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Yoshida Kiyonari

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  • Other Names: 永井五百介 (Nagai Iosuke)
  • Japanese: 吉田清成 (Yoshida Kiyonari)

Yoshida Kiyonari was one of the first Japanese ambassadors to the United States, serving in that position during the administration of President Ulysses S. Grant.

Yoshida's first journey overseas was in 1865, when he was 21 years old. He was a member of a group of fourteen students from Satsuma han who were led by Niiro Hisanaga in that year on a tour of Britain and Europe. While on this journey, Yoshida went by the name Nagai Iosuke. He studied naval surveying, and in 1867/7 traveled to the United States, where he studied political economy at Rutgers University.

He returned to Japan in the winter of 1870, and entered the service of the Meiji government, taking on the tasks of addressing the government's financial difficulties, as well as treaty revision. He later worked as Resident Minister in the United States, and as Vice Minister of Agriculture & Commerce.

When President Grant visited Japan in 1879, Yoshida was called upon - given his familiarity with American customs, and with Mr. and Mrs. Grant personally - to play a role in coordinating the Grants' reception, and surrounding events.

References

  • Plaque at the monument to the Satsuma students, at Kagoshima Chûô train station, Kagoshima City.[1]
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