Inazo Nitobe, who is known as the face of the former 5,000 yen note, was born in Morioka in 1862. He often visited Hanamaki, his ancestors’ hometown, from early childhood. He had an ambition of “being a bridge across the Pacific” and went to the United States to study when he was 21. His famous book, “Bushido: The Soul of Japan”, which was published in English in the United States when he was 38, helped end the Japanese-Russo War.
He became the Under Secretary General of the League of Nations at the age of 58 and helped to found a predecessor organization of UNESCO. He became the face of the 5,000 yen note for 20 years until 2005. In “Bushido”, he wrote a lot about the spirit of the samurai (bushi) in Hanamaki. You can throw light on their hidden virtue by walking along Nitobe Road. He passed away on October 15th, 1933. He was 72.
Hanamaki Nitobe Memorial Museum
This museum displays the contribution of the Nitobe family, who lived in Hanamaki for 220 years and worked devotedly for regional development, especially the formation of new rice fields.
This facility is at the entrance of Kenji’s monument, “Ame ni mo Makezu”, and exhibits materials and works related to Kenji, Kotaro and Yorozu. From there you can walk down to the riverbank of the Kitakami River and see the famous field, “Shita no Hatake”, where Kenji farmed.
photo: Susumu Sato
Born in Tokyo in 1883, he studied sculpture in the United States and lived in London, Paris and Italy before returning to Japan. In 1914, at the age of 32, he published an anthology, “Dotei”, in October and married Chieko Naganuma in December. However Chieko died in 1938 at the age of 52. The anthology, “Chieko Sho”, was published in 1941 and received an enthusiastic public response. Through his connection with Kenji Miyazawa, he fled to Hanamaki from the fire of war that had engulfed Tokyo in 1945. He farmed alone here for the last seven years of his life before dying in 1956 at the age of 74.
Kotaro Takamura lived in this cottage for seven years. The Takamura Museum is about 150m from the cottage.
Tetsugoro Yorozu “Ratai Bijin (Nude Beauty)” 1912
The National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo
He was born in Tsuchizawa, Hanamaki in 1885. He enjoyed painting from early childhood and entered Tokyo Fine Arts School. His graduation work, “Ratai Bijin (Nude Beauty)”, is recognized as a pioneering avant-garde painting because of its intense colors and bold strokes. In 1914, he returned to his hometown to dedicate himself to painting and started developing his own painting style. Later, living in Tokyo, he fused the climate of Tsuchizawa and contemporary Western techniques to attain his unique style. Tsuchizawa, where the Yorozu Tetsugoro museum is located, retains its artistic atmosphere. Tetsugoro passed away on May 1st, 1927, at his own house in Chigasaki, Kanagawa. He was 42.
Yorozu Tetsugoro Museum
This museum introduces Tetsugoro’s oil paintings, ink paintings, sketches and personal belongings such as notes, letters and photos.