The last of our five-part series celebrating the 150th anniversary of the arrival of the 'Choshu Five' in the UK introduces Masaru Inoue, who came to be known as 'the Father of Japanese Railways'.
In 1863, Masaru Inoue stowed away on a vessel to the United Kingdom with four others of the Choshu clan. They came to be known as the 'Choshu Five'. These five were charged with learning about the western world, and in particular Inoue studied civil engineering and mining at University College London. He studied in the UK for several years, returning to Japan in 1868.
Inoue went on to work for the government supervising the mining industry. However, in 1871 he was appointed Director of the Railway Board, where he was instrumental in the planning and construction of Japan's railway system.
After retiring from the government, he continued to contribute to the development of domestic railways and founded Kisha Seizo Kaisha, the first locomotive manufacturer in Japan, and was its first president in 1896. In 1909 he was appointed President of the Imperial Railway Association, a post which he held until his untimely death in 1910.