Tashiro Furukawa

Furukawa Tashiro: 170th Birthday of the First Teacher of Deaf Children

Furukawa Tashiro (born March 27, 1845, died December 26, 1907) is the first teacher of Deaf children in Japan.

Tashiro Furukawa

Tashiro Furukawa: Google Doodle

Furukawa Tashiro was born to the family who owned the largest school for commoners in Japan, located in the temple in Kyoto City. The school taught nearly 700 students and it’ss still opened to students to this day.

When Furukawa Tashiro was young, he pursued Confucianism, mathematics developed in Japan, military strategy and astronomy as well. He also instructed reading and writing at the family-owned school after the Meiji Restoration in 1868.

Furukawa Tashiro was hired as a calligraphy teacher at the 19th elementary school (later Taiken Elementary School), one of the newly founded schools in Kyoto City in October, 1869.

In the year, Furukawa Tashirowas arrested, because he forged the permit document at the request of illiterate farmers. They tried to develop the pond as the rice field, and were worried about a water shortage. Tashiro had to serve for two years in the jail.

He witnessed the miserable situation of the blind in the prison, and also he often saw mute boys (Yamaguchi Zenshiro and Yamagawa Tamijiro) being teased repeatedly by other hearing children around out of the window of the prison.

Furukawa Tashiro wrote that blind and mute persons were the human being like himself and that there was no reason why they should be despised or discriminated. He thought that it was a fault that the blind and mute didn’t have the educational opportunity.

He was finally freed from prison in July, 1872 and was hired again as an arithmetic teacher at the 19th Elementary School in January, 1872.

Furukawa Tashiro might have thought of teaching mute children while he was in the prison, and accepted the strong request of Kumagai Denbe, a store owner and local leader, to start instruction of three mute children around in the same year.

The Furukawa Tashiro Google Doodle

To celebrate Tashiro Furukawa’s 170th birthday, students sign “Google” in both his original sign language, and the modern fingerspelling it evolved into. For this doodle Google wanted to focus on his accomplishments in educational field. Google explored the idea of showing him in the classroom teaching or interacting with students.