Astoria in Clatsop County, Oregon — The American West (Northwest)
First Teacher of English in Japan
The son of the Hudson's Bay Co. manager of Fort George and Chinook Indian Chief Comcomly's daughter, MacDonald theorized that a racial link existed between Indians and Japanese. He determined to enter Japan although it was closed to foreigners for over 200 years. Sailing in 1848 as a deckhand on an American whaler, he marooned himself on Rishiri Island near Hokkaido.
While awaiting his deportation, he was allowed to teach English to 14 Japanese scholars, some of whom became leaders in the modernization of Japan.
He spent his active life in Europe, Canada, and Australia. He is buried in an Indian cemetery near Curlew, Washington.
Erected 1988 by Susanna Von Reibold, Shokookai of Portland and others; Clatsop County Historical Society.
Location. 46° 11.291′ N, 123° 49.637′ W. Marker is in Astoria, Oregon, in Clatsop County. Marker is at the intersection of Exchange Street and 15th Street, on the right when traveling west on Exchange Street. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 1508 Exchange Street, Astoria OR 97103, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this Site of Original Settlement of Astoria (here, next to this marker); Fort Astoria (a few steps from this marker); Into the Unknown (about 600 feet away, measured in a direct line); Gimre's Shoe Store (about 600 feet away); A Waterfront at Work (about 600 feet away); Built by Capt. Hiram Brown (about 700 feet away); 14th Street Ferry Slip (about 700 feet away); Clark Gable (about 700 feet away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Astoria.
Also see . . . Ranald MacDonald (1824-1894) -- The Oregon Encyclopedia. MacDonald is recognized by many Japanese as Japan’s first English teacher. He later wrote that he had purposefully traveled to Japan, where “a gentle kindness…pervaded their general regard and treatment of me.” After leaving Japan, MacDonald worked as a gold miner and rancher in Australia and Canada before returning to the United States. He never married. (Submitted on February 1, 2018, by Barry Swackhamer of San Jose, California.)
Categories. • Notable Persons •
Credits. This page was last revised on February 2, 2018. This page originally submitted on February 1, 2018, by Barry Swackhamer of San Jose, California. This page has been viewed 72 times since then. Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5. submitted on February 1, 2018, by Barry Swackhamer of San Jose, California.