Hirai was born in Kanazawa, Japan. He was chosen by Japan to be one of the first to study abroad and he attended Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. He received his M.S. in civil engineering in 1878. He worked for the U.S. government before becoming a railway engineer in the Colonization Bureau for Hokkaido in 1881. In 1882 he was appointed chief of the railway for the Mining and Railway Bureau for Hokkaidō. He later became the chief engineer of the Osaka Railway Company.
He eventually joined the government of Japan, where he was advanced to the position of president of the Imperial Government Railways in 1904. When the railway became presided by a cabinet minister (Gotō Shinpei being the first minister) in 1908, he was appointed the vice president.
In 1913 he was dispatched to China and served as an adviser to the Chinese government until he returned to Japan in 1925.
Photo via United States Library of Congress
Bain News Service,, publisher.
[between ca. 1910 and ca. 1915]
1 negative : glass ; 5 x 7 in. or smaller.
Title from unverified data provided by the Bain News Service on the negatives or caption cards.
Forms part of: George Grantham Bain Collection (Library of Congress).
Format: Glass negatives.
Rights Info: No known restrictions on publication.
Repository: Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division, Washington, D.C. 20540 USA, hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/pp.print
General information about the Bain Collection is available at hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/pp.ggbain
Persistent URL: hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/ggbain.13948
Call Number: LC-B2- 2797-14