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Famous people from Sumida




■ Ryunosuke Akutagawa  (1892-1927)    Novelist

He spent his childhood in Honjo, Sumida-ku.
He graduated from Tokyo Metropolitan Junior High School No. 3 (currently Ryogoku High School).
He is well known for his masterpieces, Rashomon, Hana, Toshishun, etc. He also wrote many novels set in Honjo such as Okawa no Mizu, Honjo Ryogoku, Daidoji Shinsuke no Hansho.

■ Sachio Ito  (1864-1913)    Poet, Novelist

Pen name of Kojiro Ito.
He was born in Chiba. He traveled to Tokyo and found work at dairy retailer. He later started his own dairy farm.
After his tanka, 31 syllable verse, was noticed by famous poet Shiki Masaoka, Sachio began studying under him. Along with others studying under Masaoka, Sachio started publishing his work in Ashibi and Araragi. His novel Nogiku no Haka is considered his masterpiece.
The site of his house and barn can be seen in front of Sumida ku's Kinshicho Station.

■ Enba Utei  (1743-1822)    Scenario writer active at the end of the Edo period

Pen name of Kojiro Utei.
He also wrote under the names Hidenori Nakamura, Wasuke Izumiya, Enba Tatekawa, Danjuro, and Momokuri Sanjin Kakihassai.
He lived in Honjo, Sumida-ku, worked as a master carpenter, and owned a store that sold tabi, Japanese-style socks.
From childhood, he had a great love for plays and kyoka, popular comic poems.
His traditional Japanese puppet plays, "Hana no Edo Kabuki Nendaiki," "Taiheiraku Makimono," and "Gotaiheiki Shiroishi Banashi" are all considered masterpieces.




■ Kaishu Katsu  (1823-1899)    Born in Honjo, Sumida-ku   Late Edo/ Early Meiji Period Politician

First son of Kokichi Katsu, a low-ranking official in the Shogun's administration. His real name was Yoshikuni Katsu, but he was also called Rintaro Katsu and, most famously, as Kaishu.
He was a childhood playmate of Hatsunojo, grandson of Shogun Ienari Tokugawa.
He was an accomplished swordsman and studied Western Knowledge.
He was raised in Honjo, but moved to Akasaka to study. He also founded Heigaku Juku, a military academy.
He sent a letter to the government seeking recognition as a top student and acceptance to the Nagasaki Naval Training Center.
After that, he sailed to the U.S. aboard the Rinkaimaru, which he owned. This achievement was instrumental in his being appointed Gunkan Bugyo, the government official responsible for naval matters. He was one of the key players in the bloodless overthrow of the Tokugawa Shogunate.
After the Meiji Restoration in 1868, he played an active role as Sangi (associate counselor), naval lord, and council adviser. He also contributed significantly to the editing and publication of Edo Government records.

■ Hokusai Katsushika  (1760-1849)    Ukiyoe painter

His actual family name was Kawamura. He was born in Honjo.
Hokusai is one of the 30 different names he used during his life.
His "Fugaku Sanjuroku Kei" and "Hokusai Manga" are considered masterpieces.

■ Mokuami Kawatake  (1816-1893)    Kabuki playwright

Pen name of Yoshisaburo Yoshimura. He was born in Nihonbashi.
After being disowned by his family when he was 14 years old, he found work with a book-lender, which exposed him to books and led him toward the world of drama. He authored a total of 360 stories.
He was living in Sumida-ku when he died.

■ Kozukenosuke Kira  (1641-1702)    Government official in the mid Edo Period

His real name was Yoshinaka Kira, but he is remembered as Kozukenosuke. He was immortalized in the play, "Chushingura." He succeeded his father as Koke, an Edo Period noble, and worked as Kimoiri, a government organizer.
At Edo Castle, he was attacked by Takuminokami (Naganori) Asano, lord of the Ako Clan, who had a grudge against him.
Naganori was ordered to commit hara-kiri (ritual suicide). Samurai faithful to Naganori took revenge by attacking and killing Yoshinaka Kira at his home. The residence was located in what is now Honjo Matsuzakamachi Park.

■ Rohan Koda  (1867-1947)    Novelist

Pen name of Shigeyuki Koda. He also wrote under the name of Kaguan.
He was born in Shitaya, Tokyo. His older brother was Shigetada Gunji, Chishima explorer. His younger brother was the historian Shigetomo Koda. His sisters were Nobu Koda and Ko Ando, both musicians.
From childhood, he enjoyed reading Japanese and Chinese literature on his own and acquired knowledge over a wide range of fields.
He received the 1st Order of Culture.

■ Issa Kobayashi  (1763-1828)    Haiku poet in the late Edo Period

Pen name of Yataro Kobayashi.
He went to Edo (Tokyo) as an apprentice. He learned Haiku, traveled for seven years, and returned to Edo.
He liked to write, leaving a number of diaries and haiku poems that expressed his feelings and views during his daily life.




■ Encho Sanyutei  (1839-1900)    Rakugo performer

Stage name of Jirokichi Izubuchi.
He was born in Yushima Kiritoshi, Tokyo.
His mother was against his becoming a rakugo performer, so he tried his hand at art until she finally gave in. He started writing and acting, and he became very popular for his original stories.
He was very popular among famous people, which led to the improved social status of rakugo performers.
He once lived in Honjo.




■ Nanboku Tsuruya    Kabuki actor and writer

"Tokaido Yotsuya Kaidan" and "Sumidagawa Hana no Gosho zome" are considered masterpieces.
His remains are interred at Shunkeiji Temple.

■ Kinshiro Toyama  (1793-1855)    Government official at the end of Edo Period

His real name was Kagemoto Toyama, and he also used the name "Kinshiro."
After working as Konando (steward to the Shogun), he assumed the positions of Kobushin Bugyo (official in charge of the building and repair of castles and temples), Sakuji Bugyo (building official), and Kanjo Bugyo Kujikata (tax official), he assumed the position of Kitamachi Bugyo (magistrate of Kitamachi). He once became Ometsuke (Inspector General). However, he became Minamimachi Bugyo (magistrate of Minamimachi) as a result of an unusual personnel transfer. His residence was located around Kikukawa Station.




■ Heizo Hasegawa  (1745-1795)    Public official of the Edo Government

He was called Honjo Iron (Honjo no Tetsu) and lived an eventful life.
His success as Hitsuke Tozoku Aratame Kata (serious crimes investigator) was publicized through the popular novel "Onihei Hankacho" written by Shotaro Ikenami. He was an outstanding officer famous both for his tenacity in capturing wrongdoers and his testimony at trials.

■ Yoshio Fujimaki  1911-1935(disappeared)    Printmaker from Tatebayashi, Gunma

He went to Tokyo when he was 16 years old. While he was learning commercial design, he established his own print art style, which was influenced by German expressionism.
In 1932, he joined a new print art group consisting of 22 members, including Tadashige Ono, and made his mark. When he was 22 years old, his work was honored at an Imperial Exhibition. He started working on a major piece, "Sekiyo," when he was 23, but disappeared at the age of 24 after leaving his house saying that he would visit his older sister.
With his sharp sense of light and shadow and unique viewpoint, he created scenes of metropolitan Tokyo after it had been restored following the Great Kanto Earthquake.
His masterpiece is Sumidagawa Emaki, which consists of four volumes and a total of 60 meters of sceneries, including Shirahigebashi Bridge and Mimeguri Shrine.

■ Seiichi Funahashi  (1904-1976)    Novelist, playwright

He was born in Honjo, Sumida-ku.
During his days at Tokyo Imperial University, he established Kokoroza, a theater group, with Chojuro Kawarazaki. After graduation, he started Komoriza and participated in a movement started by a new artistic group.
He received the Mainichi Art Prize for "Aru Onna no Enkei."
He is the first Chairman of the Japan Writers' Association.




■ Basho Matsuo  (1644-1694)    Haiku poet in the early Edo Period

Pen name of Munefusa Matsuo. He also used the pen name Sobo Matsuo and later Tosei Matsuo.
He started writing haiku in his teens, and went to Tokyo to study under the masters.
There is a stone tablet inscribed with his haiku at Chomeiji Temple.

■ Ogai Mori  (1862-1922)    Novelist, critic, translator, Army Surgeon General in the Meiji and Taisho Periods

Pen name of Rintaro Mori.
He was born in Shimane, but moved to Tokyo at an early age.
He is often mentioned along with Soseki Natsume as embodying the spirit and ethics of the Meiji Period.
His residence was located in Mukojima.




■ Okura Yamanoue  (660-733)    Poet in the Anthology of Myriad Leaves (750)

He visited China during the Tang Dynasty with envoys (Kentoshi), and learned Confucianism and Buddhism.
After returning to Japan, he became a lecturer to Crown Prince Shomu.
He wrote a number of poems. A stone tablet inscribed with his waka poetry is in Mukojima Hyakka En.