Masaru Inoue 井上勝 - timeline 1843-1910

(The Inoue "Kamon" / Our Familyshield / family crest)

(Christian era)
Japanese Calendar History

In 1843, he was born as the third son of Katsuyuki INOUE, a feudal retainer of Choshu Domain, in the castle town of Hagi.

Father: Katsuyuki Inoue 井上

Inoue Katsuyuki, was Daikan (Daimyo/Shogun principal agent in the field) and Ometsukeyaku (Shogunal watchdog) of the clan, a most progressive man despite his high feudal position.

1843 Tenpo 14 years

Born in the provincial town of Hagi on 1 August 1843, lnoue Masaru (井上勝), the third son, was gready influenced by his father, Inoue Katsuyuki.

Born in Hagi city as the third son of Choshu Clan. (Son of a samurai of the Hagi clan.)

He was born on August 24th in 1843 at Hagi in Yamaguchi prefecture, in southern Japan.

He was brought up as a samurai belonging to the Choshu clan who controlled that area.

I'll try to check up his real birthday, since there are conflicting information.


He was adopted by the Nomura (Nomura Sakubei) family in 1848 and was called "Yakichi Nomura"
Hagi - Kohrinbo / Kanazawa. (Nomura and Inoue did hold the same rank.)

You can google and find Nomura Samurai House Garden, Nomura-ke Samurai house or Nomura Clan Samurai house

1849   Adopted into the Nomura household at the age of six, he took the name of Yakichi. Masaru Inoue was kept in close contact with his father who would often visit his foster home and discuss the West animatedly as he drank.
    Masaru Inoue as youngChoshu five
1858 Ansei 5th year

15 years old, he entered the Nagasaki Naval Academy (海軍兵学校, Kaigun Heigakkō, Short form: 海兵 Kaihei) established by the Tokugawa government under the direction of a Dutch naval officer.

Nagasaki by the duty of living, and studying soldiers from the Dutch people.


At 16, Yakichi was selected to study at the Academy in Nagasaki, an educational base founded by the shogunate where promising boys from the clans were taught by Dutchmen especially Military Science, Physics and Chemistry. Yakichi showed a flair for languages and asked to be sent to Edo [Tokyo]. 


After a period at the Yakuro Saito juku (in shijuku - Rempeikan), he entered the highly reputed Bansho shirabedokoro, an educational institute set up by the shogunate (1855/56) primarily to educate interpreters and translators by farillliarizing them with the West through the study of 'barbaric books'.

Having found that English was a language more spoken than Dutch, Yakichi went to Hakodate to enrol at the Shojutsushirabesho, an institute renowned for the quality of its English teaching. He took English lessons at the British consulate and benefited from the accessibility of foreign books and Western technology from foreign ships arriving at the port.

1863 Bunkyu 3 years

It was while he was doing a tour of duty in Edo that Yakichi heard of the clan's daring plot to send some youths abroad to study in order to profit from the modern techniques of the West. Outwardly they were to be expelled in view of the ban, but actually they were to be given some money and five-years' leave. The party was ultimately made up of five - Ito Shinsuke (the later lto Hirobumi), Shido Monta (the later Inoue Kaoru), Yamao Yozo, Endo Kinsuke and Nomura Yakichi (the later Inoue Masaru).

Japans seclusion policy (known as sakoku) deemed it illegal for them to leave the country so a journey required the utmost levels of secrecy.

If the five had been discovered, they and all their families would have been killed. 

Thanks to Yakichi's English abilities and the cooperation of Jardine, Matheson & Co., passage to Shanghai was secured. Their top-knots cut, they hid under cover of darkness in the coal-hatch of the Chelswick which sailed on 27 June 1863. Split into two groups for the next leg of the journey, after a dreadful 130 days aboard the White Adder, Yakichi, Yamao and Endo were re-united with Ito and Monta on the arrival of the Pegasus in London on 4 November.2 Great as the shock had been in Shanghai, it was nothing compared to London, but this only made them more eager to study the West. The five were then taken to Matheson & Co. on arrival. Hugh Matheson induced Dr Alexander William Williamson, F.R.S., professor of chemistry at University College, London, to receive them. Williamson (who would oversee their learning for the next three years) had made an 18-month tour of the East in his younger days and this had stimulated his interest and heightened his sense of social purpose.

He therefore arranged that, after learning English, the Five should be placed in classes that would lay the groundwork for a really good education.

Since the Five had come over to England to make a systematic study of European science and civilization, it cannot be doubted that University College, set in the heart of London, was the obvious choice. Its Chair of Civil Engineering, the very first of it's kind in the country, had been set up in 1841: the 'Godless Institute', moreover, was still the only university institution in England open to all races regardless of religion, class or political beliefs.

With the relocation of the clan government, the Inoue family relocated to Yamaguchi shi Kusa. Secretly Masaru Inoue (Nomura Yakichi) traveled to the UK with Hirofumi Ito, Kaoru Inoue, Yosoo Yosuke, Ryozu Endo etc. (Later the five are called "Choshu Five.")

Learn railroads and mines at the University of London.

He stowed away together with Hirobumi Ito, etc, in 1863 and studied mining and civil engineering at the University of London.

In 1863, Inoue and four friends from the Chōshū clan, stowed away on a vessel to the United Kingdom. He studied civil engineering and mining at University College London

To be the First Japanese students at UCL - 1863

  • Endo Kinsuke - Director of Mint Bureau
  • Osaka Hirobumi Ito - Prime Minister
  • Masaru Inoue - founder of Japanese Board of Railways
  • Yozo Yanao - Secretary of State, Ministry of Industry
  • Kaoru InoueMinister of Foreign Affairs
Choshu Five the first UCL students in UK

Inoue and his friends later came to be known as the Chōshū Five. To commemorate their stay in London, two scholarships, known as the Inoue Masaru Scholarships, are available each session under the University College London 1863 Japan Scholarships scheme to enable University College students to study at a Japanese University

In 1863, he studied in England with Kaoru INOUEKinsuke ENDOYozo YAMAO, and Hirobumi ITO.. 


All save Monta enrolled in Professor Williamson's classes in Analytical Chemistry as of July 1864, recorded as 'Yamarou', 'Shunski Ito', 'Endo' and 'Nomuran'.8 Although, prior to his smuggling out of Japan, Yakichi had officially reverted back to Masaru Inoue so as not to inconvenience his foster home, he went, in the West, by the name of Nomura Yakichi. The most fluent in English, Yakichi was the first of the Five to adjust to life in London. A great lover of sake, he soon acquired a taste for Western spirits, his vicarious drinking and heated debates earning him the nickname of 'Nomuran' or 'Wild Drinker', a name which stuck, even appearing on the Geology Certificate he received in 1867. (Think the family legacy are keeping this tradition even 4 generations after :-)

Monta and Ito returned to Japan after a mere six months, on the news of the Choshu disputes with the foreign powers. Endo also returned in 1866 for health reasons; initially put into Customs, he later did great work in the Osaka Mint. Y akichi and Y amao remained, and made considerable progress, being sent also to 'Glasgow, Newcastle and other places to study mining, ship building and other large industries'. Yakichi even apparently havingjoined 'a regiment ofRifle Volunteers'.11 Yamao moved to Glasgow in 1866, to study in the Napier shipyards and at the Andersonian (forerunner of Strathclyde University}, but Masaru remained at University College with the Williamsons, registering for, in addition to Chemistry, Mathematical Physics, Mathematics, Geology and Mineralogy, English and French, and obtaining - a certificate of honour in Geology for the 1866-7 session.1 Although paying college fees from 1864, he remained an unmatriculated student throughout his stay: it was not however unusual even for British students at the time to enroll for courses without going on for a degree. Yamao and Yakichi returned in late 1868 looking the very picture of young English gentlemen, deeply aware and grateful for the kindness and care shown to them, and eager to put to good use their acquired knowledge for the progress and modernization of Japan. Faced with the task of setting up a new system and thirsting for knowledge of the West, the Choshu clan hailed their return with joy. Greatest of all, however, was the delight of Yakichi's father, who had suffered a dreadful time, even within the clan, for having 'such a treacherous son'. Reinstating Yakichi under his eldest son, Katsuichi, he awarded him the new name of 'Masaru', taking the first character of his own name, meaning 'Victorious'.

The new-born Inoue Masaru was initially set to work on the clan's mines, but it seemed a waste to bury such talent in a distant province, and he was ordered to Edo to work for the new Meiji government. Appointed Commissioner of the Mint and Head of Mining, Masaru was later ordered to dedicate himself solely to Mining Affairs, and sent to supervice the Aikawa Mines in Sado.


In 1867 the last shogun resigned and the emperor was reinstalled as the formal leader of Japan.

1868 1st Meiji period

Returned from the UK.

He returned to Japan in 1868 and called himself Masaru Inoue afterward.


From 1869 on, he successively took the positions of Head of the Mint and the Supervisor of Mining, Head of Mining and Railways, Head of Railways, Taifu of Industry (Post of Ministry of Industry), the Director General of the Railway Agency, and the Minister of Railways.

1871 Meiji 4

After working for the government as a technical officer supervising the mining industry, he was appointed Director of the Railway Board in 1871.

Become a railroad head and be involved in railway construction.

After working for the government as a technical officer supervising the mining industry, he was appointed Director of the Railway Board in 1871. Masaru Inoue played a leading role in Japan's railway planning and construction, including the construction of the Nakasendo Railway, selection of the alternative route (Tokaido), and the proposals for future mainline railway networks.

Masaru Inoue was appointed director of Kozanryo (mining academy) of the Kobusho (Industry Ministry) and concurrently director of Tetsudoryo (railway academy) in 1871.


Wife Usako (1855-1907)

1872 Meiji 5

As the construction director, open Japan's first railway between Shimbashi and Yokohama

Old Shimbashi station platform reconstructedShimbashi yokohama

He was appointed exclusive director of Tetsudoryo in 1872 and was instrumental in the construction of Keihanshinkan Tetsudo (Railway connecting Kyoto and Hanshin). 

One of the most important things which he did was making the first railway in Japan. In 1872, the government decided to make a railway, and he was appointed the supervisor because he saw many techniques about it in London. He often went to the construction field and gave instructions by himself.

(In 1872, the railway between Shinbashi and Yokohama was started.)

The first railway in Japan was operated by the imperial government in 1872. The idea of centralization of the railway was promoted under the idea of "breaking down of the geographical barriers that existed in the feudal communities which hindered the centralization of authority"; placing the railways under government control was for military and political ends, the government had no intention for the central railway to be operated as a "model enterprise". Early shareholders of the railway were members of the nobility, holding "the major portion of (the) capital".[3] 



The education of the Japanese technicians apart, the sheer expense of having 'oyatoi' ('foreign employees') was undoubtedly one strong reason for urging speedy independence. 83 'oyatoi' were employed on the railway on its first operation in 1872, reaching a peak of 115 in 1874. This was in itself a huge financial drain, but the 'oyatoi' power, especially when backed by their home governments, was at times so strong as to intervene in internal affairs. Excessive 'Europeanization' led to the emergence of a backlash nationalist reaction. After the success of the Otsu line, Japanese officials remarked that the Japanese were better able to understand their own terrain and the assistance of foreign technicians became less and less acknowledged, perhaps influenced by a general desire to avoid recruiting foreign employees. With the emergence of competent Japanese technicians, this figure dropped to a mere 14 by 1888. 


The Tokyo-Yokohama ceremony over, Masaru went to inspect the Osaka-Kobe line, which, although work had commenced, showed but little progress. It emerged that this was mainly due to the lack of an able Japanese leader, inadequate telecommunications also hampering receipt of orders and . instructions from Tokyo. Masaru, therefore, suggested the temporary removal of the Railway Bureau to the Kansai area so that he personally might supervise the work and help overcome problems. This, however, met the unexpected opposition of Y amao, the Minister of Public Works. Frustrated With the lack of understanding Masaru resigned on 22 July 1873. 


Having had clashes before on other issues, the relationship between Y amao and Inoue completely deteriorated after this event. Both were stubborn, independent men; and their views may also have been influenced in part by the careers they had chosen. It is interesting to note that of the Five, only Endo and Masaru trod the path of 'pure' technicians, the other three going the way of administrative bureaucrats. The avoidance of colonization immediately before the opening up of Japan owed much to the work of Japanese technicians and specialized civil servants like them in a society where ranking was by class. Personal issues aside, their different paths must have only furthered the divide between the two. On his return to Japan in September from Europe, where he had been accompanying Iwakura, a shocked Ito set to work trying to heal the breach, and Masaru was finally persuaded to resume his post in January 1874, on condition that he might have a free rein and, by working round the clock, the Kobe-Osaka line was completed in May.

(In 1874, the railway netween Osaka and Kobe was started.)


In 1875, the first railway was opened between Shinbashi and Yokohama, which are famous places around Tokyo. 


The Railway Bureau was abolished in 1877, a Railway Commission was set up within the Public Works Ministry in its place to greet Masaru as Commissioner. Financial difficulties hampered the Osaka-Kyoto line but this too was officially opened with great pomp and ceremony on 5 February 1877, completing a 75km (47-mile) track linking Kobe, Osaka and Kyoto. 
in 1877, he decided to open an education and training center in Osaka offering a 5-year course for Japanese


Continually hindered by communication and administrative problems, Masaru felt the need to break out from dependency on foreigners and to educate skilled Japanese engineers. In May 1878, he set up an educational institute for civil engineering at Osaka station, with such experienced technicians as Thomas R. Shervington, Edmund G. Holtham and Iida Toshinori as principal instructors, and with himself also lecturing when time permitted. Masaru took the daring step of assigning his newly-fledged students to various sections of the Kyoto-Otsu line, plans for which were drawn up by British engineers, but all actual construction work was to be conducted by the Japanese at his insistence. Begun in August 1878, foreigners and Japanese alike were naturally sceptical, but to the credit of both teachers and pupils, despite serious tunnelling problems, the 10-mile line was completed in June 1880. Along with the appointment of the first Japanese engine-driver, this marked a real first step in the independence of the Japanese railways, filling people with a new sense of confidence. 

In August, 1878, construction of the Osakayama Tunnel between Kyoto and Otsu started with Toshinori IIDA as the general director. It became the first tunnel built only by Japanese.

1880 Meiji 13 Open the Osakayama tunnel.
The 665 meters long Osakayama Tunnel between Kyoto and Otsu was completed in 1880. It was the first time that an all-Japanese team had built a tunnel using Japanese technology and engineering. 
1882   He was appointed the kobu taifu (senior vice minister of the Industry Ministry) in 1882 and director general 
1883   The Meiji emperor rode on the rail and told him to expand the railway system throughout Japan, so he was inspired and made more efforts after that. To build up a railway between Kyoto and Otsu, which are located in m iddle parts of Japan, a tunnel construction was needed, but it was such a difficult work. In addition, it was said that it was impossible to build a tunnel by Japanese without foreign help, but he succeeded in making it only by Japanese people in 1883. 
1885   Director general and concurrently technical superintendent of the Railways Bureau of the Cabinet in 1885.

In 1887, Inoue Masaru was made a viscount.

Masaru Inoue

The new main lines included the Sanyo, Kyushu, and Kansai railways. In Hokkaido, the government- operated Horonai Railway was privatised and renamed the Hokkaido Tanko (Coal Mine) Railway. The above mentioned railways were called the "Big Five" in private railways. In addition, many private railways serving shorter routes were built in the suburbs of Tokyo and Osaka, and in regional cities. Railway mania had arrived!
In May 1887, the government established the Private Railways Ordinance to ensure uniform standards for railway construction nationwide

On May 24, 1887, he was given the title of Viscount because of his contributions to the establishment of the Mint and the development of railways.

1889 Meiji 22

Open Shimbashi / Kobe (Tokaido Line).

In 1889, less than twenty years after the very flrst railway, public and private included, the construction of the 1 OOOth mile was reached, celebrations for which were held in Nagoya. Dedicating himself so completely to the railway, Masaru had no private life to speak of; even his own house became a sort of railway club. Convinced of his vocation in the railway, he would often set off in straw sandals and a tunic of his own creation, ready to set to work immediately if any emergency work was at hand. On site, he would sit and dine amongst his subordinates, and hold animated discussions which only endeared him further; becoming the First Chief Commissioner to the Railway Agency in 1890, he was also elected to the House of Peers that year, to be re-elected two years running.

In July 1889, Japan's railway networks totalled 880 km for government railways and 840 km for private railways. A ceremony attended by representatives of government and private railways to celebrate the completion of 1,000 miles (1,610 km) of tracks was held in Nagoya.

(In 1889, Tokaido Main Line was completed.)

1890 Meiji 23

Become Commissioner of the Railway Agency.

He was selected as a member of the House of Peers and was appointed director general of the Railways Agency of the Ministry of Home Affairs in 1890.

In 1890, he became the Minister of Railways and a member of the House of Peers.

In May 1890, Tokyo Electric Light Co. (the first electric company in Japan, incorporated in 1884) laid a 500-m track at the Third Internal Industrial Exposition held in Ueno Park, Tokyo, and operated two Spragne electric tramcars imported from Brill & Co. of the USA. This was the first time electric trams operated in Japan.

1891 Meiji 24

In July 1891, Masaru Inoue, Director of the Railway Board announced two important proposals of railway policy. First, he pointed out the need for laws to ensure the establishment of longterm plans for constructing mainline networks, and the issuance of public bonds to obtain funds for constructing railways. Second, he proposed nationalization of private railways forming part of the mainline network. Mr. Inoue was a strong advocate of railway nationalization and reiterated his argument at every occasion. His proposals pointed to the future of railways in Japan and had an important effect on Japan's railway history.

Based on Inoue's proposals, the government sent two bills, the Railway Bond Act and the Railway Nationalization Act to the Imperial Diet. After major amendments, the diet passed the Railway Construction Act in June 1892. Compared to Inoue's original proposal, the Act deleted the provisions for nationalization of private railways, but envisaged much larger railway networks than already planned. It also required Diet approval for major modification of railway construction plans and commencement of new railway construction. Proposing construction of larger railway networks than the government's original plan reflected public demand for early railway construction in local communities, which recognized the value of railways.
The act required the government to submit railway construction plans to the Railway Council for consultation before the submission to the Diet. The Railway Council was composed of officials of the Railway Agency, related authorities, the army, the navy, and Diet members. It was authorized to amend the Railway Construction Act, and to determine railway construction budgets, the licensing and nationalization of private railways, train operation plans, and railway fares.

During the final stage of the Tokyo-Amori line in 1891, Masaru had occasion to visit Iwate. Expressing his regret over the many carefully-tended pastures and paddy fields that the railway must have destroyed and the hardships the farmers must have suffered, he discussed on his return to Tokyo the possibility of providing a large plot of farming land with Ono Yoshinobu, Vice President of the Nippon Railway Company, who in turn talked to Iwasaki Yataro. This led to the establishment of Koiwai Farm, taking the first characters of the founders' names.

Koiwai farm is opened.

Visit at Koiwai Farm somtime mid 1980s Katsuhide Inoue grandson to Masaru Inoue

Koiwai Farm 1983

In 1891 Masaru Inoue founded Koiwai Farm 小岩井 with Yanosuke Iwasaki and Shin Onogi.

The name Koiwai comes from the Kanji characters in surnames of the three founders – Gishin Ono (the “Ko” 小) was the vice-president of the Japan Rail Company, Yanosuke Iwasaki (the “Iwa” 岩) was the president of Mitsubishi Corp. and lastly Masaru Inoue (the final “I” 井) – the chief executive of the National Railway Agency. At the time it was founded, the site of the Koiwai Farm was barren land. The founders embarked on a soil improvement program that also involved the planting of countless trees to enrich the soil – a program that continues to this day.

Open Ueno - Aomori (Tohoku Line).

He argued for the nationalization of the railways in 1891 and submitted the "Tetsudo Koryaku ni Kansuru Gi" which built momentum for the enactment of the Railway Construction Law.

Inoue held the staunch belief that the railways should be public property, run and owned by the government, and was highly critical of the sudden growth in private lines, pointing out the speculative interest and political incentives behind the emergence of many unnecessary or even useless lines. So strongly did he feel that in 1891 Masaru presented a 'Proposal for Railroad Administration' to the government, in which he urged the predominance of government lines and the buying-up of private lines; but it was not until the nationalization law in 1906 that his recommendation was finally accepted


In 1892, he finally finished making the Tokaido line between Tokyo and Kobe, located in the centre of Japan.

(In 1892, the Railroad Construction Law was promulgated and the 'Railway Commitee' was established.)


He resigned as the director in 1893, but he kept working for the railway. In that time, the railway was developing, but it relied on foreign techniques and materials. Thus, Japan needed to pay much money to foreign countries. Then he thought Japan needed the technique which was made and used by Japanese.

In the meantime, construction of the section of the Nakasendo railway that had been under way at the time of the route change continued, and two sections between Naoetsu and Karuizawa, and Takasaki and Yokogawa started operation in 1885-88. However, construction of the remaining section between Yokogawa and Karuizawa (11.2 km) was hampered by the rugged geography. This section was finally completed in 1893 using an Abt rackand- pinion system capable of running on the 1/15 gradient.

At the end of March 1893, the total length of railways in Japan reached 3,010 km, divided into 885 km of government railways and 2,125 km of private railways.
In 1893, he resigned from the position of the Minister of Railways.


There were no other people who had much knowledge about the railway except him, so he worked hard to expand the railways. In 1894, the railway between Ueno located in Tokyo and Aomori in the north of Japan was also opened. 

Japan Railroad 1894


He cooperated with some of his friends such as Mori and Iwasaki, who were rich and had good education, and they established a new company called “Train production firm company” in 1896. The company built plants in Osaka and got orders for making trains. Thanks to the demand of the railway caused by Russo-Japan War , the company got many orders and became a big company. Also, other companies were established after that, which improved Japanese railway techniques.

After retirement from the government, Inoue founded Kisha Seizo Kaisha, the first locomotive manufacturer in Japan, becoming its first president in 1896.

The Railway Construction Act established detailed rules for railway construction in Japan, and allowed local communities to request construction of railways through their elected Diet members. However, the Railway Construction Act did not apply to Hokkaido, which came under the Hokkaido Railway Construction Act enacted in May 1896.

He established the Steam Train Manufacturing Company in 1896 assuming the presidency.
In 1896, he founded Kisha Seizo, a train maker, in Osaka.


Because Japan was suffering from a shortage of railway carriages, Masaru set up such a manufacturing company in 1896, which, with the outbreak of the Russo-Japanese War, became a great success, encouraging other private companies to set up also, and thereby helping accelerate the development and independence of Japan's railway enterprise, which celebrated its 5OOOth mile in 1903


In Tokyo, the Tokyo Horse Railway, which operated a horse railway service from 1882, switched to electric rail cars and became Tokyo Electric Tram Railway. Tokyo Street Railway was inaugurated in the same year, and Tokyo Electric Railway in 1904. The three companies operated electric trams in Tokyo and merged into Tokyo Railway in 1906 and become the electric railway company with the largest network in the country.


On April 1, 1906, he received the Grand Cordon of the Order of the Rising Sun.
(The railways were nationalized.)

The governmental system was largely expanded by the promulgation of the Railway Nationalization Act in 1906. 

Ever since the Sino-Japanese War in 1894, Masaru had been harbouring plans for a pan-Asian railway system, advocating his views whenever he visited the Asian continent and sending out Japanese technicians of his own so that they might apply some of their technology and contribute to development there. As time passed, his ambitions grew, and he began to dream of a railway that would stretch over Asia and into Europe. To this end, he yearned for an opportunity to be able to study the developments of the railways of Europe once more, but chance did not readily come his way.

This came at last, however, in 1910, on the occasion of the Japan-British Exhibition in London. The rail nationalization, so often advocated by Masaru, had finally been accepted and realized in 1906.

By the end of March 1906, immediately before railway nationalization, government railways covered 2,413 km with private railways reaching 5,213 km. Although construction of government railways progressed smoothly, private railways were always built at a faster pace, with the result that, despite frequent mergers, the number of private railway companies increased from 13 in March 1893 to 37 by the end of March 1906.
Private railway companies in Japan at that time were relatively large stock companies generating large profits. This favorable business environment led to the emergence of groups showing strong investment interest in railways. They were divided into two main groups: the zaibatsu or big business group, and commercial capitalists. Typical zaibatsu were Mitsui and Mitsubishi (Iwasaki). They were major shareholders in early mainline railways such as Hokkaido Tanko Railways, Kansai Railways, Sanyo Railways, Kyushu Railways, and Chikuho Railway, earning large profits from railway management. They promoted production and distribution in a variety of industrial fields using railways.
The commercial capitalists were found in the Tokyo-Yokohama and Kyoto-Osaka-Kobe regions and sought profits from management of railway businesses. In addition to mainline railways, they showed great interest in railways in and around large cities. In the early 1900s, they invested actively in electric streetcar systems (trams) in major urban areas.
During this period, capitalists in the rural regions still played a major financial role, but their financial power was limited, so that capitalists in large cities acted as a major force in financing railway construction projects. Even for many railways associated with local industries or railways in regional cities, capitalists in large cities were indispensable as major shareholders for financing construction projects.


This in turn led to the enlargement of the railway network, leading to the forming of a new Railway Agency in 1908. Its first President, Goto Shinpei, requested that a study of European railways be made by Inoue as adviser. Because he was 68 by this time and suffering from kidney disease, his family, friends and relatives did their utmost to prevent his undertaking such a suicidal trip, but there was no stopping the overjoyed Masaru.


 In 1909 he was appointed President of the Imperial Railway Association

Masaru Inoue CEO National Railway Agency

In 1909, he became the third president of the Imperial Railways Association.

1910 Meiji 43

He became advisor to the director of the Railways Department and went to Europe

Tour of the European railroad


 Taking but one young attendant and one small suitcase (which also contained a white funeral robe), stubborn old Masaru set off on 8 May 1910. The object of the trip being the study of the European railways, he was eager to try out the newly-opened Siberian railway, insisting on travelling overland from Asia into Europe, as had become his dream. Connections necessitating a day's stop-over in Dairen, Masaru wrote a detailed letter to his family back in Tokyo, which was in effect a will. He requested that, should he not return alive, his ashes be scattered over the tracks, one bone to be buried in Tokaiji temple, near the busy rail junction of Shinagawa. The half-month journey overland to London would have tired even the fittest of men. But, hardly sparing the time to leave his belongings at the hotel, Masaru hurried to the Williamsons, eager to thank the good professor who had taken the penniless 'Nomuran' into his heart and home, and had helped his dreams of study come true. The house was exactly as he remembered it, Mrs Williamson greeting him with great delight. Sadly, the professor had already passed away, Endo was no more and Ito had been assassinated in Harbin station some seven months earlier. The two, however, talked only of the happy bygone days. Masaru spent the next few days trying to look up those who had been so good to him in London long ago, with little success; the kindly Hugh Matheson had also passed away and Carpenter had vanished, as had so many of the others. Concerned at how pale and sickly he looked, Mrs Williamson urged that he see a doctor, appearing at his hotel with one in tow. To appease her, Masaru had a check up, to be told that his liver was in a serious state and that he should spend a few days in hospital. He spent a few days quietly in his hotel, but insisting he had work to do, the stubborn Masaru was off on a months' tour of Europe - France, Germany, Italy, Spain and Portugal. Returning to London in the heat of late July with far greater results than he had expected, he found also that the trip had been a great strain. On leaving Japan, he had declared that he would set a good example to 'all those modem spendthrift government students wasting good money on extravagance' (surely easier since he was now unable to drink!).

It is suggested that his illness was worsened by his insistence on tramping the hard streets instead of taking a cab. Aided by some resident Japanese and Mrs Williamson, he was taken into Henrietta Hospital, fondly hoping that 10 days' good rest would set him back on his feet; sadly, he passed away within that period, to be cremated at Golders Green on 3 August 1910. 

1910 Meiji 43

68 years old he died of illness in London the 2nd of August 1910. 

He died on an illness in London in 1910, during an official visit on behalf of the Ministry of Railways


His tomb is in the triangular bit of land where the Yamanote Line meets the Tōkaidō Shinkansen in Kita-Shinagawa. 

Flow the signs. (From Yamatate Dori)


It is hard to find so try google .

It's near Grave of Takuan, Shinagawa gakuen, Gongen-yama park, Global kids Osaki.

The closest train stations are: Osaki (East-south-east f Osaki) or Kita-shinagawa. (South-south-west of Kita-shinagawa)


Grave of Masaru Inoue

Memorial stone by the Japanese Railroad.

To the right you will find the stone - where Masaru Inoue are resting.

The black stone to the left is the following Inoue family members - after Masaru Inoue.

Eg.: Katsuhide etc.

On the other side you find another family grave and katana (Sword).

He died in London in 1910 while he was visiting there as studying railways. Through his life, he worked for Japanese railway system, and he improved Japanese transportation system.

His faithful young attendant carrying his ashes back over the seas, Masaru was buried in great pomp and ceremony in Tokaiji Temple on 2 September 1910, to keep an eye on his beloved railway, according to his wishes. Before retirement, wild rumours had flown that he had accumulated great wealth through the railway and that he had a fat vault hidden away in London, but his death revealed that he had only his pension and house to his name.


Masaru Inoue's legacy

Inoue Masaru (井上勝

Masaru INOUE (August 25, 1843, to August 2, 1910) was a samurai in the Edo Period (a feudal retainer of Choshu Domain) and a bureaucrat in the Meiji Period. He was a viscount in ranks and orders. His common name was Yakichi. He made contributions to the development of railways in Japan and is called the father of the Japanese railways. His statue is in the square in front of the Marunouchi Central Exit of the Tokyo Station.



In 1843, he was born as the third son of Katsuyuki INOUE, a feudal retainer of Choshu Domain (called the Ogumi family), in the castle town of Hagi. Although he was adopted into Nomura family as an heir, he was returned to his own family later. In 1863, he escaped from Choshu Domain and became a lordless samurai. Later he smuggled himself into England and studied until 1868 in London where he learned mining and railway technology at University College of London. After he came back to Japan, he served the new government, working hard as the Minister of Railways for the development of the railway business, including construction of the line between Shinbashi (Shinagawa) and Yokohama and Tokaido Main Line, and establishment of Nippon Railway Company (railways between Tokyo and Aomori). The railway business was later taken over by Takashi HARA and Shinpei GOTO.

He advocated the need for nationalization of the railways from early on, and in 1881 during his time as the Director General of the Railway Agency, he submitted to Takayuki SASAKI, the Minister of Industry then, a written opinion titled 'Argument against Private Railways from Director General of Railway Agency' stating that profit-oriented buisiness and competition of private railways would adversely affect the development of railways. In 1891, he, as the Minister of Railways, submitted to the government a written statement titled 'Opinion about Governmental Project on Railways'. His opinion that the main railroad lines should be owned by the national government later led to the Railroad Construction Law (1892) and the Railway Nationalization Act (1906). Many parliament members were, however, against enactment of the Railroad Construction Law, probably because they were shareholders of railway companies, and Ukichi TAGUCHI (president of Ryomo Railway) opposed INOUE, arguing that it was private railways that would facilitate the development of railways. As a result, the Railroad Construction Law was modified to give room to promotion of private railways, and being furious with this, INOUE resigned from the position of the Minister of Railways in 1893.

    Legacy (After-lane) and memory of Masaru Inoue
1910-1911   In Osaka, the municipal government entered the electric railway business and inaugurated the first route in 1903. It was extended side-by-side with urban development projects, including construction of new roads, widening of existing roads, and construction of bridges. The railway served as a major source of finances for the city to carry out its plans, and marked the first electric railway operated by a municipality.
With expansion of tram networks, electric railways became an essential means of transport for urbanites. In fact, electric rail services became so important that their management policy affected citizens' daily lives directly and elicited their quick responses. Fare increases often met with passenger protests, escalating into riots in some cases. More-and-more people opposed profiteering by private rail companies in cities, and the need for municipal management was often discussed. In the 1910s, electric railways in large cities that had started as private businesses were gradually taken over by the municipalities. In Tokyo, Tokyo Railway was handed over to the Electricity Department of Tokyo Municipal Government in 1911.
Meanwhile, electric railways were extended beyond city administrative limits and started being used for inter-city transport. The first example was Hanshin Electric Railways which started commercial operation between Osaka and Kobe in 1905. In the suburbs, railways were constructed on their own land, instead of public roads, allowing high-speed operation. As a result, electric railways began competing with steam railways. Soon, electric services took many passengers from steam which couldn't provide frequent services. Steam railway companies suffered large losses and were soon forced to change their operations to provide electric railway services in and between cities.
1914 Taisho 3 years

In honor of the achievement of railroad construction, a statue of statue is built in the central station of Tokyo Station Marunouchi.

Inoue Masaru's bronze statue stands in front of Tokyo station, humbly hidden amongst some trees. For four decades he had applied with the greatest dedication and single-mindedness the railway technology which he had first observed in London.

Statue of Masaru Inoue

In 1914, his statue was made at Marunouchi station, which is a famous place in Tokyo, to adm ire his achievement. Without him, Japanese railway would not really have developed, and transportation system would have been inconvenient. Thanks to his great effort, Japan got a railway made in Japan, which brought large benefits to Japanese economy and helped Japan develop.

1920   In 1920, the Ministry of Railways was established.
1964   In 1964, his grave at Oyama Cemetry of Tokai-ji Temple in Shinagawa was designated as a monument relating to railways.

The statue was re-established near Tokyo Station (North) - after renovation.

Re-established Statue of Masaru Inoue near Tokyo Station northMasaru Inoue statue re-established

You will find the statue of Masaru Inoue near the North exit of Tokyo Station.

2018 Old shimbashi station

Now museum (Old Shimbashi station.)

 Just near Shiodome Museum and Shiodome City Center.

with the point zero. (Where it all began)



150th anniversary - Katsumasa and Katsushige to join the event.


Links to other information and ref.:
Wikipedia :