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Allisonian Firsts: Raitaro Okuro

A virtual exhibition celebrating the bold Allisonians who became the "firsts" in their field.

Raitaro Okuro

First Japanese student to attend Mount Allison, 1890-1894

Portrait of Raitaro Okuro

Raitaro Okuro, [ca. 1892]

Mount Allison University Archives. Picture collection, 2007.07/2524. May only be reproduced with permission of the Mount Allison University Archives.

Raitaro Okuro was born in Hakodate, Japan, in 1873. He attended the Mount Allison Boy's Academy from 1890-1894 with the intention of pursuing a Bachelor of Arts at the University after matriculation. According to the January 1891 issue of The Argosy, Okuro hoped to one day return to Japan as a missionary.

While in attendance, he was part of the men's gymnastics team. In 1895, he left Mount Allison to pursue further studies at the Boston School of Theology. Okuro was likely the first person of colour, and certainly the first Japanese student, to attend Mount Allison.

By 1899, he was employed as a butler in the home of Boston businessman, Charles Bond. While working there he met and fell in love with Dorothy Duffieu (18??-1917), the family’s live-in English governess. The two were married in 1903 at the West Somerville home of manufacturer Albert B. Bent.  They had one son, Arnold (1905-1973).

In the 1920 United States census Okuro was recorded as a widower living in North Reading, Massachusetts. At the time, Okuro worked as a bacteriologist at the North Reading State Sanitorium for tuberculosis patients where he had formerly been a patient.  He died on 3 August 1922 and is buried in the Riverside Cemetery there. 




Image Gallery

A group of students in a gymnasium.

Mount Allison University men's gymnastics team, [ca. 1890]

Mount Allison University Archives. Picture collection, 2007.07/103. May only be reproduced with permission of the Mount Allison University Archives.