|Admiral Katsu and Clara Whitney|
|For more than 400 years, this small Shinto shrine located right behind U.S.Embassy has withstood huge disasters such as the Great Fire of Meireki (明暦の大火）in 1657, Great Kanto Earthquake(関東大震災） in 1923 and Aerial Bombardment by U.S. Armed Forces(東京大空襲) during the Pacific War. A huge maidenhair(ginkgo公孫樹) tree over 400 years old standing with dignity in the precincts shows the disaster-free history of this shrine, Akasaka Hikawa Jinja.
Admiral Kaishu Katsu(勝海舟1823~1899) lived near this shrine at Akasaka Tamachi(赤坂田町) and later at Akasaka Hikawa-cho(赤坂氷川町)for more than 40 years. In 1867 Katsu who was in charge of the Tokugawa Shogunate Navy dispatched his eldest son Koroku（小鹿）aged at 15 to America to let him enter Annapolis. Two attendants named Tetsunosuke Tomita(富田鐵之助）and Saburo Takagi（高木三郎） guided Koroku to U.S. and supervised Koroku's life in New Jersey where Rutgers University located. In New Jersey these two attendant helped Koroku to acquire the scholastic ability to pass the entrance examination of Annapolis. For Tomita who looked up Katsu as the teacher throughout his life, to be chosen as the attendant of Koroku was undeserved honor. Fortunately, three years later in 1870（明治3年）, Koroku passed the entrance examination of Annapolis and was able to enter the Academy.
Back around 1850 Katsu started to teach Dutch learning and art of warfare at his small private school in Akasaka named Hyoukai-juku（氷解塾）where Tomita, Takagi and Ryoma Sakamoto（坂本龍馬） were his disciples. In the incipient period of his school, Katsu deepened interaction between Shozan Sakuma(佐久間象山 ) who became Katsu's brother in law and was assassinated in Kyoto in 1864. Recently, the bronze statute of Katsu with his principal disciple Sakamoto was erected on the street of 200 meter east of Hikawa Jinja.
Accomplishing his mission to let Koroku Katsu enter Annapolis, in November 1871 Tomita entered the commercial school operated by William Whitney at Newark, New Jersey. There he learned economics beside the Bible introduced by Whitney's wife Anna. William Whitney who graduated from Yale University and married Anna Mockridge in New York welcomed Tomita as a foreign student without racial prejudice against orientals which was common in that time.
Then in the fall of 1872(明治5年 ),Tomita aged at 36 visited the Iwakura Mission(岩倉使節団 ) lead by the plenipotentiary delegate Tomomi Iwakura(岩倉具視 ) during their stay in Washington D.C. By the recommendation of Deputy Japanese Minister to the United Stats Arinori Mori( 森有礼), Tomita was able to meet Iwakura and other high ranking statesmen as one of excellent Japanese student in America. Recognized highly by Toshimichi Ohkubo (大久保利通 ) and Hirobumi Ito (伊藤博文 ) Tomita was appointed as Deputy Consul at New York. Although Tomita was 12 years younger than Mori, they recognized each other's high ability since they met in Washington D.C. first time on this occasion, they became lifelong friend until unexpected death of Mori as the first Minister of Education in 1889. Throughout his life, Mori carried the faith that national independence depends heavily on education. Observing amazing development of the U.S.A. after the Civil War minutely as the Deputy Japanese Minister to the United States, Mori realized keenly the need of the commercial education in Japan.
In July 1873（明治6年） Mori came home on leave and started to appeal the necessity of commerce school to the Japanese government officials, mainly to Ichioh Ohkubo(大久保一翁) who was the Govenor of Tokyo Prefecture. At that time, as the first Japanese railroad was laid between Tokyo and Yokohama one year ago, so many problems piled up in the Japanese society which just started as a modern nation that Mori's appeal to open commerce school was not recognized as an important issue. Against Mori's intention、the problem was not solved for more than two years. There had not been the double-entry bookkeeping in Japan where merchants had been relying only on Daihukuchou（大福帳）, and it was Mitsubishi(三菱 ) first in Japan to have adopted double-entry bookkeeping (複式簿記 )in 1877(明治10年).
Finally, on September 13, 1875(明治8年) an agreement to establish the first commerce school in Japan was fixed among Eiichi Shibusawa( 渋沢栄一 ), Kihachiro Ohkura(大倉喜八郎 ) and Mori(diplomat on leave and the school owner). Ohkura was famous as an entrepreneur and Shibusawa who left the Ministry of Finance two years ago starting many enterprises became the Chairman of Tokyo Chamber of Commerce and Industry and later called 'J.P. Morgan in the Orient'.
At the same time, on the same day these three men entered a 5 year employment agreement with William Whitney who visited Japan by relationship with Tomita and Mori. In that agreement Whitney was supposed to receive annual salary 2500 yen plus expense 500 yen. That was big money because the first monthly salary of an elementary school teacher at that time was 5 yen and that of policeman was 6 yen.
More than one month before this agreement, on August 3, 1875 William Whitney, his wife Anna, his son Willis, his eldest daughter Clara and second daughter Adelaid went ashore in Yokohama and stayed at Seiyouken(精養軒 ) Hotel in Tsukiji(築地 )located next to Mori's residence.Their heart were filled with happy expectation.
On August 19, 1875 Whitney and his family left hotel and moved in the residence of Mori, and Mori with Whitney had the opportunity to talk long time about design of commerce education at the first commerce school in Japan named Shoho Koshujo(商法講習所 ).
From this time on something went wrong. Mori seemed disappointed in Whitney and seemed to hesitate about employment contract with Whitney. Whitneys were disappointed in Mori and felt uneasy about their future. Clara at the age of 14 came to have intense hostility for Mori at one time. However, watching Whitneys at a loss, Yukichi Hukuzawa(福沢諭吉 )and Keisuke Ohtori(大鳥圭介 ) persuaded Mori to hire Whitney and Mori at last decided to adopt William Whitney as the principal of the first commerce school in Japan.
In 1874(明治７年) Fukuzawa published the book titled “Chou-ai no Hou”(『帳合之法 』 ). This book by Fukuzawa just translated “ Bryant and Straton's Common School Book-Keeping” published by New York in 1871 by which Tomita learned as the text book at the Whitney's commerce school in New Jersy. Fukuzawa translated debt and credit on account book into Karikata (「借方」 ) and Kashikata(「貸方」 ) which were brand-new words in the history of Japan invented by Fukuzawa.
Now, in this uneasy situation for Whitney and his family, Admiral Kaishu Katsu(勝海舟 )offered contribution of 1000 yen to the new commerce school provided that half of the money go to Whitney. We can imagine vivid activity of Tomita who was the Consul at New York and back in Tokyo on leave at this time. Immediately Whitney visited Katsu “ who was God of the help” in the residence in Akasaka near the Hikawa shrine and did thanks.
On September 24, 1875 the first class was performed by Whitney at the second floor of miso shop in Ginza because the construction of the school building was late at such a start. With much difficulty, specifically financial difficulty, and many twists and turns, Shoho Koshujo(商法講習所 ) finally became Hitotsubashi University. Now we can see the small monument erected by the Hitotsubashi University on the roadside of main street of Ginza.
By the way, more than twenty years before these incidents around the first commerce school in Japan, Katsu visited Nagasaki in 1855(安政2年 ) and stayed there for three and a half years. At Nagasaki Katsu aged at 32 joined the Nagasaki Kaigun Denshujo(Nagasaki Naval Training Center 長崎海軍伝習所 ) as a student at first and as the chief cadet from next year with about 40 to 120 students receiving instruction of navigation including mathematics, gunnery and surveying etc. from Dutch Naval Officers under Gerhard Christiaan Coenraad Pels Rijken and later Willem Johan Cornelis rudder Hjissen van Kattendike who was later appointed as the Netherlands Foreign Minister and the Minister of Navy.
In his life at Nagasaki for three and a half years Katsu met a beautiful woman named Kuma Kaji(梶玖磨 ) who became Katsu's mistress. In February 1864(元治元年 ) Katsu visited Nagasaki on official business and stayed there more than one month. In December 1864 Kuma gave birth to a boy named Umetaro(梶梅太郎 ) and died soon in a disease at the age of 26 in 1867. From that time on Umetaro had been brought up by his grandmother(Kuma's mother), his aunt(younger sister of Kuma) and Kozone's wife and daughter. Kozone(小曽根乾堂 ) was a big-timer in Nagasaki who was superior not only in business but also in art, particularly established a name as a seal engraving artist. In the middle of July, 1873(明治6年 ) nine years old Umetaro visited his father Katsu at Akasaka with all these people who brought up him by that time and was adopted by Katsu. Before this big event for Katsu family, on April 2 to 4, 1873 Katsu stayed at Nagasaki on his way back from Kagosima where he met officially Hisamitu Shimazu(島津久光 ) who were disaffected toward the Meiji Government. During this stay in Nagasaki Katsu, for the first time in his life, met Umetaro through Kozone whom he had asked for protection of Umetaro and his mother. Thus Umetaro started his new life with Katsu and his wife Tamiko and their children at Katsu's residence in Akasaka which wore no great air of wealth and comfort but had many rooms enough to prevent assassination.
Now, returning to main subject, the first commerce school in Japan, in January 1876(明治9年 ),the Ministry of Foreign Affairs dispatched Mori as Beijing Residence Minister Extraordinary Plenipotentiary , and in May 1876 the school owner of Shoho Koshujo changed from Mori to Jiro Yano(矢野二郎 )who was fully determined to accomplish business of Mori leaving the Ministry of Foreign Affairs where he was Deputy Minister to the United States. Then on June 1, 1878(明治11年 ) Whitney was discharged by discord with Yano. Whitney and his family experienced second hard time in Japan.
Yet there was another “God of the help”. Sen Tsuda(津田仙) who was baptized with his wife by American Methodist Clergyman Julious Soper in January 1875 established a bookkeeping night school（簿記夜学校） in Ginza in the fall of 1878 as a branch school of his agricultural school in Azabu named Gakunosha Agricultural School (学農社農学校 ). William Whitney was fortunately hired there as a teacher and he and his family moved from Mori's residence in Tsukiji to Admiral Katsu's residence in Akasaka on the land of 2 acres near the Hikawa Jinja shrine.
On September 1, 1875(明治8年 ),Tsuda established Gakunosha Company at Azabu to distribute the western seed such as corn, to publish the agricultural magazine and to manage the agricultural school. For the first time in Japan Tsuda adopted a mail order system to sell the seed of corn from America.
Tsuda's daughter Umeko(津田梅子 )aged at 8 went to America as one of the female student dispatched by the new Meiji Government to study in the U.S.A. accompanying the Iwakura Mission in 1871. After returning to Japan in 1882 Umeko became one of Clara Whitney's friend. However, not satisfying in her life in Japan, in July 1889 Umeko went to America again to study at the Bryn Mawer College majoring in biology. Umeko returned to Japan in 1892 and later in 1900 she established Women's Institute for English Studies(present Tsuda University 津田塾大学).
By help of Tsuda Whitney Family was able to live in Tokyo for three and a half years. However they returned to Pennsylvania in January 1879(明治12年), to let Willis enter the medical college. On his graduation from the Pennsylvania University medical department, Willis, and especially his mother Anna desired strongly their second voyage to Japan in order to preach their chosen religion, called missionary.
On April 1882, Whitney family left Philadelphia for Japan via London. In London Wiliam Whitney who suffered from serious illness died. On November 18 1882(明治15年 ), four bereaved went ashore in Yokohama. Misfortunes seldom come singly. On April of next year, Anna who was the central pillar of Whitney died of an illness. For the first time as an American, Anna was buried at Aoyama Public Cemetery. Admiral Katsu wrote her epitaph. After Anna's funeral, Willis bought a land in Akasaka to build a hospital where he lived as a missionary doctor like Presbyterian missionary James Curtis Hepburn(日本名ヘボン又は平文 ) in Yokohama.
On April 1886(明治19年 ), 26 years old Clara in six month pregnant expecting married Umetaro(梶梅太郎 )at the age of 22. They lived in a house built by Katsu at his estate and a child of this couple was born in sequence. Katsu named each of them in Japanese ; the eldest son Walter(梅久), the eldest daughter Adeline(和気), the second daughter Winifred(喜乃), the third daughter Nobel(幸), the forth daughter Elsa(礼), the fifth daughter Hilda(勇).
Unfortunately in January 1899(明治32年) ,Admiral Katsu at the age of 75 died of cerebral hemorrhage. And next year Clara divorced Umetaro and with her 6 children went back to Pennsylvania.
Although Katsu family and relatives kept sending money( 50yen per month) to Clara in Pennsylvania for six years, Clara looked for various work to bring up 6 children, and one was a typist.
Sometimes Clara talked to her children about their grandfather Admiral Katsu as a great man but she never talked about divorced husband Umetaro who was a good-looking nice person but missing in vital energy. Admiral Kaishu Katsu was a great man who saved Japan by avoiding bigger civil war in 1868 in cooperation with British Minister to Japan Sir Harry Parkes. Clara brought up all six grandchildren of Admiral Katsu magnificently.