He took over as governor of Okinawa in 1881, and is known for his efforts to improve conditions for ordinary Okinawans. Mochinori personally toured the island and, seeking the yukatchu (aristocrats / local lords) as oppressing the peasants too severely, and made efforts to remove them from power. As a result, many yukatchu and other local officials and landlords fled to China or elsewhere.
In 1882, Mochinori proposed a set of reforms which would streamline the prefectural administration, saving over 90,000 yen out of a total budget of just over 158,000. However, he received no reply from Tokyo. Mochinori then submitted his proposal again, combined with a plea penned by his assistant, which noted that while Tokyo poured over one million yen each year into development efforts in Hokkaidô, Okinawa paid over 200,000 yen each year in taxes, and received no such development assistance. Ultimately, Tokyo denied the request, claiming that Okinawa was not ready for such reforms.
Uesugi did succeed, however, during his brief term, in organizing the first program, funded by the prefectural government, to send Okinawan students to study in Tokyo.
|Lord of Yonezawa han
|Governor of Okinawa Prefecture
- Smits, Gregory. Visions of Ryukyu. University of Hawaii Press, 1999.
- Smits relates Uesugi's biography under the name Uesugi Shigenori. It is unclear whether this is an alternate name, or a misreading of the name 「茂憲」。
- Smits. p147.
- "Uesugi Mochinori." Okinawa Compact Encyclopedia 沖縄コンパクト事典. Ryukyu Shimpo, 1 March 2003.