Becoming Japanese in the Meiji period

Adopted sons, incoming husbands, and naturalization

By William Wetherall

First posted 24 December 2006
Last updated 1 November 2023

Sources on Meiji international marriages Koyama Noboru's "kokusai kekkon" studies Asakawa Akihiro's "kika" studies
First "kokusai kekkon" Consular marriage acts Kitagawa Sei and William Henry Freame Minami Teisuke and Eliza Pittman
Aliens who became Japanese Allick Asam Kashimu Wisuramu Mary Patterson Elkinton Gertrude Ethel Passingham Joseph Ernest De Becker Henry Black
Lafcadio Hearn Koyama's data Hyogo Bungakukan chronology Yushodo Shoten scenario Koizumi Setsu Hearn's motivation Convenience of Japanese nationality Koizumi family registers
Hearn's Kobe letters Kobe foreigners and son Ijin, Tojin Name change Killing foreigners Yakumo Koizumi

Related articles(New windows)
Allegiance change in Yamato: How natives and migrants joined the fold(Yosha Bunko)
International marriages, 1873-1899: Statistics based on Koyama Noboru's 1995 study(Yosha Bunko)
Julius Friedrick Wilhelm Helm: A German emigrant and his family in Japan and America(Konketsuji)

Sources on Meiji international marriages

Two researchers, Koyama Noboru and Asakawa Akihiro, have made important contributions to the understanding of international marriages and nationality changes during the Meiji period, first under the Great Council of State Proclamation No. 103 of 1873, then also under the 1899 Nationality Law.


Koyama Noboru's "kokusai kekkon" study

The most comprehensive study of marriages between Japanese and foreigners, recognized by under Great Council of State Proclamation No. 103 of 1873, is by Noboru Koyama, Koyama, the librarian for the Japanese Collection in the Cambridge University Library.

Koyama Noboru
Kokusai kekkon daiichigo: Meiji hitotachi no zakkon kotohajime
[The first international marriage: The beginnings of mixed marriages of Meiji people]
Tokyo: Kodansha, 1995
282 pages, paperback

See Koyama 1995 under "Mixed marriages" in the "Sources" section of the Konketsuji website, for a review of this book and related information.

The following work also deserves mention, more by way of warning readers that its scope is limited to the author's interest in the racial and sexual aspects of relations between "Western men" and "Japanese woman" -- and is useless and even misleading as a source of information about nationality.

Gary P. Leupp
Interracial Intimacy in Japan
(Western Men and Japanese Women, 1543-1900)
London: Continuum, 2003
313 pages, hardcover


Asakawa Akihiro's "kika" studies

Asakawa Akihiro has published three important academic articles on the development during the Meiji period of what he calls "kika" in Japanese and "naturalization" in English.

Asakawa 2001


Asakawa Akihiro
Meiji Kokusekihō no rekishi-teki imi: Kika no settei o megutte
[The historical meaning of the Meiji Nationality Law: Focusing on the establishing of naturalization]
<Historical Meaning of Naturalization in Japanese Nationality Law of the Meiji Era>
Imin kenkyū nenpō
Number 7, March 2001
Pages 3-20 (Japanese), pages 21-22 (English)

This article looks at the provisions made for naturalization in the "Kokumin mibun hō" [National status law] drafted by Inoue Kaoru (1836-1915) in July 1887. Inoue, then the foreign minister, and the first such minister under the cabinet system, introduced what would have been Japan's first law of nationality, as part of his effort to end extraterritoriality. He resigned in September, when his efforts to renegotiate the unequal treaties failed, and Itō Hirobumi began pulling double duty as the first prime minister and the second foreign minister.

Inoue's draft provided that "those who would have the status of Japanese nationals" at time of birth would be "the children of Japanese" -- and, also, children born in Japan, to foreigners, who indicated their desire to be Japanese before they turned 21.

Inoue's draft also provided that a foreign woman who became the wife of a Japanese could naturalize -- a fundamental modification of the provision for a foreign wife's change of nationality under the 1873 proclamation.

Asakawa 2003


Asakawa Akihiro
Meiji zenki no kika kyōka sha: "Tokubetsu no sengi" ni yoru kika o megutte
[Allegiance changers during the first half of the Meiji period: Focusing on allegiance change through special deliberation]
Imin kenkyū nenpō
Number 9, March 2003
Pages 135-153 (Japanese)

This article examines several cases of mass change of allegiance (帰化 kika) facilitated by "special deliberation" (特別の詮議 tokubetsu no sengi) of the Ministry of Home Affairs. Asakawa, when writing in English, broadly describes these early cases of allegiance change as "naturalization", though not all would qualify as instances of "naturalization" (帰化 kika) as the term was defined in the 1899 Nationality Law.

Asakawa describes at some length four early groups of cases and developments. In the following descriptions, I will render "kika" as "naturalization", with the understanding that the term means "change of allegiance" through a process of enrollment in registers under Japan's sovereign jurisdiction.

1. Naturalization of aliens residing in the Ogasawara islands

Between 1877 and 1882, as many as 64 people of various foreign nationalities residing on Ogasawara were allowed to change their allegiance, after the islands became unambiguously part of Japan in 1875. Individuals and their families were nationalized (my wording) in groups -- such as 5 (1877), 3 (1878), and 44 (1882). However, a provision made in 1878, and not rescinded until 1897, prohibited Ogasawarans from moving their registers to other parts of Japan, apparently including other parts of Tokyo when the islands were attached to the prefecture in 1880. (Asakawa 2003: 137-142)

2. Naturalization of Chinese employed by Development Office

In 1879, two Chinese who had contributed to the cultivation of Hokkaido became Japanese in 1879 before the territory was prefecturized. Asakawa describes in some detail their lives after they became Japanese.

The "Development Office" -- as I am translating 開拓使 (Kaitakushi), which oversaw the "opening and cultivation" (開拓 kaitaku) of land -- was an agency established in 1869 to oversee the "opening and cultivation" of non-prefectural territories north of Honshu. At the time, these territories included Ezo, the southern half of Sakhalin or Karafuto, and the southern stretch of the Kuriles or Chishima islands. Ezo was then renamed Hokkaido.

In 1855, Japan and Russia had agreed to share the southern half of Karafuto (Sakhalin), while recognizing that southern Chishima islands belonged to Japan and the northern Kuriles to Russia. A separate Karafuto Office was established in the spring of 1870 but abolished in the fall of the following year, and in 1875 Japan and Russia signed a treaty in which Japan swapped its claims regarding Karafuto for the northern Kuriles.

The agency known as "Kaitakushi" -- sometimes translated "Colonisation Department" -- was abolished in 1882 when the territory of Hokkaido became Hakodate, Sapporo, and Nemuro prefectures. The three prefectures were merged into Hokkaido prefecture in 1886, and the new prefecture was partly governed from Tokyo through a newly created Hokkaido Agency (北海道庁 Hokkaidōchō).

Asakawa reports that the Development Office had employed some 78 aliens, including 48 Americans and 13 Chinese. Of the 10 Chinese who were employed as farmers, two applied for permission to remain in Hokkaido and change their allegiance. Permission was given in 1879 after a "special deliberation" of the kind the government had been making regarding the status of aliens who had settled in Ogasawara. (Asakawa 2003: 142-146).

Many years ago I reported, based on Ninomiya 1983, that the Hokkaido Development Office received, from two of ten Chinese it had recruited in 1875 and hired by January 1876, a petition stating that they "wish to enter the registry of your country and permanently reside and pursue a living in Hokkaido". The Hokkaido office wanted to enroll the two men as commoners, and requested permission of the Chancellor of the Great Council of State. According to Ninomiya, the enrollment was not permitted (Ninomiya 1983: 221).

Asakawa gives many details concerning the contract with the ten men recruited as farmers, according to which the men agreed to a three-year term. One of the men had died by June 1876, two were released for violation of their contract in 1877, and a couple of men died shortly before their period of employment ended in 1878, leaving only five. The men were not re-employed, and though three returned to China, two -- Kyo Shitai (許士泰) and Han Eikichi (范永吉) -- wished to remain. And on 15 March 1879, the director of the Development Office -- Kuroda Kiyotaka (黑田清隆 1840-1900) queried the Chancellor of the Great Council of State with regard to the naturalization of the two men, and it resulted in approval (Asakawa 2003: 144).

The Chancellor of the Great Council of State was tantamount to what in 1885 would be the prime minister, and in 1888 Kuroda would become the second such minister succeeding Itō Hirobumi.

Asakawa continues to use the Chinese-style names of the two men when describing in their later lives. Both men married and their families appear to have lived very active lives.

Kyo Shitai married Ishi (イシ), the oldest daughter of Segawa Zen'yata (瀬川善弥太), who had been a samurai of the former Nanbu (Morioka) domain. Their son Zentarō (善太郎) served as the chief of Sapporo village from 1924 to 1929. Zentarō's wife Yone (ヨ子) was elected five times to the Sapporo city assembly. Kyo, who promoted the enrollment of 16 Chinese high school students in Sapporo Agricultural College in 1903, passed away in 1914 some 38 years after his move to Hokkaido. (Asakawa 2003: 145)

Asakawa found only traces of Han's movements, as late as 1903, but considerably more about the activities of his son, Han Kakushō (范鶴松) -- or perhaps he was called Tsurumatsu. The son was deeply involved in village politics from around 1934, when he was elected to the assembly of Kurisawa village (栗沢村) from the hamlet of Yura (由良部落). He was later head of the hamlet, and as late as 1947 he was the head of the joint hamlet association (apparently of hamlets within Kurisawa village, which in 1949 became a town that was integrated into Iwamizawa city in 2006). (Asakawa 2003: 145-146)

Ninomiya's summary which, though barely a paragraph, and while lacking the details in Asakawa's report, unlike Asakawa cites both the petition and the Hokkaido office request to the government. See 1899 Nationality Law for further details.

3. Naturalization of Chinese residing in Nagasaki

In 1880, the Great Council of State permitted Fukushima Hinzō (福島品蔵) -- or perhaps he called himself "Shinazō" -- a Nagasaki Chinese man who had married a Japanese woman before the 1873 proclamation came into effect, to change his allegiance. Though a foreigner, Fukushima was in the navy and drawing a family allowance, and Asakawa feels this was the main reason Nagasaki prefecture asked the Ministry of Home Affairs to facilitate his change of nationality.

Asakawa cites a contemporary source in the National Archives which states that states that "[We hereby] permit Chinese [subject: Fukushima Shinazō formerly named Arun to change-of-allegiance and enter-register" (清國人福島品蔵元名アルン歸化入籍ヲ許ス). The man whose former name was "Arun" was separated from his parents when leaving his native place for Shanghai at age 7 or 8, and was employed as a "boy" when 12. He went to America at 15 and began working as a blacksmith, and came to Nagasaki when 16 and worked as a blacksmith in Ūura. He later married Fukushima Chiyo (福島千代).

All this happened during the late Edo period. By 1869, two years into the Meiji era, he was employed by Yamaguchi domain, and in 1871, around the time the domain system ended, the captain of the Yamaguchi ship on which he was working gave him the name Shinazō, which he used with his wife's family name. I would image "Shinazō" was intended to reflect his "China" (Shina) origins.

When domains became prefectures, their ships became part of the new national navy. Fukushima Shinazō continued to work on the ship, and in 1875 he was made the chief blacksmith of another vessel. Because Fukushima had no register (無籍 museki), he (or someone on his behalf) submitted a request to enter a register (入籍 nyūseki), and on 4 March 1880 he was permitted by the Great Council of State to change his allegiance. (Asakawa 2003: 146-147).

4. Naturalization of Chinese who had cooperated in [during] with Sino-Japanese War

On 9 October 1895, the Minister of War (陸軍大臣 Rikugun Daijin) Ōyama Iwao (大山巌 1842-1916) requested, in a petition to Prime Minister Itō Hirobumi (1841-1909), that Chinese in Liaotung (Liaodong) peninsula who had assisted Japan during the Sino-Japanese War of 1894-1895 -- namely "those who wished to change their allegiance and migrate to [move to and settle in] our imperial country" (我帝國ニ帰化移住センコトヲ希望スルモノ waga teikoku ni kika ijū sen koto o kibō suru mono) -- be permitted to do so. They were permitted to do so, and moreover, according to a decision made by the imperial cabinet on 6 April 1897, it was permissible to treat on a par with imperial subjects, those who had performed military duties on a par with imperial subjects. (Asakawa 2003: 148-149).

5. Cases of naturalization applications and non-approvals of aliens residing in the Interior and cases of non-approval

Asakawa describes the cases of five aliens -- two Americans, an Englishman, a Swede, and a Hollander -- who applied for permission to change their allegiance or "naturalize" between 1886 and 1894. All five were turned down on the grounds that there was no naturalization law.

Asakawa writes that the Englishman, Joseph Earnest De Becker, queried the prime minister concerning an application for naturalization in 1890. He then says that De Becker had come to Japan in 1875, and had applied for naturalization after being in Japan for 7 years. The figures do not agree. Moreover, Koyama Noboru, who also reports De Becker's 1890 attempt to naturalize (see below), discloses that De Becker became Japanese the following year through the 1873 Great Council of State proclamation which permitted the acquisition of status as Japan as an incoming husband (Koyama 1995: 115).

Asakawa lists both Ninomiya 1983 and Koyama 1995 in his references.

To be continued.

Asakawa 2002


Asakawa Akihiro
Meiji Kokusekihō kara Shōwa Kokusekihō e: Kyū-shokuminchi chusshinsha no kokuseki shori o megutte
[From the Meiji Nationality Law to the Showa Nationality Law: Focusing on the nationality disposition of people from former colonies]
Nihongaku hō
(Ūsaka Daigaku Daigakuin, Bungaku Kenkyūka, Nihongaku Kenkyū Shitsu)
Number 21, March 2002
Pages 1-19

To be continued.


First "kokusai kekkon"

At issue here are not "international marriages" of Japanese, but only such unions that are recognized as marriages under Japanese law. Under Japanese law, a marriage is recognized only at which time it is recorded as such in a family register under Japanese jurisdiction. Religious and other ceremonies have no bearing on the legality of a marriage under Japanese law. Common-law unions established in Japan or overseas, or marriages executed in Japan or overseas under the laws of other countries, are not marriages under Japanese law.

Koyama on "kokusai kekkon" as a "Japanesque" term

Koyama states that "kokusai kekkon" means "a marriage between a man and woman of different nationalities [kokuseki]", and he feels this is a very "Japanesque term" [Nihon-teki-na kotoba], in that it is limited to differences in nationality.

English has expressions like "intermarriage" and "mixed marriage", Koyama writes, but "international marriage", which literally means "kokusai kekkon", is not often used in English. Both "intermarriage" and "mixed marriage" can mean marriages between men and women of different nationalities, races, ethnic groups, or religions. Among these words, he feels that "intermarriage" probably comes closest to "kokusai kekkon".

Before "kokusai kekkon" gained wide currency in Japan, the most common terms were "naigai kekkon" [inside-outside marriage] and "zakkon" [mixed marriage], according to Koyama.

Koyama does not remark on the fact that "naigai kekkon" is still used as a synonym of "kokusai kekkon" and also appears to focus on a union between a man and woman of different (local and non-local) nationalities. Whereas "zakkon" has a more biological focus like "zasshu" (mixed species, i.e., hybrid, mongrel), and is also used to mean "rankon" or "promiscuity", as in the disfavored theory of the amateur cultural evolutionist Lewis Henry Morgan (1818-1881), who argued that marriages in primitive societies originated in promiscuous sexual intercourse.

Koyama's "literal" equation of "international" with "kokusai" with a focus on "kokuseki" meaning "nationality" as a legal attribute also overlooks the common associations of all these terms with race. However, his attempt to associate "kokusai" with "international" rather than "interracial" is, I believe, both appropriate and pertinent. For "the status of being Japanese" or "possessing the nationality of Japan" developed as a concept of legal affiliation with a state, not biological affiliation with a race.


Britain's consular marriage acts and Japan

The expression "foreign marriage" has been used in Britain, Koyama remarks, to mean marriages that take place overseas, including marriages between British couples outside Britain. One kind of "foreign marriage" is a "consular marriage", referring to a marriage executed at a British consulate.

Britain's Consular Marriage Act of 1849, and the revised Consular Marriage Act of 1868, were promulgated to accommodate marriages of British subjects to each other and to non-British subjects, at British foreign missions. The law was specifically revised to deal with marriages in China and elsewhere, and revision was dated 16 July 1868, some three months before the start of the Meiji period (23 October 1968, Meiji 1-9-8)

Koyama discusses a query made in Keiō 3-4-27 [30 May 1867] by Fredrick [Francis?] G. Myburgh, the British Consul in Yokohama, to Mizuno [name] Wakasanokami [title], the magistrate [bugyo] of Kanagawa, as to whether Japan banned marriages between Japanese and foreigners. This appears to be the first such query about the possibility of international marriages involving Japanese.

Mizuno's reply, dated Keiō 3-4-29 [2 June 1867], was to the effect that there was no law forbidding such marriages, but he was unable to comment on Myburgh's query because no such marriages had been permitted. The exchange, however, provoked Japanese officials to consider the need to at least allow foreigners to take their "pleasure girl" [yujo] girlfriends back to their home countries. The discussion continued into the Meiji period, and resulted in the proclamation of 1873.


Kitagawa Sei and William Henry Freame

Heads of households in Japan began to petition for permission to notify an alliance of adoption or marriage between a member of their household and a foreigner as soon as the Great Council of State Proclamation No. 103 was promulgated on 14 March 1873. In principle, such alliances were supposed to be cleared by the Main Office of the Great Council of State [Dajōkan Seiin] in Tokyo.

Timeline of Kitagawa-Freame marriage

The paper trail from petition to approval of the first marriage of a Japanese to a foreigner, in Japan, reflects the novelty of the procedure at the time. The following dates, actions, and comments are based on Koyama (1995: 13-14).

29 April 1873 -- Shiga prefecture received a petition from Kitagawa Yasuaki, a shizoku (former samurai) in Shiga Prefecture, to sanction the alliance of his daughter, Kitagawa Sei, to William Henry Freame, an Englishman who was an instructor at a common school (kyoritsu gakko 共立学校).

30 April 1873 -- The prefectural office asks the Ministry of Finance how to handle the petition. Koyama surmises from this that Kitagawa was living in Tokyo at the time and filed the petition at Shiga prefecture's Tokyo office.

14 May 1873 -- The Ministry of Finance queries the Main Office of the Great Council of State about procedures.

19 May 1873 -- The Main Office of the Great Council of State informs the Ministry of Finance that the prefecture should send the petition to the Main Office.

28 May 1873 -- Shiga prefecture files the petition with the Main Office.

7 June 1873 -- The Main Office approves the marriage.

According to Koyama, Kitagawa Sei lost her Japanese nationality, as she had married a British national and was expected to acquire his nationality through the marriage. However, after Freame's death in 1881 [1880 according to Freame family genealogy], in accordance with the 1873 proclamation, she petitioned the Japanese government for restoration of her Japanese nationality. While she lost her Japanese nationality, she had never acquired British nationality, for Freame had never registered his marriage with her at the British consulate. According to Vice Consul Joseph Henry Longford, Freame already had a wife in Australia, and so if he had registered his marriage with Kitagawa Sei at the British Consulate, he would have been committing polygamy (Koyama 1995: 21-22).

Freame taught English at schools and was working for a steamship company in Nagasaki when he died. Koyama cites two contemporary Japanese who had studied English from him at different schools. Both recalled him as being anything but a refined gentleman. He seems to have spoke like, and had the manners of, a sailor. Koyama reports that Miyake Setsurei wrote "Freame looked as though some blood of a blackie had been mixed in [him]" (Furiimu wa ikuraka kuronbō no chi ga majitte woru rashiku mie フリームは幾らか黒ん坊の血が混じとつてをるらしく見えっている) had bad grammar and pronunciation, and had a woman he called "Freame's Mrs." (Furiimu no misesu フリームのミセス" (Koyama 1995: 23).

Miyake Setsurei (三宅雪嶺 1860-1945), a journalist, was one of the leading nationalists of the late Meiji, Taisho, and early Showa periods. In 1888 he and others founded the Seikyosha [Society for political education], which published a magazine called "Nihonjin". The magazine was renamed "Azia" in 1891 after ceasing publication because of censorship, renamed "Nihonjin" [Japanese] in 1893, and ceased publication again in 1895. It was reincarnated as "Nihon oyobi Nihonjin" [Japan and Japanese] in 1907 and folded in 1944 on the eve of Miyake's death.

Freame's genealogy

The following information on William Henry Freame (1841-1880) comes from his genealogy on the Freame family website at The genealogy says he married Shizu Kitagawa and died in 1880.

Birth -- 10 February 1841, in Thatcham, Berkshire, England

Marriage -- 20 June 1867 (Age 26), Ellen Jane Coker, St Paul's C [Church] of E [England], Swanston Street, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

Marriage -- About 15 June 1873, (age approximately 32), Shizu [sic] Kitagawa, Shiga Prefecture, Tokyo, Japan

Death -- 7 December 1880, Age 39, Nagasaki, Japan

Divorce -- Ellen Jane Coker

Ellen Jane Coker (1847-1927) was born in Newington, London, England. She was 20 when she married Freame in Australia. The couple had one child, a son, William Henry George Freame (1867-1933), who was born five months after his parents were married. The date of their divorce is not clear, but Ellen outlived Freame by nearly half a century, dying at the age of 80 at Newington State Hospital, Silverwater, NSW, Australia. (Freame website)

Shizu Kitagawa died "before 16 August 1940" (Freame website).


Minami Teisuke and Eliza Pittman

However, Koyama shows that the Foreign Ministry recognized the marriage of Minami Teisuke (1847-1915) and Eliza Pittman (b1849) a few days before the Main Office of the Great Council of State approved the Kitagawa-Freame union. Minami and Pittman were married in London on 20 September 1872. The marriage is considered to have been recognized under Japanese law on 3 June the following year, after they had moved to Japan.

Minami brought Eliza to Japan in the spring of 1873 and submitted a notification of their marriage, with a translation of the British marriage certificate, to the Tokyo office of Yamaguchi prefecture on 31 May. The notification stated that the marriage had been approved by two Japanese officials in London at time of their marriage in 1872. The Yamaguchi office notified the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the marriage on 3 June. (Koyama 1995: 16-17)

One of the two officials who sanctioned Minami's union with Pittman was Iwakura Tomomi (1825-1883). Iwakura, then the Great Council of State's Minister of the Right, was in Britain at the time as the leader of what is known as the Iwakura mission, which visited several countries around the world between 1871-1873. The other official was Terajima Munenori (1833-1893), who had been dispatched to Britain to head Japan's mission there, and was later a foreign minister. (Ibid.)

The 1873 proclamation did not yet exist, yet as Koyama argues, the Iwakura mission was the de facto Japanese government on the move. If Iwakura and Terajima approved the marriage, and if formal notification was made in Tokyo four days before the Kitagawa-Freame union, then it should be considered the first under the first such marriage to be legalized under the proclamation. (Ibid. 18)

Minami's motives for marrying Pittman

During 1873, the first year of Japan's official use of the Gregorian calendar, Minami helped James Summers (1829-1891) publish one of the first Japanese-language papers outside Japan. It was called "Tai Sei Shimbun" and was intended to be a monthly but only one issue came out, on 30 January 1873.

In 1865, the young Minami, still a teenager, and two other Choshu men were ordered by the clan, which advocated the overthrow of the Tokugawa bakufu in distant Edo, to sneak out of Japan to study in England. Minami became fluent in English, worked as a banker, and married Eliza, the daughter of a gardener.

By then a proponent of race improvement through intermarriage, Minami boasted that the intent of the marriage was to produce Japanese-Anglo mixedblood children. However, in ten years of marriage, mostly in Japan, where she helped Minami run Eigakusha, a private school he established in Shiba, in Tokyo, Eliza bore him no children.

Minami's cause for divorcing Pittman

Minami divorced Pittman and entered the foreign ministry. In 1885, while serving as a consul in Hong Kong, he notified Inoue Kaoru (1836-1815), also from Yamaguchi prefecture, of his marriage to his second wife, Isawa Sen.

Inoue asked Minami whether he had formally divorced Pittman or was just separated from her. Minami replied that he had not completed formal procedures and hence Pittman had never entered his family register. Inoue's response was to attach a copy of the notification sent by Yamaguchi prefecture's Tokyo office to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and to express his view that Minami's marriage to Pittman was regarded as having been facilitated.

On the one hand we have Minami denying that he had followed through on registering his marriage with Pittman in such a way that the marriage would have been noted in his family register, and she herself would have entered the register as a Japanese national. On the other we have the minister of foreign affairs himself assuring Minami that the marriage had been officially recognized.

Koyama, though, takes Inoue's view as evidence that the Minami-Pittman marriage, even if true that he didn't register the union, was the first of its kind to be recognized under Japanese law. And the plot of Koyama's story, in which it becomes clear that Minami had taken legal action to dissolve his relationship with Pittman, takes some unexpected turns.

In short, Pittman was forced to return to Britain because she failed to adapt to life in Japan, and became violent toward members of Minami's family. On a number of occasions, Minami himself sustained injuries to his face and limbs, and during February 1882 she even brandished a sword, cut him, and then fled to the home of one of his uncles and also went into hiding at the home of a government official. (Koyama 1995: 30)

Minami decided to take legal action, and sought the mediation of Edward Divers (1837-1912), a medical doctor and chemist from Britain who had been teaching in Japan since 1873. Divers got Pittman to sign an agreement (1) not to talk or act violently toward Minami or his relatives, (2) learn Japanese, be kind to Minami's friends, and otherwise carry out her wifely duties, and (3) in the event she break these promises, she abandon any claim to support or protection she might expect to receive from Minami. She signed the agreement on 10 March, and he signed it the following day. (Koyama 1995: 31)

Koyama reports that Minami told Inoue that Pittman left Japan in early April 1882, but Koyama thinks Pittman meant the the following year, for he found a notice in the "Japan Weekly Mail" which listed a "Mrs. Minami" as a passenger on a British ship that sailed from Yokohama on 5 April 1883 (Koyama 1995: 34). And Minami notified Pittman's father of the divorce in a letter dated 20 April 1884 (Koyama 1995: 31-32).

Koyama ends the chapter on a particularly lonely note (page 35).

At the time, Eliza was 33. As to what became of Eliza after that, nothing is known.

A website on Foreign cemeteries in Japan gives the location of Minami's grave in Aoyama Cemetery in Tokyo.

Koyama, in a later article published in English (Koyama 2002: 392), reported details about Eliza's death and burial.

Eliza died in 1902 at Beddington where she probably lived after their divorce and where according to the 1881 and 1892 census reports her father Charles Pittman lived. She was buried in St Mary's Churchyard, Beddington, Croydon. Part of the tombstone survives. The inscription reads: 'In Memory of Eliza Teiske Minami, who departed this life, July the 9th. 1902. The marriage in 1872 of the above Eliza Teiske Minami, an Englishwoman, with Teiske Minami, a Japanese, was the first known union between the subjects of the two countries.' [Note 31] Her death was reported by her brother James Pitman, who lived in Battersea [Note 32] and who was probably responsible for the tombstone and the inscription.


Aliens who became Japanese

While Allick Asam appears to have been the first foreign male to become Japanese through marriage (Koyama 1995: 265), in his case as an adopted son-in-law (muko yōshi), the first to become Japanese as an incoming husband (nyūfu) was Kashim Wisram (katakana "Kashimu Wisuramu") in 1881. Wisram, like Asam, was a British subject from India residing in Yokohama's Foreign Settlement.

However, Japanese began to be permitted to marry aliens practically as soon as the proclamation was promulgated on 14 March 1873. The first such alliance of marriage approved by the government is thought to have been that of Minami Teisuke (1847-1915) and Eliza Pittman (katakana "Raiza Pittoman). The ceremony took place in London on 10 September 1872 and was recognized in Japan on 3 June the following year.

The most prominent marriage in terms of contemporary newspaper publicity was that of Nitobe Inazō (1862-1933) and Mary Patterson Elkinton (1857-1938) in Philadelphia on 1 January 1891. Nitobe received permission to marry on 24 September 1890 and the Society of Friends consented to the marriage on 25 December 1890. Registration formalities in Japan would have taken place after the Nitobes arrived in Japan in February 1891.

The several nationality changes presented below are only a handful of the hundreds of nationality migrations that took place in Japan from 1873 when nationality through marriage or adoption became possible, and 1950 when all forms of nationality derived from alliances of marriage or adoption ceased and foreign spouses (most wives but also some husbands) and adoptees of Japanese had to naturalize in order to acquire Japanese nationality.

And much much larger overview of many more such marriages, see
Couples 1: Unions between people of different nationalities
under "People" on the "Konketsuji" website.


Allick Asam -- the first adopted son-in-law

In 1880, Allick Asam, an Indian who had been living in Yokohama's Foreign Settlement for 16 years, was the first foreigner to become Japanese as an adopted husband. Asam married Maeda Mine, a Yokohama woman, after the family petitioned the governor of Kanagawa for permission to marry as required by the 1873 proclamation.

The following table shows Satō Tetsurō's transcription of the copy of the Maeda family petition with my translation, and commentary.

The marriage of Allick Asam to Maeda Mine
And Asam's adoption as son-in-law by Maeda Kiyo

Japanese text

The text of the record of the Asam-Mine marriage petition has been downloaded from web-posted extracts from the following on-demand book by Satō Tetsuro, a student of the history of Buddhist thought and Buddhist links between India and Japan.

佐藤哲朗 Satō Tetsurō
Dai Ajia shisō katsugeki: Bukkyō ga musunda mo hitotsu no kindaishi
[An action drama of greater Asia thought: Another modern history that Buddhism formed]
Tokyo: On-Book, 8 August 2006
460 pages

The web-posted Asam-Mine marriage record appears in a column titled "History of Meiji-India Exchanges: From pilgrimages of Buddhist monks to an Indian adopted son-in-law" (明治日印交流史:仏僧の巡礼からインド人婿養子まで) -- which appears between Chapter 11 (Noguchi Fukudō's travels to India: Ceylon and India) and Chapter 12 (Noguchi Fukudō's travels to India: Madras) of the on-line materials.

Satō crossed paths with Asam and Mine, first in Koyama 1995 (page 169), then in the National Archives of Japan (国立公文書館 Kokuritsu Kōbunsho Kan) while looking for other traces of Indians in Meiji Japan.

Satō identifies the source of the record of the Asam-Maeda marriage record as follows.

太政類典 第四編 明治十三年 第五十二巻 第六類 民法 婚姻 継嗣 親属 財産 契約 賃借雑

Dajō ruiten [Great State Classified Codes]
Compilation 4, Meiji 13 (1880)
Volume 52, Classification 6, Civil Code
Marriage Succession Kin Property Contracts Leases Miscellany

Satō characterized the name of this public document as "long" and then described it as a Japanese-bound (sewn) compilation of clean copies done by brush on high-quality Japanese paper. He found the preservation condition surprisingly good and remarked that "Japanese paper is amazing."

The National Archives website describes the Dajō ruiten (太政類典) as follows.


Dajo Ruiten
The Dajo Ruiten consists of typically collected material compiled by the records section of the Dajokan, or Cabinet of the early Meiji (1868-1912) government. It consists of fair copies of various regulations selected from cabinet diaries, daily journals, public records (Kobunroku), etc., and is classified into 19 categories dealing with such topics as systems, government organization, official rules, ceremonies, and so forth. The documents are arranged chronologically, starting in October of the third year of the Keiō period (1867) and ending in the 14th year of the Meiji period (1881). As priceless material relating to early Meiji, this is in wide use among scholars of history.

English translation

The translation is mine (William Wetherall).


(Parenthetic commentary) is presumably Satō's.

[Bracketed commentary] is mine.

県令 野村靖貴下

Prefectural magistrate    Nomura Yasushi, Esquire
Marriage application

Yokohama-ku Matsukage-cho 3-chome 76-banchi
Second daughter of commoner [heimin] Maeda Kiyo
Maeda Mine
Born Bunkyu 1-10-10 [12 November 1861]
[Age as of] this month 20 years 1 month
奉申上候 英国支配インド国デライ人アリキハースンナル者ハ当港居留地百拾五番館ニ有リテ在留拾六年ニ至候処同区寿町三丁目五番地小川新六ノ媒酌ヲ以テ私婿ニ貰受度候ニ付親類協議致シ候処異存無之就テハ(明治六年三月十四日太政官第百三号)公布ニ基キ御許容被成下度一統連署以テ此段奉願候也


[We] respectfully relate [the following]: The Delaian [Delhian?] Allick Asam of the country of India under the rule of England, [he] has been residing in Building 115 of the [foreign] settlement in this port for 16 years; through the mediation of Ogawa [Kogawa] Shinroku of Kotobukichō 3-chōme 5-banchi of the same district [Asam conveyed to Maeda Mine's mother Maeda Kiyo his desire that] [I] wish [you] to accept me as your son-in-law [watakushi (o) muko ni moraiuketaku sōrou], so [the family] held a family conference; since there are no objections, wishing to receive permission on the basis of the proclamation (No. 103 of the Great Council of State No. 103 of 14 March 1873), [we] one and all with our joint signatures hereby respectfully apply [for your permission of this alliance].

     Meiji 13-Dai-10-5 [5 December 1880]
     前田喜代 印
     前田ミ子 印
     Allick Asam.
媒酌人 小川新六 印
     筆生 川島竹之助 印

[Persons named to] right: Actual [natural] mother
     Maeda Kiyo [seal]
     Maeda Mine [seal]
     Allick Asam. [signature?]
Matchmaker [baishakunin] Ogawa Shinroku [seal]
Town head [kochō] Oikawa ■人 [Masahito? Masato?] proxy [dairi]
     Copyist [hissei] Kawashima Takenosuke [seal]

(The ■ part is undecipherable. Inside a 匚 (box enclosure radical) are vertically two points. 正人?)

Commentary on text

The text reflects a heavily kanbunesque "epistolary style" (候文 sorobun). Satō's transcription appears to be very accurate, judging from the quality of the text. He has even gone to the trouble to describe one graph he couldn't decipher -- and suggest what he thinks it represents.

Satō has thankfully refrained from punctuating the text or otherwise corrupting its contemporary integrity. His only obvious accommodation of present-day standards was to show simplified characters -- which does not corrupt the structural integrity of the text.

In only one place did Satō use hiragana instead of katakana. Assuming this was an oversight, I have changed his 公布に to 公布ニ.

Notes on text

県令 (kenrei) or "prefectural magistrate" was the title of address for a prefectural 長官 (chōkan) or "director" from 1871 to 1886. 知事 (chiji) or "governor" was reinstated as the title of address in 1886.

野村靖 (Nomura Yasushi 1842-1909) was the prefectural magistrate of Kanagawa prefecture from 15 July 1878 until succeeded by Okimori Kata (沖守固 1841-1912) on 8 November 1881. Okimori was still in office on 19 July 1886 when the title of the governorship reverted to 知事 (chiji).

Notes on Kanagawa and Yokohama

From Ansei 6-6-4 (7 July 1859), the Kanagawa Magistrates Office 神奈川奉行所 (Kanagawa Bugyōsho) was in Noge village (野毛村 Noge mura) of Musashino province (武蔵国 Musashino kuni). The village is now part of Yokohama in Kanagawa prefecture.

Kanagawa prefecture originated when the new Meiji government in Edo seized the Kanagawa Magistrates office and established the Yokohama Saibansho (横浜裁判所) on Keiō 4-3-19 (11 April 1868). The new entity was renamed Kanagawa Saibansho (神奈川裁判所) on Keiō 4-4-20 (12 May 1868), Kanagawa-fu (神奈川府) on Keiō 4-6-17 (5 August 1868), and Kanagawa-ken (神奈川県) on Meiji 1-9-21 (5 November 1868).

The title 総督 (sōtoku) -- "governor-general" or "viceroy" -- was used when the entity was a "court" (裁判所). 知事 (chiji) or "governor" was used from the time it became a "fu" (府), and 令 (rei) or "magistrate" was used from Meiji 4-7-14 (29 August 1871), in accordance with provisions of an imperial ordinance to "abolish domains and create prefectures" (廃藩置県 haihan chiken).


Kashim Wisram -- the first incoming husband

The first "adopted son-in-law" (婿養子 muko yōshi) on Koyama's list is Alick Asami, a British Indian who married Maeda Mine (前田ミネ), the 2nd daughter of a Yokohama commoner (平民 heimin) on 25 December 1880 (No. 54, Meiji 13-12-25). The second adopted son-in-law marriage on his list is Adolph Russell, a American who married Uchiyama Yoshi (内山よし), the 3rd daughter of a Yokohama commoner on 11 March 1881 (No. 56, Meiji 14-3-11).

Koyama does not record Alick Asami's Japanese name. He notes that Adolph Russell became Uchiyama Rosetsu (内山蘆雪). "Rosetsu" -- as 蘆雪 is probably meant to be read -- may have been been inspired by the name of the painter Nagasawa Rosetsu (長澤蘆雪 1754-1799), but I suspect it was chosen because of its similarity to "Russell".

The first "incoming husband"

Koyama's first case of an "incoming husband" (入夫 nyūfu) is British subject whose name is shown only in katakana -- カシム・ウィスラム -- Kashimu Uisuarmu. If terminal "mu" represents "m" and "ui" represents "wi" then the spelling would be Kashim Wisram -- but this is just a guess.

Kashim Wisram is described as an Indian from Bombay (ブンバイ Bunbai < Munbai). His wife is Ozawa Tami (小沢タミ), a commoner (平民 heimin) of Akabane-mura in Kōza-gun in Kanagawa prefecture (神奈川県高座郡赤羽根村). The alliance was permitted on 8 June 1881 (No. 59, Meiji 14-6-8).

Difference between "adopted son-in-law" and "incoming husband" statuses

Koyama's summaries of the two kinds of alliances appear to make the following disctinction.

Adopted son-in-law

In all cases the wife is described as a daughter of a commoner whose name is given. In other words, the woman's father is alive -- and he, as head of the household, petitioned for approval of the alliance and the subsequent status action, in which his daughter's alien husband entered household register as his adopted son, who presumably stood to be his heir.

Incoming husband

In all but one case, the wife is described, with no mention of a father, as a woman having a status in her own right -- as a "commoner" (平民 heimin) in all but one case, in which she is a "head of household" (戸主 koshu) (No. 119, Meiji 23-12-2). However, one "incoming husband" case shows the wife as the oldest daughter of a commoner who presumably is still alive (No. 188, Meiji 28-11-7).

So perhaps there is more to the distinction between the two statuses than whether the woman's father is alive, or whether she is the present, or apparent or presumptive, head of household.


Mary Patterson Elkinton becomes Nitobe Mariko

Mary Patterson Elkinton, an American citizen, married Nitobe Inazō (新渡戸稲造 1862-1933), a subject of Japan, on 1 January 1891, after which she entered Nitobe's family register as Nitobe Mari (新渡戸萬里 1857-1938 萬里子 Mariko, Mari 萬里), thus aquiring Japan's nationality and the "standing of being Japanese", which casued her to lose U.S. nationality.

Koyama Noboru, in his 1995 study of marriages under the 1873 proclamation permitting alliances of marriage and adoption between Japanese and foreigners, states that Nitobe was issued a 結婚許願允許 (marriage permission-request consent-permission = marriage license) by a Japanese 在米国臨時代理公使 (chargé d'affaires ad interim) in the United States on as "M23.9.24" (24 September 1890) (Koyama 1995, page 268, case 118).

See reviews of Koyama 1995 (Kokusai kekkon dai-ichi-gō)
and Koyama 2002 (Three Meiji Marriages between Japanese Men and English Women)
on the "Mixed marriages" page in "Sources" section of the "Konketsuji" website

Three levels of consent

The Nitobe-Elkinton marriage was subject to "approval" at 3 levels.

  1. Legal obstacles
    No obstacles raised by Japanese laws
    No obstacles raised by Pennsylvania laws
  2. Family obstacles
    Nitobe reported no obstacles as his parents had passed away. Elkinton's family members initially withheld their consent. Her brothers gave their consent at a Society of Friend's meeting on 25 December 1890, and they attended the wedding ceremony on New Years Day a week later and signed as witnesses. By the time the newlyweds left Philadelphia a couple of weeks later for San Francisco and their voyage to Japan, Mary's parents reconciled themselves to her choice of husband and decision to make a life with him in Japan.
  3. Religious obstacles
    The local Society of Friends, which oversaw the marriages of Quakers, withheld its consent mainly in deference to objections by Mary's family. When the family appeared to come around, a Society of Friends representative presided over the marriage ceremony and registered the marriage.

Pennsylvania law may have required proof from Nitobe of eligibility to marry. Or possibly Nitobe was complying with a request from the Society of Friends, as he and Mary Elkinton were members, and their marriage would be subject to Quaker approval.

The Nitobe's had one biological child between them, Nitobe Toomasu (新渡戸遠益 Thomas), who died 8 days after he was born, and Nitobe Yoshio (新渡戸孝夫 (born in Tokyo 27 May 1892, died 1935).

The 1900 census for Malvern Borough in Chester County, Pennsylvania, shows Mary P. Nitobe (b Aug 1857, 42, married 9 years, 1 child) as head of a household with Yoshio Nitobe (b May 1892, 8), her son, and Misono [unreadable] (b May 1865, 35), a female servant who is single. Mary is "W" [white] and her son and their servant are "Jp" [Japanese] by "Color or race". The household includes two "W" females in their 20s, one a "nurse", the other a "companion", both single and apparently of local Pennsylvania birth, as is Mary. The son and servant were born in Japan. The "Citizenship" column is blank for Mary and the two local woman. It shows "1898" and "2" for the son and servant, indicating "Year of immigration to the United States" and "Number of years in the United States".

A 6 July 1907 passenger card for NITOBE Yoshio, entering the Port of Seattle aboard the Minnesota, describes him as accompanied by his mother, born in Japan, age 15, a student, sex male, single, "Jap" by "Race" and "Japan" by "Nationality", bound for Philadelphia, Pennsylvaia.

A 1910 yearbook list of students and their home addresses, in the "1910 Hill edition of The Dial, the yearbook of The Hill School in Pottstown, Pennsylvania, shows "Yoshio Nitobe, 75 Ichome [sic], Kobinata Daimachi, Koishikawa Ku, Tokyo, Japan" (The Dial, Volume XIV, page 168).

The 1915 edition of The Record of The Class of Nineteen Fifteen, for Haverford College, Pennsylvania, lists Yoshio Nitobe as an associate editor of the Haverfordian year book (page . His senior thesis was "Japan's Foreign Policy" (page 19)."

Yoshio Nitobe's nicknames were "Yo" and "Tobe". A cartoon shows him kneeling in an Oriental gown on the roll-top desk of the "Editor", receiving a "Spring Poem" diploma. A notice on the wall by the desk, inside the door of the Haverfordian Office, states that "Disappointed authors must not commit hara-kiri in hallway / BAKA-YARO!" A hanging scroll reads "日本之武士" (Nihon no bushi, "Bushi [Samurai] of Japan").

An April 1932 U.S. Department of Labor Immigration Service "List or Manifest of Alien Passengers for the United States Immigration Officer at Port of Arrival" shows "Nitobe Inazo" and "Nitobe Mari" traveling together aboard the "m.v. Tatsuta Maru" sailing from Yokohama on 14 April 1932 and arriving in San Francisco on 27 April 1932. Both are "70" by "Age". Both are "Japan" by "Nationality (Country of which citizen or subject)". He is "Japanese" and she is "American" by "Race or people". Such manifests were required by all vessels arriving at U.S. ports with alien passengers. All alien passengers had to be classified by "Race or people" according to a thick manual that listed roughly 100 "races".

For photographs, a chronology, and other information about the Nitobe-Elkinton union, see 1890 Nitobe Inazō and Mary Elkinton under "Couples 2" in the "People" section of the "Konketuji" website.


Gertrude Ethel Passingham becomes Mutsu Iso

Mutsu Hirokichi (陸奥廣吉 1869-1942), the 1st son of Count Mutsu Munemitsu (陸奥宗光 1844-1897) and his 1st wife Mutsu Hasuko (陸奥蓮子 1846-1872), married Gertrude Ethel Passingham (ゲルトルート・エセル・パッシングハム), a British subject, in 1905 after a long and contested courtship. Ethyl (エセル), as a Japanese subject and national, became Mutsu Iso (陸奥 イソ 1867-1930). Their son was the journalist and documentary producer Mutsu Ian Yōnosuke (陸奥イアン陽之助 1907-2002), better known as Ian Mutsu.

For a review of Ian Mutsu's account of his family history see
Ian Mutsu on "The Mutsu Family"
on the "Biographies" page under "Sources" on the "Konketsuji" website.


J. E. De Becker becomes Kobayashi Beika

Joseph Ernest De Becker (1863-1929), a British subject educated in the United States, became Kobayashi Beika (小林米珂) through his marriage to Kobayashi Ei (小林エイ), a Kanagawa prefecture commoner, on 29 July 1891.

De Becker becomes Kobayashi

Another well-known foreigner who beat Hearn to the Japanese nationality door was Joseph Ernest De Becker (1863-1929). Born in London and educated in the United States, De Becker came to Japan in 1887 as an attorney, and by 1891 he had become the incoming husband (nyūfu) of Kobayashi Ei, a Kanagawa prefecture commoner. Becoming a member of the Kobayashi family register meant that he was Japanese, and his names as such was Kobayashi Beika. Kobayashi Beika, aka Joseph De Becker, was the first to translate Japan's basic laws into English. But he is better known as the author of The Nightless City, or the "History of the Yoshiwara Yukwaku History of the Yoshiwara Yukwaku" (Yokohama: Z.P. Maruya & Co. Ltd., 1899).

In 1890, the year before he became Kobayashi, De Becker sent a query to the prime minister asking if it was possible "to change his allegiance to Japanese nationality" (Nihon kokuseki ni kika suru). The reply, from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, was to the effect that there were no examples of a foreigner being permitted "to change allegiance to Japan" (Nihon e no kika) other than through adoption as a son-in-law (muko yōshi) or an incoming husband (nyūfu) (Koyama 1995: 115).

Koyama does not directly cite the query or response, hence I cannot confirm the language he uses to describe the exchange.

Asakawa writes that in April 1890, De Becker queried the prime minister about an application for naturalization, but his query was returned on the grounds that there was no law on which to base such an application. He also says that De Becker came to Japan in 1884, and hence had been in Japan for 7 years at time he attempted to naturalize. (Asakawa 2003: 150).

De Becker went on to translate many Japanese laws, including the 1899 Nationality Law.

Edith De Becker and William Sebald

De Becker's daughter, Edith Frances de Becker, married William Joseph Sebald (1901-1980), who had come to Japan as a US Navy officer to study Japanese. Sebald then became an attorney, helped run De Becker's law office in Kobe after De Becker passed away, and translated many laws before he and Edith left Japan in 1939 after being suspected of spying.

During the Pacific War, Sebald served as an intelligence officer. After the war, he served as a foreign service officer in GHQ/SCAP and became head of its Diplomatic Section. As MacArthur's principal foreign affairs adviser, he was closely involved in peace treaty and other negotiations. He was also the main facilitator of early talks between ROK and Japan.

See Kobayashi Ei under "Couples" in the "People" section of the "Konketsuji" website for fuller details about the Kobayashi/De Beckers and their daughters and sons-in-law.

See Japanese nationality after World War II for more information about Sebald and his career.

See Statelessness in Japan for more information about Edith's nationality, first as Edith De Becker then as Edith Sebald.


Henry Black

Henry Black (1858-1923) is better known in Japan as the storyteller Kairakutei Burakku. Before that, he was known as the son of the Australian newspaper publisher John Reddie Black (1827-1880).

Raised mostly in Japan, Henry Black was totally bilingual and spent his adult life as an entertainer. He is credited as the first person to produce a phonograph recording of rakugo.

An Australian by birth, Henry Black became Japanese through marriage in 1893 -- a year before Lafcadio Hearn followed the same path, through a provision of the 1873 proclamation concerning alliances of marriage and adoption between Japanese and foreigners. He reportedly divorced the woman, whose name was Ishii, a year later.

Henry Black's father, John Reddie Black (1827-1880), a British subject from Australia, came to the Foreign Settlement in Yokohama in 1863. He became an editor for The Japan Herald and The Japan Gazette and spent some time in China.

On 3 June 1870 (Meiji 3-5-1), John Black began publishing The Far East, a fortnightly paper in English that featured general news, editorials, and entertainment, but also articles and photographs of everyday life. The paper covered Japan, Korea, China, and Taiwan.


Lafcadio Hearn aka Koizumi Yakumo

Patrick Lafcadio Hearn (1850-1904), later Koizumi Yakumo, was baptized Patricio Lefcadio Tessima Carlos Hearn, reflecting his Irish-Greek birth. He was born on the Ionian island of Lefkada, during the British occupation of the islands, to an Irish father stationed there and a woman from the island of Kythera, on 27 June 1850.

For about a decade, beginning in 1877, Hearn lived in New Orleans while writing for a Cincinnati paper. His interest in Creoles inspired Chita (1889), which first appeared in Harper's Monthly in 1888. The following year, the magazine sent him to the West Indies as a correspondent, which resulted in two books, Two Years in the French West Indies and Youma: The Story of a West-Indian Slave, both published by Harper and Brothers in 1890, the year he went to Japan as a newspaper correspondent.

Hearn arrived in Japan in April 1890 and decided to stay, despite a falling out with his publisher. He got a job as a teacher at a middle school in Matsue in Shimane prefecture.

In February 1891, Koizumi Setsu (1868-1932), a local woman, became Hearn's housekeeper and mistress. They married in August.

In November 1891, accompanied by Setsu, Hearn moved to Kumamoto, where he taught English at a middle school. Hearn moved his family, now including a son, Kazuo, born in 1893, to Kobe in October 1894, where he remained until moving to Tokyo in 1896, after having become Japanese and getting a teaching position at the University of Tokyo.

Hearn and Setsu had four children -- three son's and a daughter. Koizumi Kazuo (小泉一雄 1893-1965), aka Leopold Hearn (レオポルド・へルン), was born on 17 November 1893, Iwao (巌) on 15 February 1897, and Kiyoshi (清) on 20 December 1899. Suzuko (寿々子), their only daughter, was born on 10 September 1904 -- a year before her father's death, of a heart attack, on 26 September 1904.

Hearn is buried in Zōshigaya Reien (雑司ヶ谷霊園), a cemetery in Tokyo.


Koyama on Hearn

Koyama Noboru, however, reports that permission was granted on 12 December 1895, and describes the particulars as follows (Koyama 1995: 270, No. 191).

Lafcadio Hearn (英国)

外国人入夫 Lafcadio Hearn は英文学者で、帰化後の日本名は小泉八雲。外国人入夫申請時には神戸市在留。小泉セツは島根県松江市平民。

Lafcadio Hearn (British)
Koizumi Setsu

Alien incoming husband Lafcadio Hearn, English literature scholar, post-naturalization Japanese name Koizumi Yakumo. At time of alien incoming-husband application residing in Kobe city. Koizumi Setsu, Shimane prefecture, Matsue city, commoner.

The "12 December 1895" falls within the range of dates with which other researchers have bracketed the submission and approval of the petition for permission of an incoming husband alliance (see representations of Hasegawa's and Okeno's reports below).

Koyama is tabulating information obtained from a variety of government records which he describes in some detail, both with respect to availability and limitations (pages 106-107).

Note that though Koyama calls "Koizumi Yakumo" a "post-naturalization" name -- he characterizes the application as related to "alien incoming husband" -- though he does not state who made it.

From the nature of the 1873 proclamation and its 1898 revision, it would appear that Japanese applied for permission. It was, after all, a measure to permit Japanese to make an alliance of marriage or adoption with an alien, which if permitted would cause status changes in their family register.

Nomenclature problems

Unfortunately, Koyama does not raise, or seem concerned with, such issues. While briefly describing his official sources, and noting how in some respects their particulars differ, he does not show facsimiles of examples of such records, nor does he otherwise clarify the problem of nomenclature.

Koyama uses 国際結婚 to conflate the terms in the titles of his primary sources. His principle source is 内外人民結婚雑件 (Naigai jinmin kekkon zakken) or "Inside/outside person marriage miscellaneous matters" -- in the archives of the Diplomatic Record Office of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (外務省外交史料館 Gaimushō Gaikōshi Ryōkan). He also refers to a 内外人結婚簿 (Naigaijin kekkon bo) or "Insider/outsider marriage register) and a 内外国人結婚簿 (Naigaikokujin kekkonbo) or "Inlander/outlander marriage register" -- both in the Tokyo Metropolitan Archives (東京都公文書館 Tōkyōto Kōbunsho Kan).

Koyama remarks that certain reports in the government's Official Gazette (官報 Kanpō) report "name, nationality, and year-month-day of approval" (名前、国籍、許可年月日). However, according to his notes, which reveal the content of some such reports, people were identified by terms like 英国人 (Englishman), 米国人 (American), and 清国人 (Chinese) -- which are not "nationalities" but "statuses" on a par with 日本人 (Japanese) (Koyama 1995: 107, 248 note 69).

Moreover, nowhere does Koyama clarify whether 帰化 was used in referring to such marriages. No where does this term appear in his discussion of sources of cases he tabulates. He uses the term himself when talking about De Becker's query concerning ways to naturalize -- and his source is 内外人帰化関係雑件 (Insider/outsider naturalization miscellaneous records) -- also in the archives of the Diplomatic Record Office of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (外務省外交史料館 Gaimushō Gaikōshi Ryōkan) (Koyama 1995: 114-115, 259 note 73). This is his only reference to this source -- and it is the only source in his entire book that had 帰化 in its title.


Hyogo Bungakukan chronology

Hearn and his family, consisting then of Setsu and Kazuo, moved to Kobe in October 1894. One chronology of Hearn's activities in Kobe on the Lafcadio Hearn Gallery on the Hyogo Net Museum of Literature (兵庫文学館 Hyōgo Bungakukan) describes his change of status to Japanese as follows (the descriptive terms are as shown on the website).

July 1895   Makes determination to take nationality of Japan (日本と国籍を取る Nihon kokuseki o toru).

Early November 1895   Submission of request to naturalize (帰化願書 kika gansho) to governor of Hyogo prefecture Sufu Kōhei (周布公平).

14 February 1896   Naturalization procedure (帰化手続き kika tetsuzuki) ends, becomes "Koizumi Yakumo".

Exactly who applied for what, and when, however, are anything but clear. "Hearn Kobe Letters" feature on the same website includes a chronological note -- between a letter to Ellwood Hendrick dated 31 August 1895, and another a letter to Nishida Sentaro dated April 1896 -- which states "15 January 1896, 46 years old, nyūfu permitted, name changed to 'Koizumi Yakumo'" (明治29(1896)年1月15日 46歳、入夫許可され「小泉八雲」と改名).


Yushodo Shoten scenario

Yet another web source states that "on 10 February 1896 finally [his] naturalization was approved, and Lafcadio Hearn was registered in the Koizumi family and became 'Koizumi Yakumo'" (1896年(明治29)2月10日、ようやく帰化が認可されて、ラフカディオ・ハーンは小泉家に入籍して、“小泉八雲”となった) (Hearn feature on website of Yushodo Shoten, a publishing house in Tokyo).

The Yūshōdō Shoten (雄松堂書店) site alleges that (1) Hearn moved to Kobe in 1894 to be close to the foreign settlement there, in consideration of the future of his "mixed-blood-child" (混血児) son, who had been born the year before, and (2) Hearn naturalized in order to protect his family property rights, as a treaty had been signed that would end his extraterritorial rights in 1899.


Koizumi Setsu

The life of Koizumi (Inagaki) Setsu (1868-1932) took numerous turns and twists before she met and settled down with Lafcadio Hearn.

Koizumi Setsu (小泉セツ 1868-1932) was the 2nd daughter of Koizumi Minato (小泉湊), a Matsue gentry (i.e., former) samurai (士族 shizoku), and Che (チエ). Setsu became Hearn's housekeeper and mistress in early 1891, a few months after he arrived in Japan, and by the end of the year they had married in a social ceremony. However, they did not legitimize their marriage until 1896, when he entered her family register as an "incoming husband" (nyūfu 入夫), thus becoming a Japanese national named Koizumi Yakumo. Hearn appears to have acquired the name "Yakumo" from Setsu's relatives at the time they married. He became Japanese shortly after they moved to Kobe, and just before they moved to Tokyo, where he died in 1904.

Koizumi Setsu's time-line

26 February 1868   Born the 2nd daughter and 4th of 6 children of Koizumi Minato and Chie.

Hasegawa 1997 (see below) has 2 February 1868 but, the family registers reproduced in Ikeno 2004 (see below) show "Meiji 1-3-4" (明治元年二月四日生), a lunar calendar date corresponding to 26 February 1868 on the Gregorian solar calendar. The Meiji period didn't begin until "Keiō 4-9-8" (慶応四年九月八日) or 23 October 1868. Setsu was in "Keiō 4-2-4" (慶応四年二月四日生), but in later registers, Keiō 4 dates are written as Meiji 1.

Shortly after birth   Adopted out to the childless family of Inagaki Kinjūrō (稲垣金十郎) and Tomi (トミ).

After the abolishment of the samurai caste in the early 1870s, Setsu's natural father prospered as a samurai-turned-entrepreneur, while her adoptive father, less flexible in his ways, fell on hard times.

During teens   Setsu worked as a weaver in her natural father's textile mill.

18 years old [1885-1887]   Setsu was married to Tameji, the son of another impoverished former samurai family, who agreed to enter the Inagaki family as an adopted son-in-law.

19 years old (May 1887)   Setsu's father Koizumi Minato dies.

26 February 1868   Born the 2nd daughter and last of 6 children of Koizumi Minato and Chie.

Hasegawa has 2 February 1868 but Ikeno's family register shows "Meiji 1-3-4" (明治元年二月四日生), a lunar calendar date corresponding to 26 February 1868 on the Gregorian solar calendar. The Meiji period didn't begin until "Keiō 4-9-8" (慶応四年九月八日) or 23 October 1868. Setsu was in "Keiō 4-2-4" (慶応四年二月四日生), but in later registers, Keiō 4 dates are written as Meiji 1.

Shortly after birth   Adopted out to the childless family of Inagaki Kinjūrō and Tomi.

After the abolishment of the samurai caste in the early 1870s, Setsu's natural father prospered for a while as a samurai-turned-entrepreneur, while her adoptive father, less flexible in his ways and naive, was deceived by a business partner and fell on hard times. (Hasegawa 1997, pages 69, 72)

During teens   Setsu worked as a weaver in her natural father's textile mill. (Hasegawa 1997, page 72)

18 years old [1885-1887]   Setsu was married to Tameji, the son of another impoverished former samurai family, who agreed to enter the Inagaki family as an adopted son-in-law. However, the family's fortunes did not improve. (Hasegawa 1997, pages 73-74)

The object of the adoptions of first a daughter, and then a son-in-law, was enable the Inagaki family would go on in name -- even if not in blood. It is commonly pointed out that Japanese families, while preferring lineal succession as do families in other countries, consider the continuation of the family's name more important than continuation of its blood line -- hence the provisions in its older family laws that facilitated various kinds of adoption for the purpose of ensuring that the family would have heirs.

The Koizumi family also began to have difficulties. Koizumi Minato weaving factory went bankrupt in the face of stiff competition from cotton imports and a depression. His oldest son refused to accept the responsibilities of the head of household and disappeared. The second son died. The third son turned out to be a good-for-nothing. The 4th and youngest son, like Setsu, had been adopted out. Setsu's older sister, Sue, had not yet married. Chie had been raised to be beautiful and polite, and was not adept at making a living or caring for people, so when Minato was sick, it fell to Setsu, who was still working as a weaver, to care for him -- and later for her mother, as well as for her adoptive family. (Hasegawa 1997, pages 76-79)

19 years old (May 1887)   Setsu's father Koizumi Minato dies. (Hasegawa 1997, page 78)

February 1891   Setsu becomes Lafcadio Hearn's housekeeper and mistress.

Fall 1891   Setsu and Hearn marry in a civil ceremony but the marriage is not yet registered.

17 November 1893   Their 1st son, Kazuo, is born.

27 August 1895   Setsu established as head of household of Koizumi branch family.

25 September 1895   Kazuo registered as Setsu's out-of-wedlock child in register of main Koizumi family.

10 February 1896   Hearn enters Setsu's family register as her husband and becomes Koizumi Yakumo. Their marriage is thus legitimized.

12 February 1896   Setsu resigns as head of household.

13 February 1896   Koizumi Yakumo succeeds to headship of Koizumi branch family.

14 February 1896   Kazuo entered in Koizumi branch family register as son of Yakumo and Setsu, thus legitimating his status.

15 February 1897   2nd son Iwao born.

22 December 1899   3rd son Kiyoshi born.

This date is based on representation of Koizumi Yakumo's family register in Ikeno 2004 (page 190). Hasegawa 1997 has 20 December 1899 (page 329)

24 September 1901   2nd son Iwao adopted out to Inagaki family.

10 September 1903   Daughter Suzuko born.

26 September 1904   Koizumi Yakumo, alias Lafcadio Hearn, dies.

18 February 1932   Setsu dies.

Relict of Yakumo Koizumi

Setsu, who later went by Setsuko, would live another 28 years and die in Tokyo. She died on 18 February 1932, and (Time Magazine ran the following obituary on Monday, 29 February 1932.

Died. Setsuko Koizumi, 69, relict of Yakumo Koizumi (Lafcadio Hearn); of arteriosclerosis; in Tokyo. In 1891 Lafcadio Hearn went to Japan to write articles for Harper's Magazine. Quarrelsome, he broke his contract because the illustrator was to get more money than he, was stranded until friends got him a job teaching school in Matsue. There he married Setsuko Koizumi, was adopted into her family, became a Japanese citizen and a professor in the Imperial University. He died in 1904, leaving three sons and a daughter. Kazuo, 39, lives on inherited money, collects curios. Iwao, 35, tall, handsome, soldierly, teaches school. Kiyoshi, 32, is a musician. All married Japanese women. Daughter Suzuko, an invalid, is unmarried at 28.


Hearn's motivation

Setsu's story is partly told in the following books by Hasegawa Yōji, who has devoted much of his life to a study of Hearn and his family in Japan.

Hasegawa 1997

Yoji Haseqawa
A Walk in Kumamoto
(The Life and Times of Setsu Koizumi, Lafcadio Hearn's Japanese Wife)
[Including a New Translation of Her Memoir 'Reminiscences']
Folkestone (Kent): Global Oriental (Global Books), 1997
x, 342 pages, hardcover

This is not as authoritative as the revision of Hasegawa's earlier book in Japan. I am citing it here mainly because to address its lack of clarity on the manner of Hearn's acquisition of Japanese nationality. The following book, and Ikeno 2004 (see below), are superior sources.

Hasegawa 2014 (1988)

長谷川 洋二 Hasegawa Yōji
八雲の妻 ― 小泉セツの生涯
Yakumo no tsuma: Koizumi Setsu no shōgai
[Yakumo's wife: The life of Koizumi Setsu]
<The Life of Setsu Koizumi / Lafcadio Hearn's Wife>
松江:今井書店、平成二十六年 (二〇一四) 五月二十一日初版発行
Matsue: Imai Shoten, 21 May Heisei 26 (2014)
359, xxxvi, soft cover395 pages, hardcover

This is represented as 小泉八雲の妻 (松江今井書店、1988) の全面改稿新版 -- a total revision and new edition of Koizumi Yakumo no tsuma or "Koizumi Yakumo's wife" (Matsue Imai Shoten, 1988).

Hasegawa, in Chapter 4, Hearn's and Setsu's Married Life, of his 1997 book, comments at length on what motivated Hearn to become Japanese. Here are some excerpts (pages 121-122, (parentheses) and italics Hasegawa's, [brackets] and underscoring mine).

Hearn's devoted love for [his first son] Kazuo [born 17 November 1893] urged him to reach an early decision on the most appropriate measures for legalizing his marriage, thereby securing his family's livelihood in the event of his sudden death. Within two years, he finally resolved to take the steps towards his own naturalization, steps that virtually no other Westerners of note had opted for, nor would opt for, in modern Japanese history. [Hasegawa 1997, page 121]

steps that virtually no other Westerners of note had opted for, nor would opt for, in modern Japanese history
This is a very loopy statement. What other period of Japanese history might "Westerners" -- of note or otherwise -- have had "options" to change their allegiance to Japan? The statement falls short of claiming that Hearn was "the first Westerner" or even "one of the first Westerners" -- but it does raise questions about the vanity of status-conscious biographical writing about "Westerns of note". And it clearly raises questions about (1) the racialist vanity, common in writing about Japan, of exceptionalizing "Westerners" -- a minority within the minority of putatively "non-Japanese" in Japan.

Once he stated to his friend Alice Rollins: 'I feel inclined to become a Japanese citizen, and to get rid of the passport difficulties. Perhaps I will do so yet. I am now almost Japanese.' [Hasegawa 1997, page 121]

Hearn's final decision on his naturalization came solely from his over-whelming concern about his family. Being increasingly conscious of the precariousness of his life, Hearn became particularly anxious for the assurance of his family's rightful inheritance of his property, keeping his brother and three half sisters in mind regarding his future royalties. [Hasegawa 1997, page 122]

The most detailed description of the legal system that prevailed at the time comes from an article in the July 1905 issue of The Atlantic Monthly by Nobushige Amenomori (pages 510-525). Hasegawa cites the following excerpt (pages 122-123, (parentheses) and italics Hasegawa's, [brackets] and underscoring mine).

Hearn's Japanese friend Nobushige Amenomori, who, living in Yokohama, was undoubtedly one of the persons most familiar with the particulars of international marriage in Japan, states soon after Hearn's death:

  For his family he worked hard, and suffered much. For their sake he lived in 'Hell', went to 'the treadmill', 'the grind', and bore hardships such as he would never have borne, had he remained single . . . [he wrote to me,] 'If I didn't belong to other and happier lives than my own, I think I should like to become a monk.'
  Indeed, it was solely for the sake of those 'other and happier lives' that depended on him for subsistence, that he became a Japanese subject. Previous to the coming into force of the revised [extraterritorial] treaties, and while there obtained in Japan the extraterritorial jurisdiction of the treaty-powers, properties left intestate by the foreigners that had married Japanese wives used to go, not to their families in this country, but to their relations at home. Hearn knew this, and therefore wished to put it beyond dispute, by getting himself naturalized in this country, that his whole estate -- whatever that might be -- should devolve on his family he so much loved. But there was then in Japan no law of naturalization except by adoption. Under such circumstances the only way open to him of obviating the difficulties was to get himself adopted in the family of his wife's father. Accordingly he did so, and assumed the Japanese name of Yakumo Koizumi. On this matter I find it inconvenient to quote from his letters to substantiate the foregoing statements, because the letters are of a character too personal to be printed. But I am in position to say that his anxiety for the welfare of his family was the only motive of his assumption of Japanese citizenship, because I was one of the few friends he consulted on the business at the time; and I like him the more for this marked demonstration of his love of his wife and children.
('Lafcadio Hearn, the Man' Atlantic Monthly, Vol.96, 1905) [Hasegawa 1997, pages 122-123]

he became a Japanese subject . . . his assumption of Japanese citizenship
Hearn was never a "citizen" of any state. Many writers casually confuse and conflate "subject" and "citizen" and "subjecthood" and "citizenship". Britain and Japan at the time defined "subjects". The United States defined "citizens". Hearn, a British subject, became Koizumi, a Japanese subject.

But there was then in Japan no law of naturalization except by adoption
Biographers of Hearn and others who became Japanese at the time commonly describe their change of allegiance as "naturalization" but, technically speaking, they did not naturalize. Whether Hearn was "adopted" as a son-in-law -- called "son-in-law adoption" (muko yōshi 婿養子) -- or as a husband -- called "incoming husband" (nyū 入夫) is not clear here. Neither avenue to becoming Japanese, however, was regarded as "naturalization" in the 1899 Nationality Law. At the time Hearn became Japanese, "kika" (帰化) -- as it had been for more than a millennium in Japan -- was a matter of "change of allegiance" rather than "naturalization" -- a European metaphor that does not accurately characterize the process of becoming a subject of Japan through adoption into a Japanese family.

Hearn's "incoming husband" timeline

Hasegawa, in his 1997 book, describes the following timeline of events in Chapter 4, Hearn's and Setsu's Married Life (pages 126-127), and in Appendix 6, A Detailed Chronology of Events of Lafcadio Hearn's Life in Japan (pages 321-322). In the following representation, the (parentheses), italics, and the [blue brackets] in the "Chronology" are Hasegawa's. All other [bracketed comments] and the underscoring are mine. The bracketed [red numbers] -- also mine -- show the apparent order of events in Hasegawa's somewhat scrambled narrative.

In the next two months Hearn finally began to follow the necessary procedures for legitimizing Setsu and Kazuo's status as his wife and son. The year 1895 was, on the one hand, successful -- the year when Hearn for the first time expressed his confidence in managing to support his family by his literary work alone. It was also, on the other hand, debilitating -- the year when he had some symptoms of heart failure according to Nina Kennard who heard various stories about Hearn from Setsu. In addition, it was the year that Japan witnesses a surge of xenophobia that was triggered by the Russian, French, and German intervention against Japan -- in late April -- in the settlement of the Sino-Japanese War. This antipathy against foreigners might have affected the balance between his hesitation in discarding his British passport and his readiness to take Japanese citizenship, as his close friend Ellwood Hendrick assumes.

Whatever the background of his final decision was, Hearn sent several letters to [his friend] Nishida [Sentarō] beginning in August, asking him to assist Reitarō Takagi to impress upon Matsue's city office the importance of its speedy transactions of the Hearn family register. (Takagi was a relative of Setsu's foster family and father of Hearn and Setsu's first maid, Yao, whom Hearn called O-Yoshi in his letters.)

Thus, [2} a branch family of the Koizumis was founded with Setsu as its head on 27 August of the same year, and [6} Hearn's name was entered in the register as Setsu's husband on 10 February of the next year (1896). [7} Setsu was replaced by Hearn as head of the family on the 13th [of February 1896]. [3} Kazuo had been tentatively registered in the Koizumi head family as an illegitimate child in September of the previous year [1895]. But now, [8a} on 14 February [1896], he [Koizumi Kazuo] was moved to this Koizumi branch family as their legitimate child. [8b} On the same day, Hearn's application for his naturalization was formally approved by the governor of Hyōgo Prefecture, where Kōbe City is located. [4] Hearn had submitted the application on 6 November of the previous year (1895). Setsu was interrogated twice -- first at home and then at the city office -- by the city officials in charge as to whether, for example, she had been kindly treated by Hearn. [5} The prefectural governor's request for Hearn's oath of allegiance to the Emperor of Japan was dealt with by the British consul without bothering Hearn in early January, 1896. Such were the painstakingly complicated procedures Hearn had to follow, while all the time consulting with his lawyer Masujima. [Hasegawa 1997, pages 126-127]

A Detailed Chronology of Events of Hearn's Life in Japan

August ?: Hearn started his naturalization procedures. [1} Requested Nishida [Sentarō] to help him with the necessary family register in Matsue (21 Aug.). [ . . . omitted . . . After his [4] formal application for naturalization to the governor of Hyōgo Prefecture (6 Nov.), Setsu was twice interrogated by the city officials as to whether, for example, Hearn was kind to her. [5} The prefectural governor's request for Hearn's oath of allegiance to the Emperor of Japan was dealt with by the British consul without bothering Hearn in early January 1896.] (Hasegawa 1997, pages 321-322, (parentheses) and [blue brackets] Hasegawa's, other [brackets] and underscoring mine)

14 February: Hearn was legally naturalized [7} while all the procedures for his family register were completed with Hearn as head of the branch house of Koizumi. (Hasegawa 1997, page 322)

The prefectural governor's request for Hearn's oath of allegiance to the Emperor of Japan was dealt with by the British consul without bothering Hearn in early January, 1896
I would guess that Britain, which at the time had extraterritorial rights in Japan, had jurisdiction over private matters concerning its subjects in Japan. In other words, Japan did not at the time have the right to unilaterally obtain an oath of allegiance from a British subject. Hence -- again, I am guessing -- the local Japanese authority requested that the putative oath of allegiance to Japan -- which would have implied a renunciation of allegiance to the British Crown -- be administered at the British legation. I get the impression that Hearn delegated this matter to Masujima Rokuichiō (増島六一郎 1857-1948), an attorney who had studied law in Britain, qualified there as a barrister, and founded the "English Law School" (英吉利法律学校 Igirisu Hōritsu Gakkō) in Tokyo in 1885. The school became today's Chūō University (中央大学 Chūō Daigaku), still known mainly for its law department.

Hasegawa's description of the events is both tangled and lacking in particulars. I gather that the following register actions took place.

  1. [1] ? August 1895   Process of permitting Hearn to join Koizumi family begins
    1. Hasegawa never describes the "process" so it is not clear what the process was.
  2. [2] 27 August 1895   Branch family of Koizumi family is established with Setsu as its head
    1. This is most likely a preliminary step to the actual process of applying for permission for Hearn to join the Koizumi family.
  3. [3] ? September 1895   Kazuo tentatively registered in head Koizumi family as illegitimate child
    1. It is not clear what Kazuo's status was prior to this. Nor is it clear why he was registered in the main family register after Setsu had already established her own branch register. Kazuo's status in either register would have been that of an "illegitimate" child. The impression is that he hadn't been registered anywhere -- that he didn't yet exist in the eyes of either Japanese or British law. While he was later moved to the branch family register after Hearn had entered the register Koizumi Yakumo, Setsu's husband, was his registration in the main family register seen as "tentative" at the time he was registered there?
  4. [4] 6 November 1895   Hearn submits application
    1. It is not clear exactly what sort of application Hearn submitted, or to whom he submitted it. It is not clear that he himself submitted it, or that it was even legally possible for him to submit an application on his own authority. Elsewhere, Hasegawa describes applications for status actions as having been submitted the head of the main branch of the Koizumi family, who had such authority (see below).
  5. [5] Early January 1896   Hyōgo prefectural governor requests that Hearn's oath of allegiance to the Emperor of Japan be handled by the British consul
    1. Presumably this was because of extraterritoriality, under which Japan did not have jurisdiction over the private matters of British subjects, including nationality and marriage. Hence Hearn was required to make whatever oath was required in the witness of a British consul, which presumably would include, or have the effect of, renouncing his allegiance to the British crown.
  6. [6] 10 February 1896   Hearn's name entered in Setsu's register as her husband
  7. [7] 13 February 1896   Setsu replaced by Hearn as head of family
    1. Why Hearn's entry as Setsu's husband [6] didn't automatically make him the head of the family [7] is not clear. Were the two status actions not inseparable and therefore simultaneous? Or were they initiated by different requests? Did the later require independent confirmation?
  8. [8a] 14 February 1896   Koizumi Kazuo moved to Koizumi branch family as their legitimate child.
    1. Presumably Kazuo had to be either acknowledged or adopted by Koizumi Yakumo in order for him to be moved into Koizumi Yakumo's register. Note that the register was no longer Setsu's. She was in it, but she was no longer the head of household, and so she no longer had the authority to have Kazuo moved to the register. Even Yakumo could not had Kazuo moved to his register without the approval of the head of the main Koizumi family in which Kazuo was registered.
  9. [8b] 14 February 1896   Hyōgo prefectural governor approves Hearn's application for "naturalization"
    1. How could "Hearn's application" have been approved 4 days after he entered Setsu's register and became Koizumi Yakumo?


Convenience of Japanese nationality

Hearn had the option of obtaining British nationality for his family in Japan, but he writes a Mrs. Atkinson in England in May 1893 that he thinks it would be "cruel even to try" to take to her to Europe and "accustom her to Western life" (Hasegawa 1997, page 124; Hasegawa 2014, page 180).

In January 1894, shortly after the birth of Kazuo on 17 November 1893, Hearn wrote a letter to Basil Chamberlain, in which he says that 'The only grim outlook is death -- because I am much older than I like to be; in that case English citizenship would be of no use my folk [in Japan]' (Hasegawa 1997, page 124, underscoring mine). Hasegawa translates this 「ただ残酷な見込みとして死があります。何しろそうありたいと思うよりはるかに、私は年老いているからです。その場合は家族にとって、英国籍などは全く無用となります」(Hasegawa 2014, page 180, underscoring mine).

Hearn -- a subject, not citizen, of Britain -- speaks of "citizenship" like an American. Hasegawa speaks of "nationality" (国籍 kokuseki) like a Japanese. Or, to put it somewhat differently, Hasegawa speaks of the legal status Hearn would possesses, whether as a "subject" of Great Britain or Japan or as a "citizen" of the United States, under the domestic laws of these countries.

Hasegawa then cites what Hearn wrote to Mrs. Atkinson (presumably, he says, around the same time as he wrote Chamberlain in early 1894), about the effects of Setsu and Kazuo becoming "English citizens" (underscoring mine).

' . . . by the law, if I register my wife or son in the [British] Consulate, both become English citizens, and lose the right to hold any property or do any business in Japan, or even to live in the interior without a passport.' (Hasegawa 1997, page 124)

「……(えいこくせきならば、、)法律によって、二人はイギリス国民となり、日本で土地を所有したり商売をする権利を失い、パスポートなしに内陸部に住むことすら出来なくなるのです」(Hasegawa 2014, page 180)

Here, too, "English citizen" is Japanized as "English national" (イギリス国民 Igirisu kokumin. Hasegawa's translation of "interior" as "nairikubu" (内陸部) is somewhat odd, in view of the fact that, at the time, the term "naichi" (内地) was used to refer to the parts of Japan outside the extraterritorial foreign settlements. After Taiwan joined Japan's sovereign dominion in 1895, and the term was used to differentiate the prefectural "Interior" (内地 Naichi) of the empire of Japan from Taiwan, and later also Karafuto (1905, a prefecture from 1943), and Chōsen (as Korea was called after its annexation in 1910).

Hasegawa adds that "Perhaps his [Hearn's] greatest concern, which he did not mention in this letter to his half sister, was that he could not be sure that his family would be able to inherit his fortune and royalties automatically" (Hasegawa 1997, page 124).


Koizumi family registers

The following study by Ikeno Makoto has modern text representations of three Koizumi family registers. Though not as good as facsimiles of the actual registers, they reflect the complexity of Setsu's life and the lives of other family members.

Ikeno 2004

池野誠 Ikeno Makoto
Koizumi Yakumo to Matsue jidai
[Koizumi Yakumo and the Matsue period]
Tokyo: Chūsekisha, 25 July 2004
360 pages, hardcover

These registers, and commentary on details regarding their particulars in Hasegawa's 2014 revision of his 1988 book (see above), give us a fairly clear picture of way in which the Koizumi family juggled it's registers in order to accommodate Hearn's addition to the family.

Koizumi Minato's family register
showing Koizumi family after his death
and until start of Setsu's branch family

This register begins with the Shimane prefecture, Matsue city address of the register, then shows the status, gentry (士族 shizoku) -- and the name of the former head of household, Koizumi Minato (小泉湊).

The 1st listed member of the register is its present head, Minato's 3rd son, Koizumi Tōzaburō.

The 2nd listed is Tōzaburō's mother Chie (チエ), who was born on 25 April 1837 (Tenpo 8-3-21), the oldest daughter of Gentry descendant of the Shiomi family.

The 3rd listed is Koizumi Ujitarō, who was born on 28 March 1858 (Ansei 5-2-14). He would have been 1st listed, and perhaps had been 1st listed for a while after his father's death, but on 15 August 1895 he was declared to have lost his right of succession (see below).

These and the members are best introduced in the order of the dates of the most important status actions recorded on the register.

13 January 1890   Setsu, the deceased Minato's daughter, born 26 February 1968 (Meiji Gannen 2-4), later the adopted child (養子 yōshi) of Gentry Inagaki Kinjūrō, and the wife of Tameji (為二), is restored [to Koizumi register] due to a divorce (士族稲垣金十郎養子為二妻離婚ニ付復帰). (Ikeno 2004, Register 1, page 188)

Setsu's husband, Inagaki Tameji, unable to stand the heat in the kitchen of his adopted family and its hopeless poverty, had run off and left Setsu to fend for herself. Back in Matsue, she "followed the necessary procedures at the city hall for dissolving her legal marriage with Tameji and reregistering her name under the house of Koizumi." Tameji remained registered in the Inagaki family. Setsu was concerned that the Koizumi name would die out. (Hasegawa 1997, page 79)

Economically, the Koizumi family was also having considerable difficulties. Chie's once prominent birth family, with problems of its own, was unable to help, and Chie had to sell her possessions to get money to buy food. In time, she was reduced to begging -- and Setsu, 22 in 1890, was herself desperate to do what she could for her family. (Hasegawa 1997, page 80

February 1891   Enter Lafcadio Hearn, who arrived in Matsue in August 1890. Setsu began to live with him, normally as his housekeeper, but soon as his mistress, around February the following year, and they were informally married that year -- i.e., the marriage consisted of a civil ceremony, which has social but no legal significance. (Hasegawa 1997, Chapter 3)

14 May 1892   Koizumi Chiyonosuke (小泉千代之助), born 30 June 1878 the 4th son of the late Koizumi Minato, the adopted presumptive heir (養嗣子 yō-shishi) of the commoner Iwami Seiichi, is restored to the Koizumi register due to a divorce (平民岩見精市養嗣子離婚ニ付復帰ス). (Ikeno 2004, Register 1, page 188)

17 November 1893   Koizumi Kazuo, the 1st of Setsu's and Hearn's 4 children -- 3 sons and 1 daughter -- was born. They would adopt out their 2nd son, born in 1897, to the Inagaki family, which Setsu continued to help.

15 August 1895   Koizumi Ujitarō, Minato's 1st son, and Setsu's oldest brother, born 28 March 1858, is disinherited pursuant to a request to nullify his right of successorship (願廃嫡 gan-haichaku), in a notification dated 9 August, in which it was remarked that he had disappeared on an uncertain day in December 1886. (Ikeno 2004, Register 1, page 188)

Koizumi Minato died in 1887 -- a year before Ujitarō's disappearance. Presumably someone would have formally succeeded Minato as the head of household, and presumably this would have been Tōzaburō, as the 2nd son, Takemasu, had died.

21 August 1895   Koizumi Tōzaburō, the 3rd son, succeeded to (相続 sōzoku) the headship (戸主 koshu) of the Koizumi family. Born 28 July 1870 (Meiji 3-6-25), he was two years younger than Setsu. Ujitarō's and Setsu's status relationships to him as head of the household are respectively "older brother" (兄 ani) and "older sister" (姉 ane). (Ikeno 2004, Register 1, pages 187-188)

25 September 1895   Koizumi Kazuo, born 17 November 1893, is entered in the Koizumi register as Setsu's privately-born-son [out-of-wedlock son] (私生男 shiseinan), pursuant to a late filing of an omitted notification of birth (出生届漏 shussei-todoke rō). His status relationship to the head of household is "nephew" (甥 oi). (Ikeno 2004, Register 1, page 188)

Apparently the notification included a note from the head of household apologizing for the omission (Hasegawa 2014, page 183). Setsu, even had she still been in the register, would not have had the authority to submit a notification of birth or of any other status action, even one concerning her. Only the head of a household -- if not the head of the main branch of an extended family -- had the authority to notify or petition authorities regarding registration matters.

Ordinarily, a marriage which had been socially sanctioned by a civil ceremony would have been registered, hence legalized, by or soon after the birth of a child. A childless marriage might remain unregistered, or even annulled if having a child was regarded as a condition for continuation of the marriage. Not only did Setsu remain legally unmarried for over 4 years, but there was a 2-year delay in registering Kazuo as her out-of-wedlock son. The delays undoubtedly had to do with Hearn's status and his ambivalence about his own and his family's nationality. As a British subject, he could have registered Setsu and Kazuo at the British consulate, as his wife and son, and obtained British nationality for them. Under the 1873 proclamation on alliances of marriage and adoption between Japanese and aliens, Setsu would have lost her status as a Japanese. and both would, from the point of view of Japanese law, would have been treated as British subjects the same as Hearn.

3 October 1895   A request for an "alien incoming husband marriage" (外国人入夫結婚 Gaikokujin nyūfu kekkon) was submitted on this date, to the governor of Shimane through the Matsue city hall, presumably by Koizumi Tōzaburō, the head of the main branch of the Koizumi family. The governor heard the petition about 3 months later, on 15 January 1896. (Hasegawa 2014, page 183) See How to become an incoming husband cum head of household below for particulars.

28 October 1895   Koizumi Chie, born on 25 April 1837 (Tenpo 8-3-21), the deceased former head-of-household Koizumi Minato's wife, and the mother of the present head of household, Minato's 3rd son Tōzaburō, enters the register. The register notes that she had first entered the register on 9 January 1878 as the younger sister of the Gentry Shiomi Kohee (塩見小兵衛), and as the oldest daughter of the late [Shiomi] Masuemon (増右衛門). (Ikeno 2004, page 187).

The legends of Chie's life include the story that, when 15 (circa 1852), she was married to a samurai who, on their wedding night, failed to appear in their bed chamber. He was found outside, leaning against a stone lantern, "his belly slashed and his throat cut", with his chambermaid, who was "lying at the foot of a pine tree, her neck almost completely severed" (Hasegawa 1997, pages 64-65). Chie's father, Masuemon, reportedly committed seppuku in Edo on 24 November 1851 (Kaei 4-11-2), in remonstration against his lord. His "remonstration death" (諫死、諌死 kanshi) is the theme of a kabuki kyōgen. (Hasegawa 2014, pages 48-53. Hasegawa 1997, page 63, erroneously represents the lunar date as 2 November 1851.)

Koizumi Setsu's branch family register
showing Setsu as head of household and
Koizumi Yakumo as her husband

1895   Hard times followed, but by 1895 Hearn's star in Japan was rising. It made economic sense -- both for him and for the Koizumi family -- for him to formally join the family and thereby become Japanese. He would have the family he wanted, and the extended family would have a breadwinner and heir, and claim to fame.

Had Koizumi Minato still been alive -- and had Hearn joined the family in order to succeed him -- then Hearn would have entered his father-in-law's register as an "adopted son-in-law". Setsu would have remained in her father's register, not split off as head of a branch family, either before or after Hearn joined the family.

Koizumi Minato's death left Hearn only the choice of joining the family as an "incoming husband" of a female head of household. But this was no possible so long as Setsu remained in her father's -- now his 3rd son's and her 1st younger brother's -- family register.

Setsu's oldest brother, though still in the register, had disappeared, and for that reason he had been formally deprived of his right of succession. Her 2nd older brother had died. So her 1st younger brother succeeded to the head of household. And if for any reason he relinquished his right of succession, Setsu's 2nd younger brother -- having been adopted out but restored to the register on account of a divorce -- was next in line. So Setsu had to be established as the head of her own branch family -- in an independent register -- which Hearn could enter as her husband and, as such, assume the headship and also become Japanese.

Today, newly weds commonly leave their natal registers and establish their own shared register (本籍 honseki). Today, though, adults are free to establish their own registers. Under older family laws, generally all migrations out of or into a register had to be approved by the head of household.

27 August 1895   6 days after her younger brother Tōzaburō succeeded to the headship of the Koizumi family, Setsu leaves the family to establish a branch household (分家) of which she is the sole member and head. (Ikeno 2004, Register 2, page 188)

10 February 1896   Koizumi Yakumo, 1st son of the Englishman Charles Bush Hearn, entered Setsu's family register as her husband, pursuant to a request (願済 negaizumi) dated 15 January 1896. (Ikeno 2004, Register 2, page 189)

12 February 1896   Setsu resigns as head of the family (退隠 taiin). (Ikeno 2004, Register 2, page 189)

Koizumi Yakumo's family register
showing him as the head of household,
Setsu as former head of household, and
Kazuo, Iwao, and Kiyoshi as their sons

The top of the family register showing Koizumi Yakumo as head of household (戸主 koshu) and Setsu as former head (全戸主 zen koshu) has the Matsue address as the register showing Setsu as head.

The social status of the household is "commoner" (平民). Koizumi Yakumo's status in the register is "head of household" (戸主 koshu). His status relationship is "Setsu's incoming husband" (セツ 入夫 Setsu nyūfu).

Setsu's status relationship to the head of household is simply "Wife" (妻 Sai, Tsuma). Her original full status relationship is "wife Setsu is deceased father Minato's 2nd daughter" (妻セツ 亡父 湊二女 Tsuma Setsu bōfu Minato nijo)

10 February 1896   Hearn enters Setsu's family register as her husband and becomes Koizumi Yakumo. Their marriage is thus legitimized.

10 February 1896   Koizumi Yakumo, 1st son of the Englishman gentry Charles Bush Hearn, entered family register pursuant to a request (願済 negaizumi) dated 15 January 1896. (Ikeno 2004, Register 3, page 189)

Englishman gentry
Koizumi Yakumo's father's status has been upgraded to gentry (士族 shizoku) in the particulars showing the origin of Koizumi Yakumo as the head of household of the register. In Setsu's register (see above), his father was just an "Englishman" (英国人 Eikokujin). Here he is an "Englishman gentry" (英国人士族 Eikokujin shizoku). The term "shizoku" (士族) was the status which had been attribted to former samurai such as Setsu's father Koizumi Minato and adoptive father Inagaki Kinjūrō. Though no privilges came with the status, it was nonetheless inherited by successors (whether lineal or adoptive) of its original holder, hence Koizumi Minato's 3rd son, then the head of the main Koizumi family, was a 2nd-generation shizoku.

12 February 1896   Setsu resigns as head of the family (退隠 taiin). (Ikeno 2004, Register 3, page 189)

13 February 1896   Koizumi Yakumo succeeds (相続 sōzoku) to headship of Koizumi branch family.

14 February 1896   Kazuo legitimated in Koizumi Yakumo's register as his and Setsu's in-wedlock issue (嫡出 chakushustsu. On 25 September 1895, he had been entered in the register of the main Koizumi family as Setsu's privately-born-son [out-of-wedlock son] (私生男 shiseinan). The description of his movement into his father's register is as follows (Ikeno 2004, Register 3, page 189, structural translation mine).

14 February 1896 (Meiji 29-2-14), privately-born-child of gentry Koizumi Setsu of Tonomachi of this city [Matsue], accepted (seal)

Due to marriage of father Yakumo and mother Setsu, on 14 February 1896 (Meiji 29-2-14), becomes in-wedlock issue (seal)

How to become an incoming husband cum head of household

It's easy. All you need is the backing of the adopting family -- the main branch of your de facto wife's branch family, which will file a petition on it's, not your, behalf. Then you wait a few months, during which you and your not yet de jure wife field a few questions to confirm that you are fully qualified to wear the pants in her family. And one day the prefectural governor will permit the municipal registrar to enroll you in your wife's register as her incoming husband and its new head of household.

The sequence of official actions regarding how British subject Lafcadio Hearn become Japanese subject Koizumi Yakumo -- the incoming husband of Setsu, the oldest daughter of the deceased Koizumi Minato, and the head of her own branch family of Minato's family, now headed by his 3rd son and her 1st younger brother Tōzaburō, who initiated the petition for the alliance of her marriage with your and your adoption into the family -- was roughly like this, according to Hasegawa (2014, page 183).

3 October 1895   A request for an "alien incoming husband marriage" (外国人入夫結婚 Gaikokujin nyūfu kekkon) was submitted on this date, presumably by Koizumi Tōzaburō, "through consultation (deliberation) among relatives" [after a family conference (council)] (親戚協議ノ上 shinseki kyōgi no ue), probably at Matsue city Hall.

15 January 1896   The request was not dispensed with at Matsue city hall, but "troubled the governor of Shimane prefecture" by whom it was "heard" on this date (松江市役所で済まされず、島根県知事を煩わせて、・・・「聞届」けられる Shimane-ken chiji o wazurawasete, . . . "kikitodo"kerareru).

12 February 1896   Commoner Koizumi Yakumo's wife Setsu resigns as head of household of the branch family in which he has become an incoming husband and afterward he succeeds her (退隠跡相続 taiin ato sōzoku).

13 February 1896   A "request" [by Koizumi Yakumo] in which he "recognizes Koizumi Tōzaburō's older sister Setsu's privately-born-child Kazuo as [my] son Kazuo" (「小泉藤三郎姉セツ私生子男一雄ヲ子ト認メ」る「願」"Koizumi Tōzaburō ane Setsu shiseishi nan Kazuo o motome"ru) is made on this day day.

14 February 1896   The above request is "approved" (「承諾」"shōdaku") on this, the following day.

As noted above, Ikeno's representation of the register shows Setsu's "resignation" (退隠 taiin) as head of household on 12 February, Yakumo's succession as head of household on 13 February, and Kazuo's legitimation on 14 February (Ikeno 2004, Register 3, page 189.

That's 14-15 weeks -- 3-4 months -- to become Japanese in the late 1890s -- before promulgation and enforcement of the first Nationality Law in 1899. Today the wait from filing an application for permission to naturalize, and approval, is typically between 6 months and 1 year.


Hearn's Kobe letters

The "Kobe Chronicle" letters are from Elizabeth Bisland, The Life and Letters of Lafcadio Hearn, Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1906, two volumes, which are volumes 13 and 14 of The Writings of Lafcadio HearnBoston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1922, sixteen volumes.

Hearn made the following remarks in letters he wrote while in Kobe the months just before and after he became Koizumi Yakumo. I have cited the remarks from extracts of his letters posted on the Haan Kobe de no tegami [Letters Hearn (wrote) at Kobe] page of Netto Myuujiamu Hyōgo Bungaku Kan (Hyogo Net Museum of Literature) website.

The extracts are from The Life and Letters of Lafcadio Hearn (Houghton Mifflin, 1906), a two-volume collection edited by Elizabeth Bisland [Wetmore] (1861-1929). These were republished as Volumes 13-15 of the sixteen-volume The Writings of Lafcadio Hearn (Houghton Mifflin, 1922 limited edition, 1923 trade edition). Bisland also edited a third volume, The Japanese Letters of Lafcadio Hearn (1910), which became Volume 16 of the later work.

Kazuo Koizumi was the author of Father and I: Memories of Lafcadio Hearn (Houghton Mifflin Company, 1935) and Re-Echo (Caxton Printers, 1957, edited by Nancy Jane Fellers), and the editor of Letters from B. H. Chamberlain to Lafcadio Hearn (Hokuseido Press, 1936).

Patrick Lafcadio Hearn (1850-1904) married Koizumi Setsu in 1891, renounced his British nationality in 1895, and was adopted into the Koizumi register as Koizumi Yakumo ("Haun" in Sino-Japanese) in 1896.

Lafcadio Hearn married Koizumi Setsu in 1891, renounced his British nationality in 1895, and was permitted to be her "incoming husband" on 12 December 1895. Apparently he was enrolled in the Koizumi register, and formally became Koizumi Yakumo ("Haun" in Sino-Japanese), in January the following year.

One Internet posting claims he was finally enrolled in the Koizumi register on 10 February 1896. The same posting alleged that Hearn sought to become Japanese in order to protect his family property. Supposedly Hearn was concerned about expected changes in the status of foreigners.

It is true that, on 16 July 1894, Japan and Britain had signed a new Treaty of Commerce and Navigation (日英通商航海条約 Nichi-Ei tsūshō kōkai jōyaku), which would come into effect five years later. From 17 July 1899, extraterritorial rights for British subjects in Japan would end. This was the first of several similar treaties Japan had signed during the Sino-Japanese War of 1894-1895 that would end Japan's unequal status in 1899.


Kobe foreigners and son's future

Lafcadio Hearn on foreigners in Kobe and his son's future

And then there was this bitter-sweet letter, dated January 1895, written to Ellwood Hendrick (Hyogo Net Museum of Literature, Lafcadio Hearn Gallery, Kobe Chronicle, underscoring and bold emphasis mine).

From January 1895 letter to Ellwood Hendrick

Kobe is a nice little place. The effect on me is not pleasant, however. I have become too accustomed to the interior. The sight of foreign women -- the sound of their voices -- jars upon me harshly after long living among purely natural women with soundless steps and softer speech. (I fear the foreign women here, too, are nearly all of the savagely bourgeoisie style -- affected English and affected American ways prevail.) Carpets, -- dirty shoes, -- absurd fashions, -- wickedly expensive living, -- airs, -- vanities, -- gossip: how much sweeter the Japanese life on the soft mats, -- with its ever dearer courtesy and pretty, pure simplicity. Yet my boy can never be a Japanese. Perhaps, if he grows old, there will some day come back to him memories of his mother's dainty little world, -- the hibachi, -- the toko, -- the garden, -- the lights of the household shrine, -- the voices and hands that shaped his thought and guided every little tottering step. Then he will feel very, very lonesome, -- and be sorry he did not follow after those who loved him into some shadowy resting-place where the Buddhas still smile under their moss . . .

the interior
Hearn is talking about the parts of Japan outside the foreign settlement. The Japanese term was "naichi" (内地). With the addition of Taiwan to Japan in 1895, and with the end of extraterritoriality in Japan in 1899, the term came to refer to the prefectural jurisdiction of the sovereign dominion, as opposed to Taiwan (1895), Karafuto (1905, a prefecture from 1943), and Chōsen (as Korea was called after its annexation in 1910).


Ijin, Tojin

Hearn attracted unwanted attention on account of his visual alienness -- something he could share with others in the same position, such as in the following postscript to a letter he wrote in 1895 to Basil Hall Chamberlain (1850-1935), a British scholar and translator who had arrived in Japan in 1873 and was also teaching at Tokyo Imperial University.

From 1895 letter to Basil Hall Chamberlain

P.S. I have been out for a walk. As usual, the little boys cried "Ijin," "Tojin," -- and, although I don't go out alone, the changed feeling of even the adult population toward a foreigner wandering through their streets was strongly visible.

A sadness, such as I never felt before in Japan, came over to me. Perhaps your pencilled comments on the decrease of the filial piety, and the erroneous impressions of national character in "Glimpses," had something to do with it. I felt, as never before, how utterly dead Old Japan is, and how ugly New Japan is becoming. I thought how useless to write about things which have ceased to exist. Only on reaching a little shrine, filled with popular ex-voto, -- innocent foolish things, -- it seemed to me something of the old heart was beating still, -- but far away from me, and out of reach. And I thought I would like to be in the old Buddhist cemetery at Gesshoji, which is in Matsue, in the Land of Izumo, -- the dead are so much better off than the living, and were so much greater.


Waiting for sanction to change name

There is not a little confusion in the dates concerning the application to permit Hearn to become her incoming husband. But Hearn made this observation about the meaning of his name in a letter written to Alfred Ellwood Hendrick (1861-1930), dated 31 August 1895.

From 31 August 1895 letter to Ellwood Hendrick

I am waiting every day for the sanction of the minister to change my name; and I think it will come soon. This will make me Koizumi Yakumo, or, -- arranging the personal and family names in English order, -- "Y. Koizumi." "Eight clouds" is the meaning of "Yakumo," and is the first part of the most ancient poem extant in the Japanese language. (You will find the whole story in "Glimpses" -- article "Yaegaki.") Well, "Yakumo"is a poetical alternative for Izumo, my beloved province, "the Place of the Issuing of Clouds." You will understand how the name was chosen.


Kill a few more foreigners

However, Hearn seems to have had other reasons for wanting to be Japanese -- one of which was his desire not to be a treated as a "foreigner" with extraterritorial privileges.

In a letter dated 29 April 1896 to his Matsue friend Nishida Sentarō (西田千太郎 1862-c1897), Hearn expressed rather strong feelings about foreigners (Hyogo Net Museum of Literature, Lafcadio Hearn Gallery, Kobe Chronicle, bold emphasis mine).

From 29 April 1896 letter to Nishida Sentaro

I have been away. I have been at Ise, Futami, and nearly a week in Osaka. . . . Osaka delighted me beyond words. . . . I went to Sakai, of course, -- and bought a sword, and saw the grave of the eleven samurai of Tosa who had to commit seppuku for killing some foreigners, -- and told them I wished they could come back again to kill a few more who are writing extraordinary lies about Japan at this present moment.


Mr. Yakumo Koizumi

One might argue that Lafcadio Hearn was not fully prepared to be "Japanese" -- if being Japanese meant treatment as a Japanese. "Lafcadio Hearn" the foreigner took a considerable cut in pay at Tokyo Imperial University when he became "Koizumi Yakumo" a Japanese. He appears to have wished he could have had the best of both statuses and the disadvantages of neither. It took him awhile to get used to his new name.

From April 1896 letter to Nishida Sentaro

I would rather live a month in Osaka than ten years free of rent in Tokyo. Speaking of Tokyo reminds me to tell you that my engagement with the university is not yet assured.

P.S. It made me feel queer to be addressed by Professor Toyama as "Mr. Yakumo Koizumi"!