shoin yoshida

Shoin Yoshida, Who Led Japan to A Modern Nation

Do you know a Japanese man ”Shoin Yoshida”?

This is the story of Japan when it was isolated.

While Asian countries represented by Qing (China) became colonies of Western countries one after another, Japan continued to be isolated.

Meanwhile, a turning point has come to Japan.

In 1853, Perry led Black ships to Uraga, Japan.

He thought it would be a good idea to show off the overwhelming technological capabilities of Europe and the United States in order to stop Japan from being isolated.

First, Perry fired a cannon and threatened Japan.

As a result, Edo (Tokyo) became a big fuss.

This is because it was common to fight with a sword in Japan.

A sword alone cannot beat a cannon.

Many Japanese thought that Japan might be over.

However, there was a Japanese man who seriously believed that he would overtake Western countries.

His name is “Shoin Yoshida”, a 25-years-old young man at that time.

He was planning a strategy to defeat the West.

However, when he actually witnessed the cannon of Kurofune, he thought he could not win as it was.

The only way to protect Japan was to imitate the enemy’s way.

At that time, Japan was isolated, so if you go abroad without permission, you will be executed.

But Shoin didn’t care.

The following year, Black ships came to Japan again.

He saw this as a great opportunity.

Even if he was executed, he couldn’t stand being invaded.

He was a strategic expert, but at this time he didn’t make any plans and rowed a small boat to board the Black Ship.

His reckless visit surprised the American fleet.

His insane and enthusiastic activities have revolutionized Japanese society.

After being arrested for stowaway, he was sent from Edo to his hometown of Hagi (now in Yamaguchi Prefecture).

In prison, he made the prisoners around him a disciple.

After being released, He opened the small school in Matsushita Village, which lasted about two and a half years.

There was no solid textbook or school building in this cram school where the children of lower samurai gathered.

However, this cram school later produced two prime ministers, seven state ministers, and two university founders.

This is a very dramatic result.

Why was he able to do this?

He was a thinker.

If you have the ”will to live like this”, your life itself becomes an academic discipline.

And the people around you learn it.

It is not possible to educate people just by transmitting knowledge.

The strong will of the teacher influences and grows people.

He was executed at the age of 30, when planning to assassinate an official of the Edo Shogunate.

His ambitions remained alive after he died.

The biggest reform in Japanese history, the Meiji Restoration, took place centered on the disciples of this school, creating the most advanced modern nation in Asia.

・References Yoshida Shōin: The Revolutionary and Teacher Who Helped Bring Down the Shogunate

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