Kondo Makoto (近藤真琴)

Makoto KONDO (October 29, 1831 - September 4, 1886) was an educator, a thinker during the Meiji period, one of the six greatest educators of the Meiji period and the founder of Kogyokusha Junior High School and High School. He was also a military man of the Imperial Japanese Navy and navy civilian employee, and the final rank was the Lieutenant Colonel of the Navy. His childhood name was Ryunosuke. He was born in Edo. He lost his father on October 16, 1834 and succeeded the headship of the family at the age of four; he changed his name to Makoto (imina [personal name]), Kiin (azana [Chinese courtesy name which was, historically, the name formerly given to adult Chinese men, used in place of their given name in formal situations; scholars and the literati of Japan adopted this custom of courtesy name]), and his common name to Seiichiro.

Kondo founded Kogyokusha and was praised as one of the six greatest educators in the Meiji period. He established the foundation of seamanship, land surveying in Japan and took the initiative of education in the fields of mathematics and civil engineering. He took the position to promote the kana literature, and he was also know as the author of 'Kotoba no sono' (garden of words), which was the first kana-writting dictionary in Japan.

Makoto KONDO as a military man
In 1862, he served as a translator in the Navy Training Center of Edo bakufu (Japanese feudal government headed by a shogun). In 1869, he entered the government service at Tsukiji Navy Training Center, and served in a variety of posts such as the senior assistant professor on military science, the junior assistant professor on military science and a middle professor on military science, and in the end, he was promoted to the Lieutenant Colonel of the Navy. He was dismissed in 1872, and in January of the following year, he began serving in the Ministry of the Navy as a sixth rank navy civilian employee. He went to Europe as official trips, and successively appointed to the posts such as a second rank professor in the Navy, the section chief of navigation in the Naval Academy, serving as a fifth rank official, the vice president of naval educational affairs and the first rank instructor. He contributed to the education at the Naval Academy until he was dismissed in February, 1886.

Makoto KONDO as a Japanese scholar
Makoto KONDO made great achievements as a modern Japanese scholars that could be counted as one of the pioneers in the area. It was Kogyokusha that stared as early as after the Meiji Restoration to teach Japanese grammar at school. At around the period of the Seinan War, Kondo MAKOTO himself was teaching.

He was a member of Kana no Kai (Society of Kana) and the author of 'Kotoba no Sono' (Garden of Words). In addition, he published books such as 'Fumimanabi no Omune' (Outline of how to learn words), 'Mayumi no Ochiba' (Fallen leaves of Mayumi) and 'Kani Shogaku Kyokasho' (Easy text books on how to teach elementary students).
Also he wrote three volumes of grammar books such as 'Letters,' 'Language' and 'Auxiliary.'
In 'Letters' he wrote about the origin of kana, in 'Language' about the classification, characters and usage of words, and in 'Auxiliary' about auxiliary verbs.

Chronological history

There is an anecdote in "Chikuhaku Manpitsu"(written by Nobutsuna SASAKI) published in June, 1928, that during the Meiji period, when the necessity to draw up the Japanese anthem arose and the Ministry of Navy was approached on that matter, Kondo, who happened to be serving the ministry, wrote the draft of the lyrics since he was well-versed in affairs and literature in the Western countries. According to the book, although many supported Kondo's lyrics, the lyrics were abandoned because a few people in the Ministry of the Navy opposed it.

Family members
Adopted heir: Motoki KONDO (shipbuilding vice admiral), married Tetsu, the daughter of Makoto. Adopted son-in-law: Masuji YAMANOUCHI, married Tsuyako, the daughter of Makoto.

[Original Japanese]