Kyushu University and the Furukawa Zaibatsu (Financial Clique)

投稿日:2018年10月1日 更新日:

Kyushu University has entirely relocated from Hakozaki Campus, Higashi­-ku, to new Ito Campus located at Nishi-ku, Fukuoka City. As a citizen who was born and brought up in Fukuoka Prefecture, nothing is more delightful than having this prestigious university reborn on the new Campus.

An article in today’s newspaper, the Nishinippon Shimbun described the background for the foundation of Kyushu Imperial University. The article can be summarized as follows: In December 10, 1901(Meiji-34), a man rushed into the convoy of vehicles escorting the car in which the Emperor Meiji was riding after the closing of the session at the Imperial Diet. The man was in full dress, wearing haori (a Japanese coat) and hakama (a skirt-like garment). He was carrying his petition wrapped in paper addressed to the Emperor Meiji. His name was Shozo Tanaka. He appealed to the Emperor Meiji for restoring the damages caused by the mine pollution in Ashio Copper Mine, Tochigi Prefecture. He appealed directly to the Emperor at the risk of receiving a capital punishment. The government exempted him from lese-majesty for the reason that he was judged to be in lunacy.

When the news on severe damages by the mine pollution in Ashio Copper Mine was reported, many people strongly reacted to this incident. To ease their criticism, a famous politician who became the Prime Minister in 1918, Takashi Hara, recommended the Furukawa Zaibatsu, the owner of Ashio Copper Mine, to make a social contribution. In response, the Furukawa Zaibatsu constructed buildings at Hakozaki under the instructions of the then Ministry of Education, and donated all the buildings to the government. As a result, Kyushu Imperial University was founded using all these buildings, and later it was succeeded by Kyushu University.

I am somewhat related to the name of ‘Furukawa’. My father was working for a company named ‘Furukawa Kogyo’, located at Chikuho District, Fukuoka Prefecture, before the Second World War. All my relatives were working for the same company. After working for the company for 20 years, my father retired due to its closing, and transferred to Fujitsu Ltd., located in Kawasaki City, Kanagawa Prefecture, thanks to the kind arrangement by Furukawa Kogyo. My parents used to refer to their thankfulness to Furukawa Kogyo all their life. Therefore, in my childhood, I was accustomed to hearing the name of Furukawa Kogyo. I also learned about the Furukawa Zaibatsu, the incident of the mine pollution in Ashio Copper Mine, and Mr. Shozo Tanaka’s social activities. Even after I learned these events, I felt my familiarity with the name of ‘Furukawa ’.

From my personal experiences mentioned above, I have come to feel closer to Kyushu University.