Viscount Yamao Yozo and his involvement in education of the deaf (2)

Yamao Yozo was hired to work on the engineering development by the Meiji Government. As he would be called the "father of mechanical/civil engineering" later, Yozo not only has established an institution of higher education (currently Tokyo University Engineering Faculty) to train experts in the field of engineering in the Ministry of Public Works in August, 1871, but also submitted the petition to found a school for the blind and mute to the Cabinet in September in the same year.

In the petition, Yozo stated that even in a country in Western Europe the spread of the relief measure for the poor and persons with disabilities including work and education was observed. Blaming the situation of the neglect in Japan on the other hand, Yozo also discussed that Japan should learn the West European system, educate the blind and mute and build a school to change the "unnecessary," that is, the persons with disabilities to "a useful member" to contribute to the national economic development.

Yozo's experience in Glasgow helped him write and submit the petition to found a school for the blind and mute. He explained; "There were mute workers when I observed the Nepier Shipyard in Glasgow. They actually worked very hard. They skillfully communicated in sign language and finger spelling, which I was able to understand. Because of the education, they were more capable than the hearing counterpart at the workplace."

Yozo's petition was ignored due to the newly born government in chaos. However, it had an impact on the move to establish the first school for the mute in Kyoto in 1878. Yozo himself later would be involved in founding the school for the blind and mute in Tokyo in 1880.

English information on Yamao Yozo:

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