Iwakura Kumeo (岩倉久米雄)

Kumeo IWAKURA (1865 - 1923) was a military man of the Imperial Japanese Army during the Meiji period. His father was Yorinobu IWAKURA of the Kaga domain (who was yoriki [police sergeant] with 200 goku [crop yields]). His mother was Suzu, a daughter of Seinojo MATSUKAWA, a feudal retainer in the same domain.


Kumeo was born in the present Kanazawa City, Ishikawa Prefecture.


He was granted a silver coin of fifty sen (old currency unit) as an honor student by Emperor Meiji when he visited the Hokuriku (central prefectures of Japan facing the Japan sea) region.


He graduated from Ikuei elementary school (at the age of thirteen) with a medal granted by Ishikawa Prefecture because he finished school before the age for graduation.


He graduated from a preparatory course for the Forth High School (old-education-system) (at the age of sixteen).


After he went to Tokyo to study, his family was ruined affected by the Matsukata (Minister of the Treasury at the time) financial affairs, and therefore he had to pay his own school expenses by working. He became a workman in the printing bureau of the Ministry of the Treasury.


He became an attendant for engineering students in the army education institution, and then entered the military academy.


He graduated from the military academy and was appointed to artillery as a second lieutenant in the army.


He was appointed as an element leader of the artillery third regiment in the Nagoya third division.


He was appointed as an artillery first lieutenant in the army.


Kumeo married Sen from the Kawasumi family.


He departed for the front during the Japanese-Sino War (the first string, the third division), and was appointed to an artillery captain in the army.


After triumphantly returning to Nagoya, he was transferred to Tokyo as an instructor at the military academy. He was living in Minami-enoki-cho town in the former Ushigome ward in Tokyo.


He took a new post of officer in the army department of Military Affairs Bureau in Taiwan Governor-General Office.


He was appointed to an officer of Military Affairs Bureau in the Ministry of the Army.


He was appointed to an artillery major in the army.


He departed for the front during the Japanese-Russo War.


He was appointed as an artillery lieutenant colonel in the army.


He was appointed to a chief of the twenty-third regiment in Okayama field artillery.


He was appointed as an artillery colonel in the army, an inspector in the technology inspection department in the army, and a tentative inspector for war-horses.


Sen, his wife, died.


He was appointed to a commander of the Hakodate Fortress, and married again with Ren from the Minami family.


He served in reserve duty.


He moved to the family home of Ren, his wife, in Takaoka City, Toyama Prefecture.


Kumeo IWAKURA died.

Episode 1

Emperor Meiji's visit to Hokuriku and granting of a silver coin of fifty sen

In September 28, 1878, the Emperor Meiji headed a tour from Echigo (present Niigata Prefecture) to Ecchu (present Toyama Prefecture) for inspecting people's life in the Hokuriku region accompanied by the literary and military government officials including Tomomi IWAKURA, Minister of the Right, and Shigenobu OKUMA, the head councilor. After staying in Toyama on September 30, the Emperor headed for Kaga province in the morning of October 2.

Kumeo was twelve years old and studying in Ikuei elementary school in Kanazawa in 1878. He received the following text and item from the Kanazawa prefectural government.

During the Imperial tour, the Emperor granted an item to the honor student and the prefecture government will pass it on to you, and therefore you are requested to come to receive it at three o'clock in the afternoon on October 8.

October 7, Ikuei elementary school

To Kumeo IWAKURA, the first son of Yorinobu in the warrior class, Sengoku-cho town, Kanazawa ward.

He was granted a silver coin of fifty sen minted in 1871.

Episode 2

The academic results table for all students in the same year were directly sent to the parents by post while Kumeo was in the military academy. In that table of the latter half in the year of 1878, sick leave for sixty-three days and punishment for one prohibition for two days were recorded in Kumeo's column.

Sick leave for sixty-three days

'Nine, attending a shrine barefooted
One late afternoon, a telegram came from Tokyo which surprised my parents and turned them pale, and every late afternoon from the following day my father washed his feet and went out somewhere walking on the chilly ground in late autumn. I did not understand the reason at all and repeatedly asked my mother about it, but she never told me what it was about. Later I heard that my older brother, who was studying at the military academy, was hospitalized at Eiju Hospital due to acute pneumonia and that there was little hope of his recovery, and therefore my father went out to pray to god, which was my older brother's guardian god, for seven days. My older brother's guardian god was a shrine god commonly called 'Taino tenjin(heavenly god)' near the small bridge over the Asano River at the northeastern edge of Kanazawa. This shrine had long stone steps and the proprietress of a tatami maker at the foot of the shrine was my older brother's wet nurse, and therefore I remember that I had visited her house once or twice playing on the tenjin festival day. Not only was it quite a long way from the house in Kawagishi-cho town to tenjin, but it was also necessary to climb up and down a number of hills. I cannot help but cry even now when I think about my father walking, dragging his cane in low spirits and putting his head down, shivering in the northern province of late autumn. My older brother was really a pillar of the family. It is needless to say that my family must have the same destiny as that of Mizukoshi's old man without my older brother. I cannot help but cry when I think about how hard my parents had to endure at that time. I believe that such ordeals must have caused my mother's untimely death and my father's death only a few years later after my older brother's success. My family has had a blood line of longevity for generations. It was exceptional, since our ancestors, that my mother died in her forties and my father, in his fifties.

The punishment of one prohibition for two days

'Biography of General Fukuda' written by Masataro FUKUDA, Kumeo's contemporary at the military academy, describes as follows. …In the summer of 1885, in the following year after entering the academy, the student himself became a ringleader and agitated the leave in alliance, at the same time he drove out the instructors and did not obey orders, he deluded the school rules and disturbed the army principles, which angered Takeo OZAWA, the headmaster and lieutenant general, and finally punishment to expel him from the academy was decided.
… (After that, the punishment to expel him from school was cancelled by the intercession of Shishigari, an element leader of the student unit, but the punishment of two prohibitions for ten days was imposed.)'
The punishment was imposed on ninety students, according to the academic results tables. Around this time, it is recorded that the disturbances such as the leave in alliance frequently occurred in general junior high schools, and this episode shows that it was the same even in the military academy.

Episode 3

The main character in the novel 'Yadorigi' (mistletoe)

Kumeo was an artillery officer and also served as an instructor at a military academy and artillery engineering school. It seems that he was good at mathematics. From October 1896 to October 1897 when he was an artillery captain, he served as an official of the military department in Military Affairs Bureau of Taiwan Governor-General Office, where Maresuke NOGI was the governor-general.

Masao IWAKURA, a younger brother of Kumeo and a student in the army cadet school at the time, described as below in the chapter of 'the main character of Yadorigi' in his 'Memoirs,' privately published in later years.

In September 1898, we became third graders. We were truly swaggering because we were the uppermost grader in the army cadet school and not disfavored and not under pressure. When I became a third grader, a student called Zenpei OGASAWARA newly joined the troop as a first grader. For this student, my oldest brother who was in Taiwan as an artillery member of the Taiwan Governor-General Office sent me a letter asking me 'to take care of the student called Zenpei OGASAWARA among the new students in the army cadet school this year.
This student was shosei (a student who is given room and board in exchange for performing domestic duties) belonged to General Nogi and I taught him mathematics as requested by the General.'
This is why I took care of Ogasawara in many ways because fortunately he joined the troop mentioned above.

This Zenpei OGASAWARA was born in 1881, left Iwate Prefecture, his home town, when he was sixteen years old, had been under the generous patronage of General Nogi, continually changed the place in Sendai, Taiwan, Tokyo, and Hokkaido, served in the Japanese-Russo War, and died in 1908 at the age of twenty-eight. His life is widely known as that of Ryohei SHINOHARA, the main character in the novel 'Yadorigi' created by Roka TOKUTOMI.

His first wife

Sen IWAKURA: She was from the family of Yoshinori KAWASUMI who belonged to the warrior class in Shizuoka Prefecture and was the first rank army official in the Nagoya third division, and married Kumeo in 1891. Sen died in 1911, she was a cousin of Kyoko NATSUME, the wife of Soseki NATSUME.

His second wife

Ren IWAKURA: The second daughter of Heikichi MINAMI who was from the old family in Takaoka of Toyama Prefecture and served as the second chairman of Toyama prefectural assembly and Setsuko, a younger sister of Jokichi TAKAMINE who was a world-famous chemist. She gave birth to two children, Norio and Masuko. She was the member of the second class of Japan Women's University.

His first son

Norio IWAKURA: Bureaucrat of the prewar Ministry of Home Affairs, former Deputy Director of General Affairs in General Administrative Agency of the Cabinet, and he lost his father when he was ten years old.

His first daughter

Masuko TOMINAGA: Married to Goro TOMINAGA, the former President of old Toa Domestic Airlines and Executive Managing Director of Japan Airlines Corporation.

His older sister

Tomi NAKAMURA: Married to Shunjiro NAKAMURA of the warrior class in Ishikawa Prefecture.

His younger brother

Tokio ABE: Adopted by the Abe family, a branch family of the Abe clan, the lord of the Fukuyama domain, graduated from the Mechanics Department of Tokyo Higher Technical School, and worked for the old Japan National Railways.

His youngest brother

Masao IWAKURA: Graduated from the military academy and the army war college, and he was a Major General in the army and the author of 'Memoirs.'

His younger sister

Tami YABUNOUCHI: Married into the Yabunouchi family, a farmer in Ishikawa Prefecture.