|Yozo Yamao (right in the front row)|
The story of five young Japanese noblemen who endured a perilous 135-day sea journey aboard a Jardine Matheson & Co ship to come to Victorian-era London and study at UCL (University College London) is being marked today at an event to commemorate the 150th anniversary of their departure.
On their return to Japan, the five men went on to form the core of a new Japanese government, leading the nation’s transformation from an isolated state to one of the world’s foremost technological powers. Included amongst them was Hirobumi Ito, the father of the Japanese Constitution and the first Prime Minister of post Meiji-Japan.
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Yozo Yamao, one of the five Choshu samurai, who became Secretary of State in Japan’s Ministry of Industry and established Japan’s first Institute of Technology after coming home from England, was also the first person to recommend to the Government the establishment of a school for the blind and deaf. His son and grandson have been involved in the Deaf community, too.