It was the tempestuous period immediately after the Meiji Restoration in 1868.
The Meiji Restoration is, narrowly defined, the coup d'etat of January 1868 in which antishogunate forces, led by the southern domains of Satsuma (now Kagoshima Prefecture) and Choshu (now Yamaguchi Prefecture), seized the Imperial Palace in Kyoto and announced the reversion of political power from the Togukawa shogunate to the emperor.
More broadly, the series of political, social ad economic changes in the latter part of the 19 century that resulted in dismemberment of the Bakuhan (samurai-controlled) system of shogunate and domains and Japan's rapid development into a unified modern state. The name of Meiji was chosen to indicate that the young emperor Mutsuhito would institute "enlightened rule." Edo, renamed Tokyo, became the national capital.
In order to catch up with Western advanced nations, the Meiji government considered that it was necessary to found a school first and to give education to people equally. So the Education Order of 1872 established the foundation for modern public education system. This law, referring the idea of the French educational system, intended an equally educational opportunity and establishment of the compulsory education system.
Also referring to existence of the education for the blind and mute in Europe and the U.S., the Education Order specified an asylum for the disabled for the first time as a kind of elementary school. However, its enforcement never took place.
After the Education Order was issued, there were a few persons who tried to start the education to persons with
disabilities at the time when the education for persons with disability was
hardly tried out.
For example, as the Fukuoka Prefecture History
of Education describes, "In 1875 Kameyama Juhei, a primary school
teacher, made efforts to educate the mute student to improve his
academic ability equivalent to the hearing child."
Kumagaya Saneya, a blind man from Nagano Prefecture, obtained permission from the Tokyo prefecture on March 5, 1876 to run school business for the blind in Kojimachi, Tokyo. He collected 20 blind students and taught reading, calligraphy, and the arithmetic. However, he gave up the business a little more than one year according to the record of
Ministry of Education.
both examples remained only as an personal temporary efforts, and their
educational efforts to persons with disabilities disappeared without
Osaka intended to establish the school for the blind and mute as
part of its educational administration. In 1877, it explained that there
were many deaf-mute persons who were eager to learn although it was
still difficult to establish a school for the blind, and expressed that
"the prefecture was willing to gather those deaf-mute and blind persons
and open a school. (The 5th annual report of the Ministry of Education,
and Osaka annual report) .
There was everything but Osaka partly, although the prefectures
which expressed the intention to establish a school for the blind and
mute were few. However, it was Osaka that realized the measure to start
the education for the blind and mute. Almost in párallel, a new school for the Blind and Mute was founded in Kyoto in 1878.
The Osaka Prefecture launched its
school for the blind and mute in November, 1879, as a project plan immediately after the
"educational system" was abolished and the "Education Law" was
As the school name "The Model School for the Blind and Dumb" implies, it would be the model school not only in Osaka, but also the
whole country. Osaka developed the regulations on the education of the
Blind and Dumb, and opened the school with two teachers and 15 students.
However, this school was closed by the prefectural assembly's
decision in several months.
The law was revised in 1879, because the national burden for the
educational system was heavy, or because it didn't meet the actual
condition, etc. The Education Ministry put two statements in the
revision draft at this time: "the institute for the Blind is a place to
educate people with visually impaired, and the institute for the Mute is
a place to guide Mute people," and "the asylum is to instruct the
children with a bad behavior." However, these statements were deleted
Revised again in 1880, the law never defined the education for the Blind and Mute. Even Elementary School Order issued in 1886 never regarded it as further again.