The Sumitomo Family (住友家)

The Sumitomo Family is the founding family of Sumitomo Zaibatsu.

Origin of the Sumitomo Family: Earliest ancestor, progenitor, and business founder
Earliest ancestor of the Sumitomo Family
The surname of Sumitomo originates from Kotaro (Tadashige), the twenty-second-generation descendant of Takamochi-oh, a great grandson of Emperor Kanmu, who took the surname "Sumitomo" after the surname and given name of his father, Masami Hirauchi Tomosada, who lived at the end of the Sengoku period; and Kotaro served Shogun Muromachi and was appointed as the Bichumori guard.

The ancestors of the Sumitomo Family, who were Sengoku samurai and descendants of Heike, lived during the tumultuous period of Japanese history known as the Sengoku period (Period of Warring States), when warriors fought each other in order to expand their lands. The "earliest ancestor," Tadashige SUMITOMO, who served Shogun Muromachi, had a son called Yorisada who served Yoshiharu ASHIKAGA, and Yorisada's son Sadanobu called himself Osakabe-sho. Moreover, Sadanobu's son Sadashige served Yoshitada IMAGAWA (the grandfather of Yoshimoto IMAGAWA). After the Imagawa clan was destroyed during Nobusada's lifetime, Sadashige's son served Kiyohide NAKAGAWA in Settsu, calling himself the guardian of Irie Tosanokami. He was known as one of the "sixteen horses of Nakagawa", but died during the Battle of Ozaki. Then, Irie Tosanokami guard (Nobusada)'s son Masatoshi served the Shibata clan in Echizen-no-kuni, called himself the Wakasamori guard; he was stationed in Echizen-Maruoka-jo Castle but died in Hokujo-jo Castle together with Katsuie SHIBATA. Masatoshi's son Nagamichi was employed by Hideyasu YUKI, who was a son of Ieyasu TOKUGAWA and was adopted as a son-in-law by the Yuki Family, thus ending the history of the Sumitomo as a Samurai family. Nagamichi, who might have felt the severity and heartlessness of the ups and downs of the society of samurai families (although that was the way of Sengoku), ordered his children to leave the world of samurai families.

The first generation, Masatomo, foundation of "Fujiya"
Nagamichi's second son, Masatomo SUMITOMO, who had inherited the family estate instead of his elder brother Kobe, was born during the Tensho era, studied under Giyuishonin-Kugen (the founder of the Nehan-shu sect) and became a Buddhist who called himself "Monjuin Kuzen." Masatomo, who was considered the omniscient successor of the Nehan-shu sect, returned to secular life after the Nehan-shu sect was absorbed into the Tendai-shu sect during the Kanei era and opened "Fujiya," a business dealing with books and pharmaceuticals in Rakuchu (called himself Kakyu), and started a hardworking life. This marked the beginning of the Sumitomo Family as merchants. Masatomo wrote instructions pertaining to business in "Monjuin's Directions," which remains the prototype for company codes in each company of the Sumitomo Group to the present day.

The founder of a family and founder of the Sumitomo family business, the foundation of Senoku
In the Sumitomo Family there are two distinctions: the "founder of a family" in the Sumitomo Family, and the "founder of a business" of the Sumitomo Family. Masatomo SUMITOMO (the founder of a family), who was called Kakyu, had one son and one daughter: the son Seii inherited "Fujiya"; the daughter. Riemon Soga, who was the husband of Kakyu's elder sister and a dealer in copper who believed in the Nehan-shu sect and was a Buddhist parishioner of Ku-zen (Masatomo), gave Masatomo material and mental support when Masatomo returned to the secular life and opened "Fujiya." The eldest son of Riemon SOGA (the founder of a business), Riemon Tomomochi (Tomomochi SUMITOMO) was adopted by the Sumitomo Family, which turned out to be an encounter of the Sumitomo Family with copper. He is the ninth generation of Tadashige. Thereafter, the Sumitomo Family lived in Osaka and ran a business as copper merchants for generations using the name "Senoku."

Nanban-fuki, a method of refining copper
The Sumitomo Family is closely connected with copper refining, which began in the year 19 of Tensho when Riemon learned the refining method used to separate silver from crude copper, which was called the "Nanban-fuki copper refining method" by Hakusui of Minjin (from Min), who had come to Senshu-Sakaiura. At that time it wasn't known in Japan that gold, silver and the like were contained in crude copper, nor was the refining technique for separating gold and silver known. Riemon learned from Hakusui of Minjin the refining method and kept it secret, and thanks to the Nanban-fuki copper refining method the Sumitomo Family gained enormous profit by extracting silver from crude copper.

The Besshidozan copper mine
Excavation at the Besshidozan copper mine in Iyo was started in the 4th year of Genroku, which was during the lifetime of Tomoyoshi SUMITOMO, a grandchild of Riemon Tomomochi SUMITOMO. This developed into a mine that boasted the world's greatest copper production, supporting Japan as an important export item and serving as the major Sumitomo business for approximately 280 years. The foundation of today's Sumitomo Family, or the starting point of Sumitomo Zaibatsu, can be said to have been built by the Besshidozan copper mine that Tomoyoshi SUMITOMO developed; and in fact, in the history of the Sumitomo Family, the fourth-generation kichizaemon Tomoyoshi is considered to be the "restorer of the Sumitomo Family."

During the Meiji era the Sumitomo family was engaged in cultural enterprises, and the fifteenth-generation kichizaemon Tomoito SUMITOMO donated the building that would become the Osaka Prefectural Nakanoshima Library. Tomoito's son, the sixteenth-generation kichizaemon Tomonari SUMITOMO, was also a Araragi-ha poet and was on close terms with Mokichi SAITO and Jun KAWADA (who was also an executive at the Sumitomo main office).

Incidentally, it was from the third-generation head of the Sumitomo family, Tomonobu SUMITOMO (son of Tomomochi), that the heads of the Sumitomo family began calling themselves "Kichizaemon."

The Sumitomo Family in Sumitomo Zaibatsu

The Sumitomo Family in Sumitomo Zaibatsu, specifically since Tomoito SUMITOMO, took the position, "(He) reigns but does not govern." All the duties of the successive Kichizaemon as president of the zaibatsu (main company) are the repository of trust in the head of the directors of the main Sumitomo company (Sumitomo Limited Partnership Corporation); therefore, the successive Kichizaemon did not give any specific orders to the individual businesses. Additionally, although Kanichi and Moto, who were brothers of the sixteenth-generation Kichizaemon Tomonari, were stockholders of the Sumitomo main company, they were never named as executives of the main company or any of its subsidiary companies. In this respect the Sumitomo Family can be said to be in contrast with the Mitsui and Iwasaki families.

This tendency has in fact existed since the Edo period (there were many cases where family heads were not engaged in management because they were in infancy or in poor health, or for other reasons, and consequently the so-called "ohbanto" would control the business). Since the Meiji era, when the Companies Act was established on one hand while, on the other hand, Tomoito SUMITOMO (who had no experience as a businessman since he was from the Miyatake Family of old court nobility) became the family head, this tendency became more prominent.

However, this does not mean there was any kind of tension between the Zaibatsu Family and executives of the Zaibatsu main company or the subsidiary companies, as the Mitsui Zaibatsu had. As symbolized by the fact that Kichizaemon was called "Kacho-sama," extremely high respect was accorded to the Kichizaemon, from the high-ranking position of head of the directors down to the rank and file, and the successive Kichizaemon elevated the Sumitomo name through the cultural enterprise on one hand while on the other hand trying to raise the corporate morale as the family head and president of the Zaibatsu main company.

Designation of the Zaibatsu family
In November 1947, in an effort to disperse the power to control business by the Zaibatsu family and to break up the human relationships, the Zaibatsu family was designated and "zaibatsu douzoku shihairyoku haijo hou '48 [Law for the Termination of Zaibatsu Family Control] was established.
The Holding Company Liquidation Commission, in accordance with the order by the forces of the Allied Occupation, selected the standards by which to determine the scope of the Zaibatsu family as follows:

Ancestry within the third degree using the surnames of the Zaibatsu family and their families (excluding by marriage)
One million yen or more as the total of securities, cash, deposits and savings. The established minimums were 500 tsubo (approx. 1,600 square meters) in houses, 2,000 tsubo (approx. 6,500 square meters) in housing land, and 50 cho (approx. 120 acres) of agricultural and/or forest land. A stockholder who would have a stake of 10% or more of stocks issued by the company in question.
The power to control the business or influence management

According to the above-mentioned standards, in February 1947 the following people among the Sumitomo Family were designated as the Zaibatsu family:

The sixteenth-generation, Tomonari SUMITOMO
Yoshiteru SUMITOMO

Relatives and Marriages of the Sumitomo Family
Hereinafter the Sumitomo Family since the Meiji era, as well as their relatives and marriages, will be described.

At the beginning of the Meiji era, the Sumitomo enterprise was run by Kichizaemon Tomochika (the twelfth-generation Kichizaemon) and his son Kichizaemon Tomotada (the thirteenth-generation Kichizaemon). Misfortune struck the Sumitomo family, however, with the passing of their male heirs when Tomochika and then Tomotada died in 1890. At that time the sorinin of the Sumitomo Family, Saihei HIROSE, and the manager of the Osaka main office, Teigo IBA, decided that Tomochika's wife Toku would succeed to the name of the fourteenth-generation Kichizaemon on one hand and that Takamaro TOKUDAIJI, from the Seiga Family, would be adopted as son-in-law to marry Tomotada's younger sister Masu, whereby the bloodline of the Sumitomo Family could be successfully maintained. Takamaro TOKUDAIJI became the fifteenth-generation Kichizaemon Tomoito SUMITOMO, as a brother of Sanetsune TOKUDAIJI and Kinmochi SAIONJI. In fact, during the Edo period the imperial bloodline of the Emperor Higashiyama was adopted by the Tokudaiji Family of the Seiga Family, and therefore the Sumitomo Family was entitled to the status of baron because the fifteenth-generation kichizaemon Tomoito was exchanged to the imperial bloodline of the early-modern history when traced back according to the male line.

(Family line according to male line: Higashiyama Emperor - Kanin-no-miya Imperial Prince Naohito - Sukehira TAKATSUKASA - Masahiro TAKATSUKASA - Masamichi TAKATSUKASA - Kinito TOKUDAIJI - Tomoito SUMITOMO)

Tomoito SUMITOMO and his wife Masu, who was Tomochika's eldest daughter, had four sons (the third son died while still a child) and one daughter. However, since the eldest son, Kanichi, was disinherited, the second son, Atsushi, became head of the Sumitomo family, adopting the name Kichizaemon Tomonari to become the sixteenth-generation Kichizaemon.

Kichizaemon Tomonari SUMITOMO married Haruko, a second daughter of the duke Hachiro SAIONJI, the former Togu-shoku Goyo-gakari (Kinmochi SAIONJI's daughter's husband, the eighth son of the duke Motonori MORI, a feudal lord of old Nagato-no-kuni, of the Domain of Yamaguchi (Domain of Choshu)). Tomonari and Haruko, as husband and wife, had no sons but had two daughters; the first daughter, Kuniko, married Ikumi (a science faculty professor at Tokyo University), who was the first son of Yukisada SASAKI, a former marquess who had served in the position of the former Isejingu Daiguji. The former marquess Yukisada SASAKI, an authority on Kokushi (national history), was appointed as head of Koten Kokyujo and president of Kokugakuin University in 1942, and then served as the president of Kokushi-henshu-in, Guji of Tokyo Daijingu in 1946 and Daiguji of Ise Jingu in 1951. Yukisada's grandfather Takayuki SASAKI was privy councilor and a head of education for Harunomiya (Taisho Emperor). On the other hand, Tomonari and Haruko's second daughter Hiroko married Naoyuki (Mitsui Fudosan Co., Ltd.), the second son of Masao ANZAI, who was formerly the president of Showa Denko K.K. Naoyuki's elder brother, in other words Masao's first son Takayuki ANZAI (the president of the former Showa Engineering Co., Ltd.), married Emiko, who was the second daughter of Hidezaburo SHODA, who was the president of the former Nisshin Seifun Group Inc. (the head office of which is now Nisshin Seifun Group Inc.). Because Emiko's elder sister, or SHODA's first daughter, is Michiko (of the Imperial Family), the Sumitomo Family is related by marriage to the Imperial Family through the Anzai and Shoda families. Moreover, because the person who married Naoyuki ANZAI's younger sister Kimiko was Kensuke HOTTA (Sumitomo Bank), the first son of Shozo HOTTA, who was Sodanyaku of Sumitomo Bank, Shozo HOTTA, who was the former Iincho of the Sumitomo family council after Shigeru OKAHASHI became related by Keibatsu, there was a Keibatsu blood connection to the Sumitomo Family through the Sodanyaku of Sumitomo Bank, at the soriji rank. Hachiro Saionji's third son, Fujio SAIONJI, married the eldest daughter of Yoshisuke AYUKAWA and became the president of Nissan Kogyo K.K., a subsidiary company of the Nissan Konzern Company Group. Kinkazu SAIONJI, who was a former member of the House of Councilors and worked to improve ties between China and Japan, is the eldest son of Hachiro SAIONJI and the eldest brother of Haruko and Fujio.

Tomonari SUMITOMO's elder sister Takashi married Tadateru, the third son of Viscount Tadabumi TORI, who was the feudal lord of the domain of the former Mibu (30,000 koku); consequently, Tadateru changed his name to Tadateru SUMITOMO through his adoption as a son-in-law by the Sumitomo Family. Tomonari SUMITOMO's younger brother, Moto SUMITOMO, married Sueko, the seventh daughter of Earl Tadaie SAKAI, who was the feudal lord of the domain of the former Obama (14,000 koku). Sueko's elder sister, Kaeko, married the former earl Yorihiro MATSUDAIRA (Riji of Hongo Gakuen), who was the descendant of the feudal lord of the domain of the former Takamatsu. Sueko's elder sister, Saeko, married a grandchild of Yataro IWASAKI, the founder of Mitsubishi Zaibatsu, and her daughter Yuriko (niece of Sueko) married Kiyotaka CHINZEI (professor emeritus at Kyoto University), who was included on a list of important figures as a doctor (science) of paleontology. Yuriko's elder brother and a nephew of Sueko, Yasuhide IWASAKI (the great-grandchild of Yataro and a professor emeritus at Kumamoto University) was, like CHINZEI, a paleontologist and a doctor of science.

Tomonari's elder brother, Kanichi SUMITOMO, was born on May 23, 1896. As mentioned above, since he devoted himself to painting when he was young, he lost his right to inheritance, and thereafter he lived as a painter and art collector and was on close terms with Ryusei KISHIDA. Nearly all the Chinese calligraphy and paintings in the possession of Senoku-hakuko-kan are from Kanichi's collection. The tearoom of "Murakami-tei," which is designated as an important building of the Kamakura City landscape, was transferred from Kanichi's house in Kamakura. Kanichi and his wife, a daughter of Munemitsu MINAGAWA, had four sons and two daughters. Their eldest son, Tsutomu SUMITOMO, served as president of the former Sumitomo Business Consulting and Sumitomo Australia Development. Yoko, the wife of Tsutomu SUMITOMO's eldest son Susumu (NEC Corporation), is the second daughter of Tokuro IWASE, who is president of Toso Sangyo Co. Ltd. Tokuro IWASE's father, Tokusaburo, was president of the former Toyo Soda Manufacturing Co., Ltd. The eldest daughter of Tokuro IWASE married Kenzaburo, who was adopted by the eleventh-generation Shichi-zaemon MOGI, a member of the Kikkoman (Corporation) family. Meanwhile, Tsutomu SUMITOMO's younger sister Fumiko married Yoshio MIWA, president of the former Mitsuwa Soap Corporation, and Yoshio's younger sister Satoko married Saheiji MOGI, the tenth president of the former Kikkoman Corporation. As a result, the family of Kanichi SUMITOMO, who was a brother of the Kichizaemon, was related to the Mogi Family by marriage twice over. Tsutomu SUMITOMO's younger brother Masaru married Momoe, a daughter of Hachiro ASANO, the president of the former Kanto Denko. Hachiro ASANO is the third son of Souichiro ASANO, who was the second-generation sosui of Asano Zaibatsu. The second-generation Souichiro's wife, Chiyoko, is a daughter of Taisuke ITAGAKI, a politician who led Jiyu Minken Undo, the Democratic Rights Campaign.

The family head's younger brother Moto was born on January 1, 1912. He graduated from the Kyoto University Department of Physics in 1936, and started working for Sumitomo Metal Industries, Ltd., in 1946. He became the research chief of the Technical Department of Seikosho, the technical manager of Seikousho, the deputy head of Seikousho for Tomonari and a research manager at the same time; subsequently, he was the vice head of Chuo Gijutsu Kenkyusho, Chuo Technical, and then became the Torishimariyaku head of Chuo Gijutsu Kenkyusho, Chuo Technical Laboratory, in November 1962, became Jomu, and then took the position of Senmu in November 1970, Sodanyaku and chairman of Sumitomo Precision Products Co., Ltd. in November 1972. Moto SUMITOMO's eldest son, Yoshio SUMITOMO, is also a doctor of engineering, having graduated from the Osaka University graduate school's doctoral course in basic engineering; however, since his uncle, family head Kichizaemon SUMITOMO, had no legitimate son to be an heir, Yoshio was adopted by the family head Kichizaemon.

As mentioned above, the Sumitomo Family had a close Keibatsu blood connection with former nobility over the two generations, starting with the previous generation. Speaking of the connection with the former noble, in addition to the descendant of Kanichi, the elder brother of the family head Kichizaemon, Mitsuko, who was the wife of the fourth child Toru, was a daughter of the former duke Hiromichi TAKATSUKASA. The Takatsukasa family is the highest-ranking regent family of all the court noble families, and has a close connection with the Tokudaiji and Saionji families. For example, Kinto TOKUDAIJI, the father of the family head (two generations ago) Tomoito SUMITOMO, Duke Kinmochi SAIONJI and Duke Sanetsune TOKUDAIJI, who was the former grand chamberlain, was adopted from the Takatsukasa Family by the Tokudaiji Family. Moreover, as Sanetsune TOKUDAIJI's eldest daughter Junko married Hiromichi TAKATSUKASA (an army major-general and the grand chamberlain), the father of Nobusuke TAKATSUKASA, the Takatsukasa and Tokudaiji families have a finely meshed pattern of strong blood connections. As mentioned above, the Sumitomo Family has a family line with a close Keibatsu, Keibatsu blood connection with former nobles, particularly the highest-ranking sekke--the Seiga Family--and if the Sumitomo Family is the western yokozuna among the old Zaibatsu, the Sumitomo Family also has a close connection with the Mitsui Family, the eastern yokozuna.

In the Naramitsu Family, the younger sister of Masu was the wife of Motoito SUMITOMO, married Takayasu MITSUI (Morinosuke), who was the president of the former Mitsui & Co., Ltd., and the eighth-generation family head of the "Mitsui-Nagasakacho Family," which was one of the Eleven Families of Mitsui. It is said that when Naramitsu married into the Mitsui Family, seven freight cars were hired to send wedding dresses from Osaka to Tokyo. Moreover, since Takayasu MITSUI's eldest son Takaatsu (the torishimariyaku of Mitsui & Co., Ltd.) married Reiko, who was younger sister of Hachiroemon MITSUI, the tenth-generation Hokke, being the Mitsui Soryo-ke family and heir, the Keibatsu, Keibatsu blood connection between the Sumitomo and Mitsui families is not only a simple bond between one family and another family but is also a genuine connection directly connecting the Honke and Soryo-ke families and heirs. However, the connection with the Mitsui Family is not only as mentioned above. Tomoko, who was the third daughter of Duke Sanetsune TOKUDAIJI, who is the elder brother of the former generation of Kichizaemon, married Koju MITSUI of the Mitsui-Muromachi Family; and because Tsuruko, who was the eldest daughter of the former baron Norimaro Tokudaiji, who was the third son of Sanetsune and started the branch family, that is, the granddaughter of Sanetsune married Takanao MITSUI of the Mitsui-Shinmachi Family, which means Honke of the Sumitomo Family and Honke of the Mitsui Family have quadruple or quintuple Keibatsu, Keibatsu blood connections. Moreover, the former viscount Tadakazu TORI, who was the elder brother of Tadateru--a husband of the elder sister of the head of family Kichizaemon--married Hiroko, who was the eldest daughter of Hachiro-jiro, the eighth-generation Mitsui-Minami Family. The Sumitomo Family has extensive connections by marriage with former nobles, particularly with the above-mentioned court noble families, as well as with five of the eleven Mitsui families (including the Mitsui Soryo-ke family and the heir); namely, the Hokke, Nagasakacho, Muromachi, Minami, and Shinmachi families.

Every year on April 25, presidents, chairpersons and sodanyaku of direct affiliates of the Sumitomo Group gather to attend the "Shido-sai" held in "Ariyoshi-en," which was historically a Sumitomo-ke Bettei in Shishigadani in Kyoto Higashiyama, where "Gozan-no-okuribi" is performed. There is a small shrine called "Hosendo" in a corner of Ariyoshi-en, which covers an area of approximately 9,900 square meters. The year 1940 was the one in which the celebration of the 2,600th anniversary of the founding of the Japanese nation was held, but this year was also the 250th anniversary of the opening of the Besshidozan copper mine; and to enshrine the souls of the deceased successive Sumitomo family heads and the deceased executive officers of the old Sumitomo Honsha this shrine was designed by Eikichi HASEBE and built as a refined space where the tablets of the above-mentioned deceased people are enshrined. The people who are allowed to attend "Shido-sai" are limited to those who are related to the Sumitomo Family and members of "Hakusui-kai," which is a group for the presidents of direct affiliates of the Sumitomo Group and graduates of Hakusui-kai (former presidents). That is, "Shido-sai" is a day on which the family head of the Sumitomo Family and the highest-ranking executive officers such as presidents, chairpersons and sodanyaku of direct affiliates of the Sumitomo Group gather once a year for the "memorial service for the deceased." Incidentally, April 25 is the death day of Riemon SOGA, the "founder of business." Each year Shido-sai is organized by a company that is a member of "Hakusui-kai," the order being established by rotation.

Transition of the houses of the Sumitomo Family
Old Sumitomo-ke Unagidani-Bettei
Old Sumitomo-ke Ususan-Hontei (Keitaku-en)
Old Sumitomo-ke Sumiyoshi-Hontei (Sumiyoshi-mura, Hyogo Prefecture)
Old Sumitomo-ke Kinugasa-Bettei (St. Josef Shudoin Monno-Ie, Hermitage, a registered tangible cultural property)
Old Sumitomo-ke Shikagaya-Bettei (Ariyoshi-en)
Old Sumitomo-ke Matano-Bettei (national important cultural properties)
Old Sumitomo-ke Nasu-Bettei
Old Sumitomo-ke Azabu-Bettei
Old Sumitomo-ke Surugadai-Bettei
Old Sumitomo-Kaikan, Izumi Garden Tower, Senoku-hakuko-bunkan
Old Sumitomo-ke Suma-Bettei (Suma Kaihin Koen Park)

[Original Japanese]