Vassal of the Shogun, statesman. Born in Tokyo. In 1856, he entered the Navy Officer Training School in Nagasaki. In 1862, he went to Holland to study. In 1868, he became vice-president of the navy. After the opening of Edo Castle, he refused to accept the seizure of warships by the Imperial forces and resisted them at a fort, Goryokaku in Hakodate, but eventually surrendered. Thereafter, under the protection of Kiyotaka Kuroda, he engaged in the development of Hokkaido. In 1874, he became a vice admiral and minister to Russia, and engaged in the conclusion of the Sakhalin-Kuril Islands Exchange Treaty. After serving as kaigunkyo(Navy Minister) and minister to Qing, he became Minister of Communications in the first Ito cabinet. Later, he held important ministerial posts including those of Minister of Agriculture and Commerce and Minister of Education in the Kuroda cabinet, Minister of Education in the first Yamagata cabinet and Minister of Foreign Affairs in the first Matsukata cabinet.