Overseas mission visits schools for blind and deaf in Edo period

The overseas mission visited the US Navy.
(photo: http://www.geocities.jp/satopyon0413/kaisetsu16.htm)

The Shogunate dispatched the overseas mission seven times around the end of Edo period to inspect a Western situation in addition to diplomatic negotiations. The first mission was to the U.S.A. in 1860, and the second to Europe in 1862-1863.

There are many records of personal experiences and reports by the delegates. The information about an educational system or a school appears abundantly in those diaries and records.

First, the mission to the U.S. A. visited the school for the blind, school for the deaf, or orphanage, and the members were strongly impressed.

For example, when they visited the New York School for the Blind in 1860, they observed the students touching the Braille with the fingers and reading. Reportedly 11 of 16 teachers were blind.

The mission to Europe also visited the orphanage, the school for the blind, and the school for the deaf in 1862. In the "Western Situation," published in 1866, the author Fukuzawa Yukichi who was on the mission mentioned the education method taken at the "institute for blind", "institute for the deaf", "institute for the mental retarded children", etc. in Paris. He founded Keio Gijuku University in 1865, currently located in Tokyo.

Mori Arinori was a foreign student in Britain those days, and became the first Minister of Education later. He mentioned his visit to the institute for the blind and the deaf in the country which deeply impressed him with the result.

Japanese Journalists also published a book on what they observed abroad between the late Edo period and early Meiji period. For example, MURATA Fumio wrote about an English school for the Deaf in his book titled "A record of personal experiences in England" in 1860.

In the westernization of Japan, the education of children with disabilities in Europe and the U.S. A. greatly influenced on the Japanese concerned.

1 comment:


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