Machida Hisanari (町田久成) (Biographical details)

Machida Hisanari (町田久成) (official; Japanese; Male; 1838 - 1897)

Also known as

Machida Hisanari


Samurai and leading official of Meiji period. Retainer of Satsuma domain. First director of the Tokyo National Museum. In 1856 began studies at Shoheizaka (shogunal academy in Edo). Completed studies in 1859, returned to Satsuma, took up official duties. In 1863 named daimetsuke, and fought as commanding officer in the brief Anglo-Satsuma War (British bombardment of Kagoshima). In 1864 led 600 men in defense of the imperial palace against an uprising. One of 15 Japanese from Satsuma who travelled to study in England in 1865. In 1867, assisted with the Paris International Exposition, returned to Japan, and travelled to Kyoto where he opposed Okubo Toshimichi and Saigo Takamori's plan for a military attack against the shogun. In 1868, appointed to office of foreign affairs. In 1869 responsible for Prince Alfred's visit to Japan, and the same year punished for not attending ceremonies to celebrate the emperor's birthday. Over the next few years responsible for several exhibitions related to natural sciences. In 1874 named director of office for the Philadelphia International Exposition. In early 1882 named first director of the Tokyo Imperial Museum (now Tokyo National Museum), but retired later the same year. In 1883, received Buddhist vows; assisted with transfer of control of museums to Imperial Household Agency. In 1885 named councilor of the chamber of the Senate, and administered Buddhist precepts to Okakura Tenshin (q.v.), Ernest Fenellosa (q.v.) and William Sturgis Bigelow (q.v.) In 1889 retired from Senate and following year entered priesthood at Miidera. In 1893 accompanied Bigelow to the World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago, and participated in the Parliament of the World's Religions. Became aware of importance of museums when studying in England, and especially during the Meiji Restoration when many art works left Japan. Used own funds to acquire artworks in preparation for establishing a museum. Special interest in traditional Japanese music and musical instruments.