Hatakeyama Yoshinari (1842-76), known under the name “Kozo Soogiwoora” while at Rutgers, was a native of the Satsuma domain in present-day Kagoshima prefecture. He was one of the first nineteen students who were secretly sent by the domain to study in England in 1865. In 1867, he and five other students (Mori Arinori, Sameshima Naonobu, Yoshida Kiyonari, Matsumura Junzō, and Nagasawa Kanaye) left for Brocton, New York, to join Thomas Lake Harris’ “Brotherhood of the New Life”, a Christian spiritualist community. Mori and Sameshima left the community to return to Japan in 1868; Hatakeyama, Matsumura, and Yoshida, in search for further opportunities for Western education, went on to Rutgers.
In October 1871, while a Senior at Rutgers and “expecting to graduate with high honors” Hatakeyama was ordered return to Japan by the way of Europe and to examine the educational systems in Europe.
”We well remember how with his eyes full of tears and a voice quivering with emotion he told us of his sore disappointment in not being allowed to take his degree; but, with that loyalty to his country which was one of his chief characteristics, he obeyed promptly.”1
Soon after the Iwakura Mission arrived in Washington, Hatakeyama was called back from Europe to join the Mission. He was appointed Third Secretary on March 17, 1872, and together with Kume Kunitake, was tasked to study the institutions and culture of the West and compile a report of those observations.2 Hatakeyama also headed a committee to survey the conditions of Japanese students in the U.S., the many members of which were his fellow students from New Brunswick—Hattori Ichizō, Matsumura Junzō, Shiramine Shunma, Takagi Saburō, Tomita Tetsunosuke, among others.3 They met in Washington, D.C. on March 18, 1872.
Upon his return to Japan in 1873, Hatakeyama joined the Ministry of Education and was later appointed the first president of Tokyo Kaisei Gakkō (present-day University of Tokyo). He worked closely with his former professor David Murray, who arrived as the Superintendent of Education. In 1876, he visited the Centennial Exhibition in Philadelphia, during which time he was awarded an honorary master’s degree from Rutgers University. He, unfortunately, passed away due to illness on board the ship on his way back home4.