Tokutomi Soho Memorial Museum

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This museum is dedicated to Soho Tokutomi (1863-1957), born Iichiro Tokutomi, a prominent journalist and historian active from the late nineteenth to the mid-twentieth century. The museum was opened in 1998 to honor and promote Tokutomi’s achievements. It offers a comprehensive, overarching look at his life and accomplishments, displaying around 200 items ranging from manuscripts and letters to paintings and magazines.

Born into a samurai family in what is now Kumamoto Prefecture in southern Japan, Tokutomi was unusual for a Japanese man of his time. In his earlier years, he was controversially liberal and championed democracy and free speech, believing that this would enable Japan to modernize and strengthen itself. His group of publications, including the influential newspaper Kokumin Shinbun (The People’s Newspaper), proved a thorn in the side of the government.

However, Tokutomi’s political views took a rightward shift in the late 1890s, and by the mid-1900s, his newspaper had come to be seen as a government mouthpiece. In 1910, he also founded the Keijo Nippo, one of the major Japanese newspapers in Korea under Japanese rule. He had close ties with many prominent politicians, and was awarded the Order of Culture by the government in 1943 for his literary contributions.

During the Allied occupation of Japan after World War II, Tokutomi was regarded with much suspicion by the American authorities and held under arrest as a Class A war criminal. Though the charges never went to trial, Tokutomi took moral responsibility by returning the Order of Culture. He completed his magnum opus, Kinsei Nippon Kokumin-shi (Early-modern national history of Japan) at his villa in Atami, south of Tokyo.


Venue Address

401-0502 506-296 Hirano, Yamanakako-mura, Minamitsuru-gun

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