Francis Brinkley

A British, professor at the department of Tokyo University married a girl named Yasuko Tanaka from the Mito clan at the early Meiji period. In those days they were not allowed to do so by the law of Britain but the professor made a precedent by appealing to the British Judiciary. The name is Francis Brinkley ,who came to Japan in 1867 as assistant attache to the Japanese Legation. After that he did not step his motherland for forty- five years until his death. His son, Jack Ronald greatly contributed to the culture and education in Japan as well as F.Brinkley.

F.Brinkley was born at Leinster in Ireland in 1841. His father was called Richard and his grand father was a bishop and professor of astronomy in Dublin University. Brinkley studied at Dunganon and Trinity and got the best record in mathematics and classics. After graduating from them, he entered the Royal Military Academy in the suburb of London and they appointed him to artillery officer. Brinkley stayed in Hongkong as adjutant of Hongkong Governor General, Richard Magnell, his nephew for three years. Before that he visited Nagasaki and witnessed a rare scene of a duel between two Japanese samurai. One who won the fight covered his haori(Japanese half coat) over the killed other and knelt down with his hands clasped in prayer immediately after the duel was over. Brinkley was impressed with the samurai 's conduct, which made him live in Japan permanently.

In 1867 he came to Japan to be assistant officer to the Japanese Embassy and in 1871 he became professor at the Naval Gunnery School and taught for five years. In 1878 he was invited to teach mathematics at Tokyo University, and taught for two and a half years.

He mastered Japanese for a short term and could both write and speak well.

In the Meiji period there were three newspapers in Yokohama. One of them was the Japan Mail (later was merged to the Japan Times), which Brinkley published and became chief-editor. He greatly contributed to the introduction of Japanese culture, the Anglo-Japanese Treaty and the revision of treaties with foreign countries backstage and supported the policy of the Japanese Government.

After the Sino-Japanese War he became a correspondent of the London Times, and his military report and "on Japanese Bushido" met with universal applause especially during the Russo-Japanese War.

F.Brinkley told his son, Jack Ronald an episode on his deathbed. Immediatly after Japan defeated Russia in Hoten during the Russo-Japanese War,the Chief of the General Staff Gentaro Kodama hurriedly returned home secretly and recommended the Japanese Government to conclude a treaty with Russia. It was the most important secret then but the Chief of the General Staff told Brinkley, foreign correspondent of the London Times the national secret. The fact was a proof that Brinkley had a confidence of him.

Brinkley had many kinds of hobbies such as gardening, collection of fine arts, pottery, cricket, horse riding, tennis and hunting. Part of his collection were donated to museums home and abroad, however most of his collection were burned down in the fires of the Great Earthquake and the World War .

In 1972 Brinkley wrote books for English beginners, which Syouyou Tsubouchi and Hirobumi Ito read with much profit. The grammar books written by Brinkley and Japanese English Dictionary (compiled with Fumio Nanjo and Yukichika Iwasaki) were used the best among those who studied English in the latter half of the Meiji period.

Brinkley wrote Japanese history and fine arts of Japan in English. "A History of the Japanese people"(1915) published posthumously from the London Times dealt with history, fine arts and literature from the origin of the Japanese race to the latter half of the Meiji period.

In 1912 Emperor Showa passed away and General Maresuke Nogi committed hara-kiri together with his wife on the death of his Emperor. Brinkley's last report was " On General Maresuke Nogi" sent to the London Times, which he had written on his deathbed. F.Brinkley also died one month after Nogi's death at the age of 71. At the funeral were attended Speaker of the House of the Peers, Iesato Tokugawa, the Minister of the Navy Makoto Saito, and Forign Minister Yasuya and etc. Francis Brinkley was buried at the cemetery park of Aoyama, Tokyo.