Ranald Macdonald

by Colin from Roseville

Ranald Macdonald (
Ranald Macdonald (

Ranald MacDonald was the first man to teach English in Japan. He was very curious about his ancestry, and was a very intelligent man. He was the son of a Scotsman and a princess. He lived his life in many places, prominently from the Northwest, where he was born in 1824 and where he died in 1894.

Ranald MacDonald was the son of a Scottish trader and a Chinook princess. He was born in Fort Astoria, in the Northwest. His father was Archibald MacDonald,a fur trader for the Columbia District. His mother was Raven, the daughter of Chief Chinook, the leader of the Chinook people from the Cascade Mountains to Cape Disappointment. As a child, he found three shipwrecked Japanese men. His grandfather told him that his ancestors came from Asia, and this sparked Ranald's interest in Japan. Ranald went to Red River Academy, in the Red River Colony. Ranald became a banker at the wishes of his father.

Ranald got restless with his job. He quit and decided to travel to Japan. He signed up as a sailor on the whaling ship, Plymouth, in 1845 to 1848, even though he knew that any foreigner that set foot on Japanese soil would either die, or be imprisoned. He convinced the captain of the Plymouth to let him sail on a small boat by himself. He pretended to be shipwrecked and was found by the Ainu people and was sent to Nagasaki, the only port that conducted in trade with the Dutch, by the Daimyo of Matsumae. He taught 14 men the language of English, so the men could know another language secondhand, after already learning Dutch. One of his students was Einosuke Moriyama, one of the chief interpreters during trade. He was kept in imprisonment for 10 months, all the while learning Japanese, before being taken aboard a passing US warship. MacDonald was readmitted to be taken aboard the USS Preble, which was sent to get stranded sailors. When he got back to the US, he made a statement to the US Congress stating that "The Japanese society was well policed, and the Japanese people well behaved and of the highest standard."-Ranald MacDonald, 1950.

Ranald's interest in Japanese culture was sparked at a young age, and so was mine. I didn't find three stranded sailors and then get told I might have come from Japan, but I did find out one of my favorite interests came from Japan. From then on, we both wanted to learn more about Japan. I'm still a teenager, but when Ranald was an adult, he became as sailor to go to Japan; and it is my wish to travel to Japan for like, a week. His life has inspired me to learn more about Japan, and hopefully by the end of next year, I will be able to visit the Land of the Rising Sun. His actions will help me achieve my goal of learning Japanese. He is my hero because he had similar goals as me, and he helped me realize I can reach those goals.

In conclusion, Ranald MacDonald was an incredible man, who was the first to teach English in the land of Japan. He was the Metis, a man of two cultures. Finally, he was an inspiration to many to travel to Japan. He led a wonderful life, being the man that he was, a man of knowledge. He was my hero.

Page created on 9/3/2009 12:00:00 AM

Last edited 9/8/2018 2:41:06 PM

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Related Links

Ranald MacDonald-A History - Ferry County a rich history of mining lumber and agriculture in a secluded region in the Northwest
Ranald Macdonald - MY HERO story by Kelley from Spokane