During a time of intense ideological struggle and social upheaval, some remarkable men went about the business of molding a new nation through their industry, study, and service. These influential people represent the age since the Meiji Restoration: these are Kochi's outstanding contribution to modern Japan.
Iwasaki Yataro - founder of Mitsubishi 1835-1885
The eldest son of a farmer, Iwasaki was born in Aki City in 1835. At the age of 20, he became Goshi, a rural samurai, and entered government service. There he earned a reputation as a hard-driving negotiator and was rewarded for his talents in 1867, when he was selected by Mr. Shojiro Goto to become the chief financial agent of Tosa's business concerns in Nagasaki. After the Meiji Reformation, when the Tosa government gave up its business dealings, Iwasaki established his own shipping company, Mitsubishi Shokai trading company. To say that he was successful is an understatement: by 1877, Mitsubishi Shokai owned more than 80% of all the ships in Japan. From this company Iwasaki established the Mitsubishi financial group which was to become one of the most powerful economic ventures in the world.
Itagaki Taisuike - founder of Japan's first political party 1837-1919
A politician born in 1837 at the foot of Kochi Castle. After participating in the Boshin Civil War (the series of battles between the pro-imperialist and the shogunate forces which culminated in the Meiji Restoration), he became a powerful politician under the new government. He was involved in key reforms of the time, but resigned in protest in 1873 over what he saw as the government's dictatorial mishandling of a crisis with Korea. He returned to Kochi and, in 1874, established Risshi-sha, a political organization born from the blending of Western democratic ideals with the best traditions of the samurai , and concerned with issues of freedom and people's rights. In 1881, he and others organized Japan's first true political party (the...