Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Nogi was born to a house of samurai from Chōfu region on November 11, 1849. His childhood name was Mujin, literally "no one", to prevent evil spirits from coming to harm him. On becoming 18, he became Nogi Bunzō.
On November 1869, by the order of Nagato domain's lord, he enlisted to Fushimi Goshin Heisha lit. Fushimi Loyal Guard Barrack to be trained in the French style Army training. After completing the training, he was reassgined to the Kawatō Barrack in Kyoto as a teacher and then as Toyōra domain's Army trainer in the charge of the coastal defence troop. On 1871, he became a Army major and rename himself Maresuke taking a kanji from his father. On 1875, he became the 14th infantry regiment's attache and for his service in Seinannoeki, he would become a lieutenant colonel. However, in a fierce battle, he had lost the regiment's banner to the enemy and he considered this a grave mistake and listed this as one of the reason for his later seppuku. In October, his father Maretsugu died from disease in Tokyo.
Next year on 1876, he was named as the Kumamoto regionary troop's a staff officer and commanded the first infantry regiment. On August 27, he married Sizuko, the fourth daughter of Satsuma samurai Yuji Sadano who was then 20 years old. Nogi was 28 years old at the time, a very late marriage at that time considering that the average age to marry was in the early 20s. On August 28 1877, the first son Katsunori was born and he bought his first house at Nizakamachi , Tokyo. On 1878, he became a colonel and next year his second son Kazunori was born in December. Both sons were killed in action in the Russo-Japanese War.
Nogi also assisted in the raising of Emperor Hirohito by heading the Peers' School from 1908-1912. He was, perhaps, the most important influence on the life of the future emperor of Japan.
He committed seppuku within hours of the death of the Meiji Emperor Mutsuhito. The suicide was in accordance with the samurai practice of following the master into death, called junshi. Nogi and his spouse bathed togther, and changed into a white kimono, before sharing a cup of sake before the tokonoma. He then killed his wife and ripped open his own bowels, leaving a letter explaining that he wished to expiate for a defeat suffered in his past, and the thousands of casualties at Port Arthur. All four members of the Nogi family are buried at Aoyama Cemetery in Tokyo.
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