Seven Wise Men in Saga

Seven Wise Men in Saga

Saga Domain produced many talented people from the end of the Edo Period until the Meiji Period. Amongst these, the "Saga no Shichi Kenjin" (seven intellects of Saga) were particularly known as pioneers of the time, producing many distinguished achievements. Through the activities of these seven men, Saga Domain developed strong military power and outstanding human resources, becoming one of the strongest domains in Japan by the last days of the Tokugawa shogunate. To this day, the people of Saga hold great pride in the fact that these men built the foundation for modern Japan.

Naomasa Nabeshima
10th leader of Saga Domain. Referred to as "the rare one", Naomasa created many achievements in the fields of academia, agriculture, industrial development and more, and was highly regarded for proactively accepting Western civilization. Naomasa is particularly famous throughout Japan for his education at the domain academy, Kodokan, his establishment of Koseikan, a medical school and hospital, as well as being a strong supporter of rangaku* studies, introducing smallpox vaccination and manufacturing cannons.
* Rangaku is the study of Western technology through the Dutch language.

Shigenobu Okuma
As well as founding the Constitutional Progressive Party (Rikken Kaishinto) in 1882 and Constitutional Government Party (Kenseito) in 1898, Shigenobu Okuma served as prime minister twice . He was highly regarded particularly for his finance and foreign diplomacy activities and as being an internationally-minded politician. He was also famous as the founder of Waseda University.

Taneomi Soejima
Taneomi Soejima was a diplomat internationally regarded as a man of justice for his actions as foreign minister for the Meiji government, including negotiations with Russia over the Sakhalin Island boundary issue and releasing Chinese slaves from a Peruvian merchant ship making a stop in Yokohama Port. He is also famous as an avid book reader.

Shinpei Eto
Shinpei Eto is known for his superior doctrine and exceptional clerical capability during the Meiji Restoration.
As the first Minister of Justice, he exerted efforts for abolition of domains, the separation of the three powers, and establishment of parliament, however retired from politics when he lost the Seikanron debate. In 1874, he was one of the leaders of the Saga Rebellion, which opposed the Meiji government, however was unsuccessful against government troops.

Shima Yoshitake
Shima Yoshitake is famous for contributing to the development of Hokkaido by spending 2 years exploring Emishi and Sakhalin, and serving as a magistrate regarding Hokkaido’s development. He is also, however, known for his part in leading a group of rebels against the Meiji government in the unsuccessful Saga Rebellion.

Takato Oki
After the Meiji government was established, Oki served as Governor of Tokyo, worked for the Ministry of Popular Affairs, Ministry of Education and served as Minister of Justice. As the first Minister of Education, Oki focused on many activities to establish the current education framework, such as formation of the education system and drafting of the education edict and Imperial message on education.

Tsunetami Sano
When visiting France for the Paris Exposition of 1867, Sano was impressed by the Red Cross mentality of freedom, equality and benevolence. Upon returning to Japan, he established the Philanthropic Society (present day Red Cross Society of Japan) during the Seinan War, and cared for the injured. Sano created a new mentality of humanitarianism in the chaotic time that was the Meiji Restoration.

 

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