Nezu Kaichiro, Chairman of the Tobu Railway, c. 1920.



1920sCommerceTransportation
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Top inset photo: Nezu Kaichiro, president of the Tobu Railway, c. 1920, above an illustration of the company headquarters in the Oshiage district, near the present-day location of Tokyo Skytree across from Asakusa. Nezu was industrialist, politician and philanthropist who, along with managing the Tobu Railway was also a director on the boards of Tokyo Electric Light Company (today’s TEPCO) and Tokyo Gas.

See also:
Matsuya (Asakuksa) Department Store & Tobu Railway, c. 1930.

“Tobu Railway Co. was established in 1897. Kaichiro Nezu the First (hereafter the First) was asked to join Tobu Railway Co. as president in 1905.

“During his presidency, he succeeded in rebuilding the company which had been suffering from a business slump. One of his strokes of magic was to establish a ‘Nikko’ line to carry increasing numbers of tourists from Tokyo directly to Nikko, a popular sightseeing area.

“[Nezu] joined a business mission to the US led by Eiichi Shibusawa in 1909 which was formally called the ‘Honorary Commercial Commissioners of Japan to the United States of America.’ Koichi Nezu, the first son of Kaichiro Nezu the Second (son of the First, and hereafter the Second), told me that according to what the Second frequently told his son, the First was greatly impressed by the fact that rich American people donated money to society. Therefore, the First believed that money earned from society must be returned to society.

“In this respect, he contributed at least two things to our society. The first was that he established in 1922 an excellent middle school and high school, which are united. These schools are called Musashi Middle School and High School (hereafter the High School). ‘Musashi’ was the old name of the entire area where the High School was, and still is, located (in addition, Musashi University was established in 1949 in the same place it is now). The other was the establishment of the Nezu Museum in Aoyama. This art museum was built in accordance with the provisions of his will shortly after his demise back in 1941.”

“‘Tokyo Sky Tree’ & the Nezu Family”, by Hatake Noboru, Japan Spotlight, May-June 2012

Railway and real estate baron Nezu Kaichiro’s summer home in Karuizawa was purchased after WWII by another railroad and real estate baron, Tsutsumi Yasujiro of the Seibu Group, who remodeled the property and reopened it as the Karuizawa Seizan Hotel in 1950.

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