Godai Tomoatsu has been looked up to by Osaka locals.

Updated: Dec 1, 2020

Godai Tomoatsu was born into a high-ranking samurai family of Satsuma domain, present Kagoshima Prefecture, in 1836. Through the experience as a trading merchant in London and Shanghai in his youth, he became an important official in charge of diplomacy of the Meiji government and was appointed in Osaka. Osaka was the largest commercial city in Japan in the feudal years though, it was on the verge of collapse. Because most of the super-wealthy merchants in Osaka, who supported the prosperity of that region, went bankrupt due to 'daimyo-gashi' meaning forced cancellation of money lending to feudal lords. As he had close connections with many higher officials of the new central government, most of them from Satsuma domain or Choshu domain present Yamaguchi Prefecture, he established a variety of government bodies and companies together with local business leaders. Thanks to his great efforts, Osaka was remarkably restored. Osaka locals erected his bronze statues after his death in front of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Osaka as well as Osaka Exchange as shown in the picture. Both of the institutions were established by him about 150 years ago.


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Masahisa Takaki.




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