George Edward Luckman Gauntlett

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George Edward Luckman Gauntlett (born 4 December 1868, Swansea, UK; d. 29 July 1956, Tokyo, Japan) was a teacher of English and educator in Japan.


George Edward Luckman Gauntlett was born in Britain on 4 December 1868, at Swansea, Wales. After completing his primary education in Pershore, in Worcestershire. He went on to Brighton Grammar School as a boarder for his secondary education, and to London where he entered a Music College. It is also said that he studied architecture, electricity, surveying, the arts, etc.

In spite of his parents' objections, he went to the United States of America at the age of 20. From there he went to Canada, where he joined a church.

He went to Japan in 1890 or 1891 as a missionary for his Canadian church. In Japan he taught English at several schools in the Tokyo-area (Tokyo Commercial College, Azabu Middle School, Chiba Middle School) before he resettled to Okayama, where he taught at the Nr. 6 College. Four years later, he moved on, this time to Kanazawa, where he taught English at the Nr. 4 College. Six years later, he went to Yamaguchi, where he taught at the Yamaguchi Commercial College (stayed there for 8 years). From 1919 to 1936 he taught English and other subjects (among them Latin) in Tokyo at Rikkyō University (St Paul's University).

He is credited with introducing to Japan the methods on how to teach commercial English. He invented the first Japanese shorthand and was highly accomplished in the illuminated texts,and did work for the Crown Prince of Belgium.

While in Okayama, he also taught his students Esperanto, and was one of the founding members of the Japanese Esperanto Society in 1906. In 2007 the Japanese Government published a postage stamp with Mr Gauntlett's portrait on it, commemorating his pioneering of Esperanto in Japan. There is a small museum near Okayama Railway Station (JR) that commemorates the introduction to Japan of Table Tennis by Edward Gauntlett (Japanese name, Ganto Tadashi) and Yamada Kosaku.[1]

Edward imported (from France) and assembled the first pipe organ ever installed in Japan. Being musically gifted too (he was related to the composers William Henry Monk and Henry Gauntlett), he was an organist at the Hongo Central Church, which boasted Japan's biggest pipe organ at the time. He taught Sunday school too.

In 1898 Gauntlett married Tsune Yamada (the older sister of composer Kosaku Yamada). When they married, marriages between Japanese and foreigners were not recognised by the Japanese government. On the advice of a Japanese lawyer, all record of Tsune's Japanese nationality had to be expunged and Edward had to petition Queen Victoria to 'adopt' Tsune as a daughter of the British Empire. The petition was successful, and a letter from Queen Victoria arrived in due course. Later, the Japanese government introduce legislation that would legalise marriages between Japanese and foreigners, so Tsune recovered her Japanese identity. It is said that theirs was the first officially registered marriage between a Japanese and a foreign citizen. [2] He and his wife had six children. Their eldest son, John Owen Gauntlett, taught English at Aoyama Gakuin University and was also a flautist. J. O. Gauntlett also gave a set of lectures on teaching English as a foreign language at Nanzan University in Tokyo, that were edited by James A. Noonan and then published as a book by MacMillan Press.[3]

He was a recipient of the Order of the Sacred Treasure, 5th class.

The Emperor vested Mr Gauntlett with Japanese citizenship long before World War 2 and changed his name to Ganto Tadashi 岸登烈 (which is a transliteration of his English name's pronunciation, and can be read in Japanese as "Gantoretto" too).

He died at his home in Tokyo of a heart attack, and is buried at the Tama Cemetery.[4]


  • Rainichi Yoseijinmei Jiten revised and enlarged edition, by Hiroshi Takeuchi, Nichigai Associates, 1995