Sumitomo Tomoito (住友友純)
Tomoito SUMITOMO (January 18, 1865-March 2, 1926) was the fifteenth family head of the Sumitomo family. He was also famous as a master of tea ceremony and a man of refined taste, and was also known as Shunsui. He was a Baron.
He was born as the sixth child of Kinzumi TOKUDAIJI, who was Juichii Udaijin (Junior First Rank, Minister of the right). His mother was Chiyoura Ayako (Suehiro clan), and his childhood name was Takamaro. He had elder brothers including Sanetsune TOKUDAIJI, who was Junii Gon Chunagon (Junior Second Rank, Provisional vice-councilor of state), Kinmochi SAIONJI, who was Shosanmi Uchujo (Senior Third Rank, Middle Captain of the Right Division of Inner Palace Guards) and Michinori NAKANOIN, who was Jushii (Junior Fourth Rank) and a younger brother, Takemaro SUEHIRO, who inherited the Suehiro family which was their mother's parents' home. He was born in Seifukan, which was a villa of the Tokudaiji family in Tanaka Village in Rakuhoku (north of the capital of Kyoto).
On October 23, 1868, the name of the era was changed to Meiji, Edo-jo Castle was renamed Tokyo-jo Castle, the Emperor moved to Tokyo, the organization of seven departments such as Gijo, Gyosei and Jingi, was adopted, and Sanetsune TOKUDAIJI was appointed to Gijo together with Sanetomi SANJO and Tomomi IWAKURA and moved to Tokyo. In August 1869, the post of Gijo was abolished and Sanetomi SANJO was transferred to Udaijin (Minister of the right) and Sanetsune, together with Tomomi IWAKURA, was transferred from Gijo to Dainagon (Chief councilor of state). Takamaro's second elder brother, Kinmochi SAIONJI temporarily assumed the position of the Governor of Echigo Prefecture, but he resigned from it and went to study in Nagasaki until, in February 1871, he traveled abroad as a government sponsored student sent to France. Takamaro's father, Kinzumi, was against Tokyo Tento (transfer of the national capital to Tokyo) and he was confined in Seifukan and enjoyed chaji (the tea ceremony). It was decided that Sanetsune would take over as head of the family. Takamaro stayed with this father and learned Nihonshoki (Chronicles of Japan) from his father and read Shijing (Book of Odes) and Shujing (Book of History) as well as Kokugo (Book of History from ancient China), Shogaku (Chinese textbook for beginner published in 1187) and Joganseiyo (a book written about Taiso, the second Emperor of Tang Dynasty in China).
In November 1883, his father Kinzumi died when Takamaro was twenty years old. In 1884, he moved to Kanda Nishikicho in Tokyo and lived in the mansion of Tokudaiji and entered Gakushuin (school). In 1885, Kinmochi SAIONJI resided in Austria and Germany as an envoy extraordinary. Takamaro became a middle school student at Gakushuin in 1885, and entered Horitsu senka (the law faculty) in 1887 and later reached the fifth grade.
Joining the Sumitomo family
The Sumitomo family held in May 1890 a celebration party in Niihama for the two hundredth anniversary of the Besshi dozan copper mine and, in June, a festival in Besshiyama and, in October, a celebratory party in Osaka. After that, on November 23, the twelfth family head of the Sumitomo family, Kichizaemon Tomochika (48 years old) died, and then, on November 30, the thirteenth family head, Kichizaemon Tomotada (19 years old) died. Tentatively, in December, it was decided that Tomochika SUMITOMO's mother, Toku, would be the fourteenth family head. Sumitomo soriji (leader of Sumitomo group), Saihei HIROSE, who coped with and came through the confusion of the Meiji Restoration and made an effort to reestablish the company, carried out a selection of the successor, in cooperation with his nephew and, at the same time, assistant, Teigo IBA. He focused on a child of the Tokudaiji family, Takamaro, and decided to accept him. Chichibu HIDAKA, a secretary to Naidaijin (minister of the center), in the position of Yuhitsu (amanuensis) for Sanetsune TOKUDAIJI, Grand Chamberlain, first found this adoption arrangement. Then, as Jun IWASA, jii (a court physician) in Kunaisho (the Imperial Household Ministry), was close to Sanetsune TOKUDAIJI, Kunaikyo (Minister of the Sovereign's Household) and Grand Chamberlain, he acted as a go-between. Teigo IBA checked Takamaro's personality and invited Takamaro and his three elder brothers, Sanetsune TOKUDAIJI, Kinmochi SAIONJI and Michinori NAKANOIN to a restaurant near Sanno-jinja Shrine at Miyakezaka and explained the inside details of the Sumitomo family and requested that Takamaro join the family. At the end, on April 18, 1892, Takamaro (twenty-nine years old) was adopted as an heir of Toku SUMITOMO and tied up with her first daughter, Masu (nineteen years old). Just before this, Takamaro left Horitsu senka of Gakushuin where he was in the fifth grade. After that, he lived in the principal residence of the Sumitomo family in Unagidani, Osaka.
He succeeded the name, Kichizaemon SUMITOMO as the fifteenth one. In April 1893, he succeeded as the fifteenth head of the Sumitomo family and changed his name from Takamaro to Kichizaemon-Tomoito SUMITOMO. Later, he was also known as Shunsui. On April 28, 1893, he held a ceremony of inheritance and he succeeded the family businesses. He managed the Besshi dozan copper mine, engaged in trading copper, operated the business of producing saiseicha (remanufactured tea) and camphor and carried out raw silk business in Samegai Village, Sakata County, Shiga Prefecture. Saihei HIROSE, as the sorinin (general manager) was in charge of actual operations, but Tomoito made an inspection tour to Besshi dozan copper mine, making on-site inspections of each company and acquired the Shoji Tanko coal mine.
After the entry of Tomoito in the family register, however, difficulties occurred. In the Besshi dozan copper mine, an incident concerning an engineer, KANAYA so & so, occurred, and in 1886, KANAYA and Hiroshi HIROSE, who was shihainin (manager), were punished and the kantoku (manager) of Yamane Seirensho (smelting works), Tomokiyo OSHIMA was also punished.. In February 1892, Hiroshi HIROSE, who was shihainin of Besshi, resigned and Saihei's nephew, Moriaki KUBO succeeded the job. However, in order to bring down Saihei, Tomokiyo OSHIMA went back to his hometown, Onomichi, and requested a loan of fifty thousand yen. Tomokiyo recommended retirement on the grounds that Saihei made a mistake in acquiring Tadakuma Tanko (coal mine) and, after Saihei refused, he submitted a written report of impeachment to the family head. Teigo IBA alone visited and took over for the shihainin, Moriaki KUBO to calm the people down.
In addition, there was a smoke pollution problem occurring in Niihama, and the call for impeaching Saihei was doubled. Tomoito made Tomokiyo OSHIMA come to Suma bettei (villa) and met him. Tomokiyo met Tomoito with his report for the retirement of Saihei, but he was reproved by Tomoito. For the Sumitomo family, personnel affairs for the soriji and other top management was very important and, in addition, Saihei was like a central pillar. However, Tomoito settled the situation in the form of kenka ryoseibai (in a quarrel, both parties are to blame), by receiving the letter of resignation from Saihei thanks to help of Kinmochi SAIONJI and dismissing OSHIMA. It seems that he convinced Saihei by making Saihei's nephew, Teigo IBA, succeed Saihei.
Opening a bank
In 1895, the Sumitomo family moved its honten (principal place of business) from Tomishimacho to Nakanoshima 5-chome and opened Sumitomo Bank at the same place and deployed the Kobe Branch, Kawaguchi and Hyogo Offices. An executive suite called Juninkyoku was located at a corner in the rear of the Nakanoshima Eigyojo (business office) and, among executives surrounding the table, Tomoito occupied the position to look over the operation room through a glass window. The performance of the bank was the most direct manifestation of the trust to Sumitomo by society. Furthermore, since the banking business was a new business operated on local basis, Tomoito had an especially deep interest in it. It was usual that the meeting of branch mangers of the bank was held in the yokan (Western-style building) in Unagidani. Tomoito endeavored to take the lead to heighten the position of business circles in Osaka.
In 1896, he amended the family code and, in 1897, promoted Teigo IBA, who had been riji (director), to soriji kokoroe (acting general director). In 1900, he assumed the position of soriji (general director). He also abolished Juninkyoku which consisted of the family head, sorinin, sihainin, fuku-shihainin (acting manager) and riji. He changed sorinin to soriji.
Travel to Europe and America
In April 1897, Tomoito departed for his travel to Europe and America. Through San Francisco, Chicago, and New York, he arrived in Paris in May and headed to London and, after visiting the European countries his ship departed Marseille on October 3. In Paris, he visited Kinmochi SAIONJI to inquire after his condition. He visited many museums of art and other museums and he was impressed to know that rich people in Europe and America made every effort to promote public facilities and expend private funds for philanthropic work. Attendants were Toyokichi MATSUMURA, Masaya SUZUKI and Shinichi YOSHIDA and it was a trip for 218 days. In particular, in the Art institute of Chicago, he learned that an American rich man, Marshall FIELD donated one million dollars to conserve this building and he made up his mind that, his mission was to build social facilities. After coming back to Japan, he westernized his living style and learned the art of social intercourse. Moreover, it was reflection of Tomoito's intention that capable employees of Sumitomo were sent abroad to study.
Tomoito's late years
Since 1905, he made tours of inspection to Besshi and Shisaka jima Islands. In January 1906, his real elder brother, Kinmochi SAIONJI became the prime minister. In April 1906, he was conferred the Order of the Sacred Treasure, Gold and Silver Star. He acquired a villa in Toriizaka, Azabu Ward, Tokyo City. In May 1907, he made a tour of inspection to the Besshi dozan copper mine. In November 1908, honten (head office) and ginko honten (head office of the bank) were moved to a new building in Kitahama, Higashi Ward, Osaka City and, in January 1909, Sumitomo honten was changed into Sumitomo sohonten. In June 1911, Nakanoshima Bunkojo of Shindojo was abolished and merged into Ajigawa Honkojo. On August 25, 1911, he was raised to a baron. In August 1911, Sumitomo Densen Seizogyo (Sumitomo cable manufacturing business) was separated and Sumitomo Densen Seizosho (Sumitomo cable manufacturing company) was established. In February 1912, the organization of the bank was transformed into a joint-stock company with a capital of fifteen million yen. In May 1912, he made a tour of inspection to Besshi dozan copper mine and Shisaka jima Islands. In December 1912, he was appointed as an advisor of Osaka Shokokai (chamber of commerce and industry). In 1913, Hiryo Seizosho (fertilizer manufacturing company) was established in Niihama Town, Ehime Prefecture. In January 1914, Saihei HIROSE died (eighty-seven years old). In 1915, Sumitomo Shiritsu Shokko Yoseisho (Sumitomo private mechanics education center) and Tomoito became its riji. In July 1916, Tadateru SUMITOMO of branch family moved to Sumiyoshi Village (Hyogo Prefecture). In October 1916, Kanichi SUMITOMO was excluded from the heirs. A branch family was registered. In November 1916, Sumitomo Yoko was established in Shanghai and commenced sales of Sumitomo products and, in July 1917, another Sumitomo Yoko was established in Tianjin. In July 1917, the capital of the bank was increased to thirty million yen and listed a part of it's stocks. In December 1918, he made an application to donate expenses for establishment and operation of the Institute for Steel Research, Tohoku University. In February 1919, he was appointed to kanji (supervisor) and hyogiin (trustee) of the Rikagaku Kenkyusho (RIKEN). In 1919, He acquired Kishimoto Seitetsusho and made it into the Amagasaki plant of Sumitomo Shindosho. In December, 1919, he established Osaka Kitako Kabushiki kaisha. In 1920, he changed Sumitomo Chukosho into Kabushiki kaisha Sumitomo Seikosho. In February 1921, he established Sumitomo Goshi kaisha (capital: 150 million yen) to inherit the business of Sohonten and he assumed the position of the president. In May 1921, he established the Shiritu Osaka Sumitomo Byoin (Sumitomo Osaka privately established hospital). In 1922, expansion of Furitsu Osaka Toshokan (Osaka library established by Osaka Prefecture) was completed and it was donated to Osaka Prefecture. In August 1923, he established the Kabushiki kaisha Sumitomo Building. In the same month, he reorganized Soko into a joint-stock company with the capital of fifteen million yen. In 1925, he moved the principle residence of the family to Sumiyoshi Village, Muko County, Hyogo Prefecture. In June 1925, he changed Hiryo Seizosho into a joint-stock company with the capital of three million yen. In July 1925, he established the Sumitomo Trust and Banking Co., Ltd. with the capital of twenty million yen. In October 1925, Kinkichi NAKATA, who was soriji, resigned. Kankichi YUKAWA, who was riji, assumed the position of soriji. From November 1925, Tomoito fell ill. On March 2, 1926, he died. He was sixty-three years old. On March 9, 1926, Atsushi SUMITOMO succeeded the name of Kichizaemon and, on May 1, Kichizaemon was ennobled.