Machida Hisanari

In this Japanese name, the family name is Machida.
Machida Hisanari
Native name 町田久成
Born (1838-01-27)January 27, 1838
Kagoshima, Japon
Died September 15, 1897(1897-09-15) (aged 59)
Tokyo, Japon
Nationality Japanese
Other names Ueno Ryōtarō

Machida Hisanari (町田久成) (January 27, 1838 - September 15, 1897), also known as Ueno Ryōtarō, was a Japanese samurai and statesman of the Meiji period (1868–1912).[1] He was the first director of the Tokyo National Museum.



Machida Hisanari was born in 1838 in Shinshōin, an ancient city of the old Satsuma Province (incorporated in Kagoshima Prefecture since 1883) which became a district of Kagoshima in the late nineteenth century. He was the eldest son of Machida Hisanaga, head of a samurai family in the service of Shimazu Narioki, the daimyō of the Satsuma Domain.[2][3] At the age of 19, he left his hometown and moved to Edo, the capital, in order to continue his studies.[4] Before his return to Satsuma, he spent more than three years at the Shōhei-zaka Gakumonjo (昌平坂学問所) a state-run academy under the control of the shogunate which formed the Bakufu officials.[1]

Travel to Europe

In 1863, he was promoted to Ōmetsuke and participated as a military officer in the Anglo-Satsuma War where he had the future admiral Tōgō Heihachirō under his command. In the following year, he lead a troop of 600 men, to defend the Imperial Palace against a group of insurgents.[1]

In 1865, as a member of an official Japanese delegation, he spent a two-year study period in Europe; visiting the British Museum in London and, in Paris, the Louvre and National Museum of Natural History. He also participated in the International Exposition of 1867.[2][5] During his European journey, he became familiar with the concept of cultural heritage and the impact of museums and educational programs on the public.[4]

Return to Japan

Back in Japan at the beginning of the Boshin War (January 1868 - June 1869), he was called to Kyoto with the mission of thwarting the plans of the Satchō Alliance, a military coalition dedicated to overthrowing the Tokugawa shogunate.[1][2]

In 1870 he entered the service of the Meiji government, and became Secretary of State in the newly formed Ministry of Education.[6] In this influential position, he strove to stop the devastation of the national historic heritage caused by the Meiji policy of separating Shinto and Buddhism and the violent anti-Buddhist movement (Haibutsu kishaku) it triggered.[7]

In 1874, he accepted the position of director of office of the first official World's Fair in the United States, the Centennial Exposition in Philadelphia.[1]

In 1882 he became the first director of the Imperial Museum in Tokyo (now called the Tokyo National Museum), but retired from this position later that year.[1]

Retirement and death

In 1885 he joined the Chamber of Elders. In 1889 he left the state apparatus and retired to the Buddhist monastery Mii-dera in Shiga Prefecture. Machida died 15 September 1897 in Tokyo. His tomb is located within the grounds of Kan'ei-ji, a Buddhist temple in the Ueno district of Tokyo, which was the Bodaiji of the Tokugawa dynasty during the Edo period (1603–1868).[4]


  1. 1 2 3 4 5 6 "Machida Hisanari (Biographical details)". British Museum. Retrieved 14 November 2016..
  2. 1 2 3 町田久成 [Machida Hisanari] (in Japanese). Kagoshima Convention Visitors Bureau & City.Kagoshima. 2013. Retrieved 14 November 2016..
  3. Satō, Dōshin (2011). Modern Japanese Art and the Meiji State: The Politics of Beauty. Getty Publications. p. 62. ISBN 1606060597.
  4. 1 2 3 "Museum Garden and Teahouses". Tokyo National Museum. Retrieved 14 November 2016. |section= ignored (help).
  5. Jennifer Robertson; Walter Edwards (2008). "Archeology and cultural properties management". In Jennifer Robertson; Katsumi Nakao; Walter Edwards; Tomomi Yamaguchi; et al. A Companion to the Anthropology of Japan. Blackwell Companions to Anthropology. New York: John Wiley & Sons. ISBN 9781405141451. OCLC 899164876..
  6. Takashi Inada (2015). Maison franco-japonaise, ed. Translated by Laurent Nespoulous. "L'évolution de la protection du patrimoine au Japon depuis 1950: sa place dans la construction des identités régionales" 1950年からの日本文化財保護法の展開と地域アイデンティティの形成 (PDF). Ebisu, études japonaises (in French). Tokyo. 52 (52): 21. doi:10.4000/ebisu.1576. ISSN 1340-3656. Retrieved 14 November 2016. Lay summary..
  7. Christophe Marquet (2002). "Le Japon moderne face à son patrimoine artistique" (PDF). In François Macé; Mieko Macé; Ishii Kōsei; Cécile Sakai; Christophe Marquet; et al. Cipango : cahiers d'études japonaises: Mutations de la conscience dans le Japon moderne (in French). Paris: INALCO Publications Langues'O. pp. 19–22. ISBN 2858311056. OCLC 491367667..

See also

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