UTSUNOMIYA Mokurin: Deaf influential scholar for Shoin

UTSUNOMIYA Mokurin (1824-1897) was another deaf person who had a great influence on Yoshida Shoin, a famous thinker.

Utsunomiya Mokurin (1824-1897), born in Kure-shi, Hiroshima Prefecture, was a priest. He suffered from serious illness in Osaka, and lost hearing at the age of 20.

In spite of being Deaf, he studied thoroughly Japanese literature, Chinese literature, and Buddhism. He traveled around in Japan, explaining the respect for the Emperor.

In 1855, Mokurin, aged over 30, visited Hagi City in Yamaguchi Prefecture. He had read a book written by YOSHIDA Shoin in prison, and had wanted to argue with him about the book.

Shoin yet did not mean to have an idea of "overthrowing the shogunate" those days. He rather took the position of "refraining from its overthrow",  keeping the strict position as a subject to Tokugawa shogunate and his local feudal lord.

Mokurin asked for a meeting with Shoin. He was younger than Mokurin by 6 years, but declined to meet him. However, later both the men discussed through correspondences.

Then, 29-year-old Shoin was knocked down, seeing Mokurin's point and came to recite the "opening of the country, exclusion of foreigners" and "overthrowing the shogunate."

Shoin set up a plan to assassinate the senior shogunate councilor for the purpose of saving the noble-minded patriots arrested by the Ansei Purge in 1858, and was arrested by the shogunate.

He was seen off in Edo by the shogunate next year and beheaded. Mokurin got to know Shoin's unexpected death,  angered and cried hard.

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