Kusumoto Masataka (楠本正隆)

Masataka KUSUMOTO (April 14, 1838-February 7, 1902) was a samurai from the Omura Domain, Hizen Province, and a Meiji Period statesman. He also held the title of baron. He was known as a trusted advisor of Toshimichi OKUBO.

Background

Masataka KUSUMOTO was born in Iwafune near Kushima Castle, the eldest son of Naoemon Masanori KUSUMOTO (60 koku). He served as a supervisor and head of at Gokyokan, a domain school.
He was active in the "sonno tobaku" (revere the emperor, overthrow the shogunate) movement, and was known as one of Noboru WATANABE's '37 Omura samurai.'

In 1868 he served as an official in the new government. He served in the Nagasaki prefectural judiciary and as an assistant in the Kyushu peace keeping office; and was a senior secretary in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in 1870 until 1872 when he became governor of Niigata Prefecture. Until he left this post in 1875, he worked hard in modernizing the prefecture, setting up the Daishi Bank among other achievements. He set up Hakusan Park, Japan's first national public park.
As well as this, he established the prefectural council and promoted land-tax reform, and was praised by OKUBO for administering the 'best prefecture in the country.'

After serving as chief of the local administrative assemblies council and senior official in the Ministry of the Interior, he became governor of Tokyo in 1877. After this, he was a Tokyo City councillor, and in 1879 joined the Chamber of Elders, becoming its vice-chairman. In 1890 he was elected a member of the House of Representatives, becoming its chairman in 1893. Through his party activism he helped set up the Constitutional Reform Party, and later became owner and head of the Miyako Newspaper, working for civil rights and political reform.

In 1896 he received the title of danshaku (baron) for his achievements in the Restoration. Following this he was awarded the Order of the Golden Pheasant.

He died in 1902. Died at the age of 65.