Hanabusa's second residence which he had built there when he became Viscount (now in the vicinity of 3-chome, Kami-osaki, Shinagawa Ward).