Viscount Yamao Yozo and his involvement in education of the deaf (1)

Yamao Yozo

"Choshu Five" Yamao Yozo 
(right front)
In the history of education of persons with disabilities in early stages of Meiji  (1868-1912), the petition of foundation of the school for the blind and mute to the Cabinet in 1871, and the establishment of the Kyoto prefecture institute for the Blind and Mute (1878) are important achievements.

YAMAO Yozo is well known as he submitted the petition to found a school for the blind and mute in Japan. He also played an important role in the establishment of the school for the Blind and Mute in Tokyo in 1880.

Yozo was born to a rich farmer as the third son in Choshu Domain (present Yamaguchi Prefecture) in 1837. The Yamao family was originally from the samurai class.

Reverence for the Emperor and expulsion of the barbarians were up hung as a slogan in Choshu Domain. However, Yozo and other four samurai, including ITO Hirofumi and INOUE Kaoru, decided to go to Britain in response to the order of the domain lord, believing that getting to know an enemy better is important in winning the enemy.

The group of the Choshu samurai, with support of the British consul in Japan, the U.K. companies established in Yokohama, etc., went to Britain in 1863. They arrived in London safely and studied at the University College London.  

As soon as Hirofumi and Kaoru learned that Choshu Domain was under the attack by the Allied Forces of the U.K., U.S., Dutch and France in the next year (1864), they returned home to persuade the domain lord about the Western European militaristic superiority.

Hirofumi would be selected as a prime minister four times, and Kaoru would be appointed to be the first Foreign Minister after the Meiji Restoration in1868. Both Hirofumi and Kaoru were a former student of YOSHIDA Shoin, a philosopher who had a Deaf brother.

However, Yozo continued to stay studying the British industry system for five years. After graduating from the university, he worked in the Napier's shipyard in Glasgow for two years, and at the time attended the Anderson's College (now the University of Strathclyde) night class, and returned home in 1868.

A Japanese monument was built by the University of London in 1993 to praise the "Chosyu Five." In May, 2003, the celebration monument of the five men' distinguished services was built in front of the Yamao Yozo's parental home in Yamaguchi-shi by the persons concerned who heard the monument in London from others.

English information on YAMAO Yozo:

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