Kozukenosuke (Tadamasa) Oguri 
Tozenji Temple & Kurabuchi Village (Australian friends visted Kurabuchi)
Three Ships That Carried the First Japanese Embassy to the United States Around the World
 The Journey of the Japanese Delegation in 1860 - Historical Site Research in Philadelphia in September 2010 

Kozukenosuke (Tadamasa) Oguri (1827-1868)

<The Japanese Mission at Washington Naval Shipyard on April 5, 1860: The second from right of the front row is Kozukenosuke Oguri.>

Kozukenosuke (Tadamasa) Oguri was born in 1827 into the samurai family of the "Hatamoto" rank under the Tokugawa Shogunate. In 1860, at the age of 34, Oguri was handpicked by Senior Minister Ii to travel to the United States of America as a member of a Japanese diplomatic mission to ratify the Japan-US Treaty of Friendship and Commerce. They set sail for America on the US naval ship Powhatan and then traveled around the world before returning to Japan. He subsequently spent the next 8 years assisting the Shogunate government in the course of which, he helped push forward Japan's modernization program. Some of his achievements* are as follows:

Construction of the Yokosuka shipyard
Establishment of Japan’s first French language school (Yokohama)
Adoption of French military system and training under it
Development of the Iron Ore Mines (Shimonita town, Gunma prefecture)
Establishment of the First Japanese Corporation (Hyogo Shosha)
Advocacy of the use of Gas Lamps
Revamp of the financial markets by issuance of Golden Labels etc.
Advocacy of the Prefectural System
Advocacy of the Conservation of Forests
Advocacy of the establishment of a train line between Edo (present-day Tokyo) & Yokohama

Advocated the publishing of a Newspaper
Advocacy of the establishment of a Postal System

(* A Japanese writer, Ryotaro Shiba, praised Oguri for his achievements that greatly contributed to the modernization of Japan. He called Oguri "The Father of Meiji Era of Japan" in his work, "A Nation called Meiji.")

In March 1868, Oguri obtained permission from the Shogunate Government to return to his fief (territory) in Gonda Village, Gunma Prefecture. He stayed temporarily at the Tozenji Temple while constructing his house on Kan-non-yama Mountain. Sixty five days later on April 6 1868, Oguri was beheaded along with 3 other retainers on a river bed in Mizunuma Kawara by the armies of the new Meiji Government. On April 7, Oguri's adopted son Mataichi and three other retainers were beheaded inside the Takasaki Castle (Gunma Prefecture)

Link to English sites:
Who is Kozukenosuke Tadamasa Oguri (Yokosuka city)
Verny and Oguri Memorial Ceremony (Yokosuka city)
Historique de Yokosuka (French/link = brest city)
The 1860 Japanese Embassy to America
(Consulate General of Japan in New York)
Bridge of Hope -The Road Traveled by Japanese-Americans(book)
The three ships that brought the First Official Japanese Ambassadorial Delegation to the United States

Tozenji (Zen) Temple & Kurabuchi Village

Friends from Brisbane, Australia, who stayed in Kurabuchi
オーストラリアからのお客様 倉渕村にホームステイ


<If you see any garbled letters on Windows in English, they are Japanese letters which can be read only on Windows with Japanese fonts.>
Friends from Brisbane, Australia, stayed with some families in Kurabuchi Village in September 2005.

Two teachers, Ms. Eve and Ms. Janina, stayed at Tozenji and enjoyed countryside lives in Japan. There were ten people from Australia in total, five teachers and five students, who stayed in the village this time.

Ms. Eve has been studying Japanese for many years and is now teaching the language at St. Joseph's School in Brisbane. This was her third stay at Tozenji.

Ms. Janina despised communism and immigrated to Australia from Poland about 30 years ago. In the beginning, she really had hard time in leaning English.


(Left to right) Eve, Harumi (housewife at Tozenji), Janina: They were going to stay at Tozenji from Sep. 12th till 20th.

Kurabuchi village and the Australian friends have long friendship. The students of the Kurabuchi Junior High School have visited Australia several times. S in the village this time, the Australian friends visited the primary and junior high schools in the village and took part in the classes. They also visited many other places in the village and all over Gunma prefecture. When they stayed at Tozenji, they learned about Oguri Kozukenosuke, the great samurai at the end of the Tokugawa Shogunate Era, and experienced Zen meditation.

They enjoyed the pictures of the priest's mountaineering in the Himalayas.

They were welcomed by the village mayor (2nd from the right) and the bear statue at the village office.  

The Australian friends chatted with seniors in the village at a weekly tea party in front of Tozenji. They also talked to Bun, grand-ma at Tozenji: They really enjoyed time with the villagers.

We had a farewell party at Hamayu Sanso, a mountain cottage, on the evening of Sep. 19th. It was a wonderful time with Australian songs and dances. The Australian friends danced wearing "happi" coats that were gifts for them from the villagers.

Host families and the Australian friends exchanged farewell messages. It was a great experience for the villagers to have the Australian friends and to know other cultures. That must be the most important thing we have leaned from the friendship.
お別れの朝 本堂で一行の旅の安全を祈って読経し、お焼香をしてもらう。あとに、二人からの御礼のメッセージがそっと残されていました。

On the morning of their departure, the priest recited a sutra praying their safety on the way home. Ms. Eve and Ms. Janina burned incense. After they departed, the priest found a messages of thanks from the teachers in front of a Buddhism statue. "See you again."
さようなら お元気で…、   また会いましょう

Sayonara and see you again!!

They saw the Sumo Tournament at Kokugikan just before their departure
for Australia. The sport was a big surprise to them in many ways.