He went to Edo when a boy and studied English. He went to the United States (1871) and studied economics and finance at Yale University.
After returning home (1880) entered Finance Ministry and became Vice-Minister of Finance (1892). In the meantime he was professor at Law Department, Tokyo University. As Finance Ministry official, he worked for the reform of the paper money system following the Saigo Rebelhon (1877), establishment of the Bank of Japan, flotation of public bonds, legislation of the Financial Law, procurement of funds for the Sino-Japanese War (1894-1895) and postwar economic rehabilitation.
He was created a Baron after the war and appointed chief of the Audit Board (1902). Promoted to Viscount after the Russo-Japanese War (1904-1905). He was mayor of Tokyo, a member of the House of Peers and Imperial Academy in his late years. He taught finance and economics at Tokyo University Peers' School, Tokyo Higher CommercialI School and Waseda University. He founded the Senshii School (1880).
Recognized authority on public finance, he was known also for his shabby clothes and eccentricities.