Kuhara Fusanosuke (久原房之助)

Fusanosuke KUHARA (July 12, 1869-January 29, 1965) was a Japanese businessman and statesman before the war.

He was also called "Kozan ou" (king of mining industry) for bening a president of Kuhara Kogyosho (Hitachi copper mine), which later became Hitachi, Ltd. and Kuhara Zaibatsu. Moreover, he went into politics. He served as the Minister of Communication and the president of Rikken seiyukai (Kuhara group) and was called "power broker of the political world."

Up to adolescence
He was born on July 12, 1869 as the forth son of Shozaburo KUHARA (1840-1908) in present-day Hagi City, Yamaguchi Prefecture. The Kuhara famiy was a wealthy family; they were a master of fishermen and Kaisen donya (wholesaler in port). When Fusanosuke was born, they had run soy sauce brewing business. His father Shozaburo married into the Kuhara family from the Fujita famly. Shozaburo was an older brother of Denzaburo FUJITA. When Denzabur established "Denzaburo Fujita Shokai" (later Fujita Gumi, current DOWA Holdings), Shozaburo's name was listed as a partner.

In 1885, he graduated from Tokyo Shogyo Gakko (Tokyo Commercial College) (currentry Hitotsubashi University). He entered Keio Gijuku in 1886 and graduated from the regular course in 1889. He aspired to engage in trading and joined Ichizaemon MORIMURA's Morimura Gumi in 1890. However, he joined his uncle's Fujita Gumi with an order of Kaoru INOUE who was connected with the uncle Denzaburo FUJITA. In 1891, he was assigned a new post at Kosaka Mine. By the introduction of new technology, their business improved and expanded.

As an industrialist
He left Fujita Gumi in 1903. He purchased Akazawa Copper Mine in Ibaraki Prefecture in 1905, and renamed it Hitachi Copper Mine. In 1910, he founded Hitachi, Ltd. (it was transformed into a joint stock company in 1920). In 1912, he founded Kuhara Kogyosho (present Japan Energy Corporation) and became the president of the company. The enterprise expanded using mining operation as a steppingstone. In this way, the Kuhara Zaibatsu was formed with group companies in shipbuilding, fertilizer production, trading and life insurance business. However, it became difficult to continue the business in its original form due to too rapid expansion, and Kuhara Mining, which was a core industry, was transferred to Yoshisuke AYUKAWA, his brother-in-law, in the end of Taisho period. The company formed the foundation of Nissan Motor.

As a statesman
In Showa period, he went into politics. He ran for a member of the House of Representatives at general election as a Rikken Seiyukai anointed candidate from former Yamaguchi First Electoral District. He was elected. He served as the Minister of Communication at Giichi TANAKA Cabinet and the Secretary-General of Rikken Seiyukai. Politically, he was promilitary. He insisted on advancing to the Chinese Continent and strongly believed "I am a superman who established millions of wealth on my own.." Moreover, he believed that Japanese political parties should be united and he, the super man, should be the head of the party for the best of the Japanese future. He advocated "one country one party" and promoted initiatives to win over minor political parties, such as Kenseiisshinkai. However, he was involved in February 26th Incident and once lost influence in the political world. Then however, he approached Ichiro HATOYAMA and regained political influence. When Rikken Seiyukai was split in 1939, he assumed the position of the president with the recommendation of Hatoyama and others. Then, claiming themselves as "orthodox Rikken Seiyukai" (Kuhara Group), he confronted the reformists (Nakajima Group) headed by Chikuhei Nakajima. Even after the inauguration as President, he asserted the national unity and political party dissolution theory. He was a master schemer and called a wirepuller in politics. After the defeat in the war, he was suspected of being a war criminal, but the case was dropped.

Post World War II
After the purge was lifted, he worked hard to strengthen ties between Japan and China as well as Japan and the Soviet Union. He married twice (his first wife was Kiyo, younger sister of Yoshisuke AYUKAWA) and had 13 children, three sons and ten daughters, including concubine's children. His first, third and fourth daughter married former chairman of House of Representatives, Mitsujiro ISHII, Shigenobu OKUMA's grand son, Nobuyuki OKUMA and former president of Tokyu Corporation, Noboru GOTO, respectively. His ninth and tenth daughter married Americans.

On January 29, 1965, he died at his own residence (currently Happo-en) in Shirokane (Minato Ward, Tokyo). His age at death was 96.