A great Confucian of Kiyotake Japan

Yasui Sokken

Yasui Sokken was a great Confucian in the end of the Edoshogunate.
He was born as Yasui Sosyu’s second son in the house standing on the site across the street. This house and the site were designated as a cultural property in 1979.
His family was so poor that he studied while working fbr his family’s living. When he was 22 years old, he went to Osaka to gain more knowledge, and next to Edo.
After that, he returned to Kiyotake,and worked as a teacher for the school of Kiyotake called “Meikyoudou” with his father.ln 1831,he was appointed to the post of assistant profbssor of
“Shintokudou” which was main school of the Obi Han. After his father’s death, he moved to Edo, and never returned to Kiyotake.
When he was 63 years old, he was appointed to the professorate of the Edo shogunate. His studies were appreciated not only by Japan but also by China and Korea. Until the end of his life, at 77 years old, he contributed to his country, for example through the encouragement of silkworm breeding and vaccination to as well as the dissemination of information about other countries.


[ Oka no Komachi ]
(The meaning of Komachi is the most beautiful young woman around the area.)

When Sokken was 28 years old, his father was afraid of that it would be hard for him to marry because of his terrible looking.
He was a short man with a pockmarked on his face. Then his father thought that it might be better for him to marry a daughter of relative on his mother’s. There were two daughters in the relative, Toyo and Sayo._ Toyo had average looks, and her character was cheerful and frank. While Sayo was a modest and beautiful girl, called “Oka no Komachi”. Then Sosyu thought that there was no chance for Sokken to marry Sayo,but there was a little hope for marriage with Toyo. Contrary to the expectations, Toyo refused it straight. As Sosyu was disappointed, unexpected good news was brought to him that Sayo would like to marry Sokken. Soon they got married in people’s surprising. About Sayo,there is a novel written by Mori Ougai who was a famous novelist in Japan.

[ A lofty ambition ]
ln Edo, some students laughed at Sokken studying hardly.
Because he was poor and came from a rural area Hyuuga, and he had a pockmarked face. Here is a Japanese poem written by him in those days. ln this poem, he expressed his strong will to become a great Confucian in the future.

今は音を忍ぶが岡のほとどぎす いつか雲井のよそに名乗らむ
(Although l’m a little cuckoo keeping silent with stand, I’ll become a man of name in Japan someday.)