The Doric Columns
Glover's Son Tomi-San
Thomas Albert Glover 1870-1941 - Businessman, Biologist and Artist.
Glover's son was originally named "Shinzaburo" and remained with his natural mother until the age of about 6. Like many other Foreigners who fathered children in casual relationships with Japanese women, Glover perhaps wanted to give his mixed race son a Western-style education and so paid the mother Maki a certain sum of money and persuaded her to give the child up. Glover was now living with a Japanese woman named Tsuru, who had given birth to a daughter named Hana in 1876.
After coming under the care of Thomas and Tsuru, Shinzaburo adopted his stepmother's maiden name Awajiya as a family name and "Tomisaburo" as a given name. From that day onward he was called "Tomi-san" by Japanese people and "Tommy" by Foreigners and used the name T.A. (Thomas Albert) Glover when speaking or writing in English. In 1880, American Missionary C S Long and his wife arrived in Nagasaki and the following year established a Methodist school called Cobleigh Seminary in the Higashiyamate quarter of the European Settlement. Tomisaburo was a member of the 1st class. Four years later he entered Gakushuin (Peers School) in Tokyo, at the time the most exclusive Educational Institution in Japan. During his 4-year stint there, Tomisaburo lodged at the house of Iwasaki Yanosuke, the President of Mitsubishi Co. and close friend of his father.
The school records show that Tomisaburo achieved excellent grades at the beginning of his career at Gakushuin. In fact, he was placed 1st in his class. He later fell behind, however, possibly because of abuse from his classmates over his mixed race and mother's background. This conjecture is supported by the fact that, during his years at Gakushuin, he changed the character for ya in Awajiya from "shop" which suggests plebeian ancestry, to "valley" which strikes a more elegant chord. Tomisaburo graduated from Gakushuin in March 1888, and on September 1 the same year his name was officially entered in the Japanese family register as the adopted son of Tsuru Glover.
In the autumn of 1890 he entered the University of Pennsylvania as a student in the pre-medical Biology course. His reason for choosing the University of Pennsylvania is further evidence of the intimate relationship between the Glover and Iwasaki families: Iwasaki Hisaya (1865-1955), who later succeeded his father as President of Mitsubishi Co., had been studying in the Wharton School of Business at the University since 1887. He graduated in the spring of 1891 with a Bachelor of Arts degree, the only foreigner in his class. During the less than 1 year they were together in Philadelphia, Hisaya undoubtedly served as Tomisaburo's mentor and helped him settle into University life. Tomisaburo returned to Nagasaki in 1893 after 2 academic years. Although not obtaining a degree, he had had an experience that only a tiny handful of wealthy Japanese could enjoy at that point in history. The stay in Philadelphia had helped him master the English language and European manners, to establish friendships and to gain an International outlook. Moreover, the study of Biology was to remain a vital interest throughout his life.
Also known as "Tomisaburo Guraba," he was the son of Thomas Blake Glover and a Japanese woman Kaga Maki. Tomisaburo was born in 1870. He studied at Chinzei Gakuin in Nagasaki and Gakushuin in Tokyo. In 1888, he travelled to the United States to study at Ohio Wesleyan University and the University of Pennsylvania. When he came back to Japan in 1892, he joined the British Trading Company Holme, Ringer & Co. in Nagasaki. After that he served as a bridge between the Japanese and Foreign Communities and made many important contributions to the local economy. He spoke both languages fluently, and his warm personality made him popular among both Japanese and Foreigners. Circumstances that developed during the 2nd World War, unfortunately, ruined his life. The Japanese Military regarded him as a potential spy. In 1939, he was forced to leave the Glover House because it overlooked the Mitsubishi Nagasaki Shipyard. At the time, the Battleship Musashi was being built under secrecy at the Shipyard. The War began with the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbour 1941. This was Tomisaburo's worst nightmare. Ironically, it occurred on December 8, his birthday.
Holme Ringer & Co.
Subsequently, the young man was in the unique position of being a member of both communities: a Japanese National and registered Nagasaki resident named Kuraba Tomisaburo, and an employee of the British firm Holme, Ringer & Co. and active member of the Nagasaki Foreign Settlement named Mr Thomas Albert Glover. In June 1899, Tomisaburo married Nakano Waka, the 2nd daughter of British Merchant James Walter and a Japanese woman named Nakano Ei. Walter and Thomas Glover shared an intimate connection with the British firm Jardine, Matheson & Co. and both were active in the business communities in Yokohama and Tokyo. Tomisaburo and Waka did not have children, but their similar backgrounds and interests made them inseparable lifelong partners.
Fish of the Sea
During the 1st years the catches were distributed mainly in Nagasaki and surrounding areas, but in February 1912 Tomisaburo arranged for a trial shipment by train to the markets in Osaka. This experiment proved an enormous success and marked the beginning of Nagasaki's role as the foremost fish-producing prefecture in Japan a position that it holds to this day. In many ways the year 1908 marked a significant turning point in the modern development of Nagasaki and Japan as a whole. Aside from the epoch-making introduction of Steam Trawlers, it is noteworthy that the total production of local shipyards exceeded the volume of imported ships for the 1st time this year. Japan was finally overcoming its dependence on foreign industry and technology. It had proven itself to be a new world power after successive victories in wars with China and Russia and was now glowing with pride, confidence and growing industrial might.
The Glover Fish Atlas
The fish atlas was Tomisaburo's life work and his prized possession. Indeed, this Herculean work of Art and Science put Japan on a par with Europe and America in the scientific documentation of fish species and made a significant contribution to this branch of human knowledge.
The Nagasaki Mitsubishi Shipyard also began to concentrate on the production of Warships. In 1938, the construction of 1 of the world's largest and most formidable battleships the Musashi began in Dock No. 2 at the shipyard under commission from the Japanese Navy. The dock had been equipped with a huge gantry crane in March 1936, making it the largest in the Orient. The project proceeded under strict secrecy. In order to prevent outsiders both Japanese and foreign from viewing the work, rope curtains were hung from tall wooden frames around the dock, and uniformed guards stood watch along the streets nearby. Even passengers on ships to outlying islands were ordered to stay inside and to draw black curtains across the windows when leaving and entering Nagasaki Harbour.
The construction of the Musashi brought a wrenching upheaval in the lives of Kuraba Tomisaburo and his wife Waka. On June 30, 1939, they sold Glover House to Mitsubishi and moved into the house at No.9, Minamiyamate at the bottom of the hill. The new house was a fine 2-storey Western-style structure with a long entrance and spacious gardens with an enormous centuries-old camphor tree, but it certainly had none of the personal or historical significance of Glover House. Most Japanese records claim that for some unstated reason Tomisaburo came forward and asked Mitsubishi to buy the house, to which request the Company agreed. It seems obvious, however, that Tomisaburo's presence in the house which commanded an excellent view of the shipyard where the Musashi was taking shape was altogether unacceptable to the Military Authorities supervising the project, and that they forced Mitsubishi to persuade Tomisaburo to sell the house and move out. His many close friends at the company were undoubtedly grieved to see this happen, but their sentiments had no sway over the decisions of the Military. Willing or not, Nagasaki had become an important cog in the expanding Japanese war machine. The Naval Authorities dispatched to Nagasaki from other parts of the country had no knowledge of or interest in Tomisaburo's contributions to the City's economy and culture in peace time, let alone any nostalgia about Thomas Glover's role in the establishment of the modern Japanese Navy. In their eyes Tomisaburo was nothing more than a potential spy.
The situation continued to deteriorate. Tomisaburo and Waka tried to carry on with their social life as before, but they found themselves increasingly hampered by the kempeitai military police who were now exercising considerable control over daily affairs in the city. Everyone was subject to the bullying presence of these military police, but the homes of Tomisaburo and other residents of mixed ancestry were kept under special surveillance to prevent any "unpatriotic" activities. When Tomisaburo or Waka left the house and went into the city, the police followed them and took careful note of the people to whom they spoke. These people were later interrogated about the content of the conversations.
Then, on December 8, 1941, Japan declared war on Britain, the United States and Holland and launched a surprise attack against the American Fleet at Pearl Harbour the same day. Until now only a looming threat, Japan plunged into war with the Allied countries and its armed forces began their drive to take over Hong Kong, Singapore and other areas of East Asia under European domination.
Despair & Tragedy
On May 4, 1943, Waka died at the age of 68 in the house at No. 9, Minamiyamate. The loss of his partner of more than 4 decades and the 1 person who intimately shared and understood his deepest feelings was a crushing blow to Tomisaburo as became the last member of the Glover family in Japan. After that he fared as best he could, spending his time tinkering in the garden, caring for his dogs and reading about the war in the newspapers. He now rarely left the Minamiyamate property, and his simple needs were attended to by a faithful housekeeper. Near the end of the war, air-raid sirens began to sound with increasing frequency, but for the most part Nagasaki was spared the blanket bombings devastating other cities. An air-raid alarm was sounded early in the morning of August 9, 1945 but was lifted around 8:30 a.m. People emerged from the shelters and went back to their daily routines. Tomisaburo was at home as usual when the hands of his watch crept past 11 o'clock.
Suddenly a brilliant flash of light filled the sky, followed within seconds by a thunderous explosion and ferocious blast of wind. The American B-29 that had dropped the 2nd atomic bomb on Japan slanted high over Nagasaki Harbour and disappeared into the southern sky. Although the house at No.19 Minamiyamate was located more than 5 kilometers from the hypocenter, the windows were smashed in by the blast and the ceramic roof tiles flew off like flecks of dirt. As Tomisaburo reeled in shock, a mushroom cloud churned up into the hot summer sky over the northern part of Nagasaki. Six days later on August 15, the Emperor made his historic announcement of surrender over the radio and the cruellest war in human history came to a close.
The entire northern section of Nagasaki was a barren smoking wasteland, and much of the rest of the city had been severely damaged by the blast and subsequent fires. Thousands of corpses still lay strewn among the rubble, and the valley and mountainsides facing the hypocenter were scorched reddish-brown and stripped of all life. On the morning of August 26, when rumours about the impending Allied occupation were darting around Nagasaki, Kuraba Tomisaburo was found dead in 1 of the disarranged rooms of his house. He had strangled his dogs and then hung himself with a length of clothes line, dying hunched forward, feet on the floor and eyes locked open in an eternal stare. Higher up the hillside, the Glover House stood ravaged and desolate, its broken windows looking out onto the devastated City like eye holes in a skull. A breathless hush hung over the neighbourhoods of the foreign settlement, and the once bustling harbour was now drained permanently of activity and international colour.
Tomisaburo's self-inflicted death just when the end of fighting should have meant profound relief is a mystery that may never be solved. Did he, like so many other Japanese immediately after the war, succumb to the backlash of years of hardships that turned out to be futile? Did this, along with the fact that he was 71 years old, utterly alone and deeply grieved by the destruction of his hometown, push him over the brink of despair? Undoubtedly yes. But for Tomisaburo the impending Allied occupation was perhaps the final catalyst. For 6 years he had patiently endured the unfounded suspicions of his Japanese countrymen. Now he faced the prospect of accusations by the British and Americans or, even worse, pressure to do what for Tomisaburo was the impossible: to take sides.
The explanation for his suicide was that American Forces would soon be arriving in Nagasaki and that Tomisaburo did not want to take sides in the conflict by either offering or refusing to cooperate with the American Forces. He was both British and Japanese, and suicide was his chosen way to avoid having to demonstrate any specific alliance. His remains were cremated and buried in the Glover Family plot at Sakamoto International Cemetery.
He clearly respected the Japanese Samurai ideals in his despairing dichotomy.
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