Outline of Exhibition

Photo Albums of a Marquis Family:From Kido Takayoshi to Kido Koici, Four Generations of the Kido Family
Period Mar 1 (Tue),2011 - May 29 (Sun), 2011
Venue Special Exhibition Galleries, National Museum of Japanese History

Adults: ¥830 (¥560)
Senior high school & college students: ¥450 (¥250)
* Fees in parentheses apply to groups of 20 or more
* Admission to permanent collection included
* Free admission for elementary & junior high school students
* Free admission for senior high school students every Saturday

Hours 9:30 a.m. - 4:00 p.m. (no entrance after 3:30 p.m.)

Mar 7 (Mon), 14 (Mon), 22 (Tue), 28 (Mon), Apr 4 (Mon), 11 (Mon) , 18 (Mon), 25 (Mon), May 9 (Mon) , 16 (Mon) , 23 (Mon)

Sponsor National Museum of Japanese History

A group of materials related to the old Marquis Kido family (four generations from Takayoshi to Shojiro, Takamasa, and Koichi) were donated to the Museum from 1984 to 1998. Only a simple provisional catalogue had been made for them, and full-scale arrangements had not been made for a long time. In 2001, affiliate professors and members of the survey of materials started arranging and cataloging the materials. Now, these arrangements have finally been completed, and we anticipate the publication of the complete Catalogue of Materials related to the Old Marquis Kido Family. We will therefore hold an exhibition to fully publicize the materials based on the catalogue. Our exhibition this time will focus on photographs as materials that appeal to the eye most among the huge amount of 15,000 materials. The photos were taken over a long period from the late Edo and early Meiji periods to the post-war Showa period, and their main subjects are members of the Kido family. We will take a look at some distinctive photos among the 5,241 photos in total.

As the pillar of the exhibition, the following photos will be exhibited: photos related to Takayoshi Kido, which were taken in the late Edo and early Meiji periods including glass plate photos and photo albums related to the Iwakura Mission, which were taken in Europe and America; photos of Shojiro Kido who studied abroad and then died young; family photos of Takamasa and his wife, Koichi in his boyhood, etc., which convey how a noble family lived in the Meiji and Taisho periods; photos of Koichi Kido as a chief vassal of the emperor in the prewar Showa period and as a defendant at the Tokyo Tribunal of War Criminals after the war. We believe that the exhibition will show how effective photographs are as historical materials by following the public and private footprints of the Kido family, who occupied a significant position in modern Japanese history.

Exhibition Lineup

Takayoshi and people around him -- From the late Edo period to the early Meiji period

The first corner: Takayoshi Kido and the Meiji Restoration

Photos of Takayoshi Kido, who became a veteran statesman of the Meiji Restoration, sold like celebrity pictures after his death and spread to the public. They were originally taken by a photographer at the request of Takayoshi. Among the materials related to the Kido family collected by the Museum, it appears that there are no photos of Takayoshi before the Restoration, but there are several photos of him wearing a sword and with a topknot in the early Meiji period. Many of the photos of him with his hair cut and dressed in Western style were taken when he traveled to Europe and America in the Iwakura Mission.

The second corner: People of Choshu clan

The Choshu Domain to which Takayoshi Kido belonged drove the Meiji Restoration, and people from this domain occupied the greater portion of the Meiji government and formed clanships with people from the Satsuma Domain. Among the photos of the Kido family, there are many photos of people of the Mori family whom Takayoshi served, his comrades, junior fellows, and subordinates, as well as people related to the Choshu Domain who became his relatives.

The third corner: Group of people in the Meiji period

After the Restoration, Takayoshi Kido left his native domain and worked for the central government. After his death, members of the Kido family also moved to Tokyo and worked for the central government. For this reason, there are also many photos of people who did not belong to the Choshu Domain among the photos of people related to the Kido family. The handed-down materials do not cover all the prominent figures with whom Takayoshi had relationships, but they will be exhibited like a la carte dishes.

The fourth corner: People in the Iwakura Mission

The Iwakura Mission was dispatched from 1871 (Meiji 4) to 1873 (Meiji 6) in order to negotiate the preparation of the treaty revision and to visit the developed countries of Europe and America. Takayoshi Kido, who was deputy ambassador extraordinary and plenipotentiary, took photos of himself in the countries he visited and sent them to his family in Japan. His portraits were exchanged among his followers, and many portraits were supplied by foreigners and Japanese students studying abroad who met him.

From Shojiro to Takamasa -- From the early Meiji period to the mid-Taisho period

The fifth corner: Hikotaro Kido and Shojiro Kido studying abroad

Shojiro, who was a nephew of Takayoshi Kido and became his heir by adoption, studied in the United Kingdom from 1871 (Meiji 4) to 1875 (Meiji 8). He went to Germany to study again, and on his way home, he died of illness on ship in 1884 (Meiji 17). Meanwhile, his older brother Hikotaro studied in America from 1871 (Meiji 4) to 1874 (Meiji 7), and after the death of his younger brother, he took over the Kido family and called himself Takamasa. There are many photos of them taken while they were studying abroad.

The sixth corner: Takamasa Kido and his times

In 1884 (Meiji 17), Takamasa, who took over the Marquis Kido family after the death of his younger brother, worked for the Ministry of Agriculture and Commerce and then entered the Imperial Household Ministry to serve as a Togu Palace grand chamberlain and master of ceremonies, as well as a nurturer of imperial descendants. His wife Sueko was a daughter of Viscount Yozo Yamao, also from the Choshu Domain. Takamasa died at the age of 60 in 1917 (Taisho 6). Here, a slice of life of a noble family in the Meiji and Taisho periods will be shown through photos of this couple.

The seventh corner: The Kido family and their relatives

Takayoshi Kido did not have a son, and his family did not have many branch families to prosper except that Chutaro, who was a relative of Takayoshi's wife Matsuko, was adopted and established a branch family. However, Takayoshi had wide and splendid relations by affinity such as the family of Yozo Yamao who was the father of Takamasa's wife, the family of Saneomi Hirosawa who was a relative of Yozo Yamao, the family of Gentaro Kodama who was the father of Koichi's wife, etc. This means the formation of a strong network based on the blood relationships of people from the same hometown of Choshu (Yamaguchi Prefecture).

Footprints of Koichi -- From the mid-Meiji period to the Showa period

The eighth corner: Gakushuin and peers of noble families

After the Kido family became a noble family, Takamasa's children Koichi, Koroku, and their sisters received elementary and secondary school education at the Gakushuin and Girls' Gakushuin, which were schools established by the government and controlled directly by the Imperial Household Ministry. At the Gakushuin, children of the imperial family, old feudal lords, and court nobles, as well as descendants of vassals of merit of the Restoration studied together, and school life there cultivated personal connections that significantly affected the later life of Koichi and his brothers and sisters.

The ninth corner: Koichi Kido and significant changes in the Showa period

Koichi Kido found a job at the Ministry of Agriculture and Commerce in 1915 (Taisho 4). After having taken office as a chief secretary to the Lord Keeper of the Privy Seal in 1930 (Showa 5), he entered the world of politics and served as minister of education, minister of health and welfare, and interior minister. In 1940 (Taisho 15), he assumed office as the Lord Keeper of the Privy Seal and played an important role as aide to Emperor Showa at the center of power during the war. After the war, he became one of the defendants at the Tokyo Tribunal of War Criminals and was found guilty.

The tenth corner: Works of famous photographers

Pioneering photographers in Japan are Hikoma Ueno in the western area and Renjo Shimooka in the eastern area. Among the materials related to the Kido family, there are some photos taken at the photo studio of Hikoma Ueno in Nagasaki. The photos taken by Kuichi Uchida who opened shops in Yokohama and Tokyo are as old as the photos by Ueno. Takayoshi writes in his diary that he often had his photos taken at Uchida's shop.

Takayoshi Kido in the early Meiji period   Album of Takayoshi Kido
Takayoshi Kido in the early Meiji period
Takayoshi Kido poses with a sword. The sumi-ink text on the reverse side says that it was photographed at "Nishikyo." The text on the reverse side of the other copy of the same photo says that it was photographed in April 1869 (Meiji 2). Takayoshi writes in his diary of April 22: "Fine day, at 11:00, I went to Teramachi to take a photo with Takiji Kinashi." This may be a mention of this photo.
(Museum Collection)
Album of Takayoshi Kido
This is an insertion-type album for photos of name card size. Many photos of foreign monarchs of name card size are inserted in this album. It was obtained by Takayoshi Kido when he visited Europe in the Iwakura Mission. It would be ready-made and sold in a set. Photos of Bismarck, etc. are seen when it is opened.
(Museum Collection)
Four bushi warriors wearing swords, with three women in kimono and a child   Half-length portrait of Takayoshi Kido in Western clothing looking in an oblique direction
Four bushi warriors wearing swords, with three women in kimono and a child
This is a glass plate photo taken by an unknown photographer. The woman in the center would be Matsu Kido, and the child on the chair would be Shojiro.
(Museum Collection)
Half-length portrait of Takayoshi Kido in Western clothing looking in an oblique direction
The text "Shokikuko" is written in pencil on the surface of the album.
(Museum Collection)
Takamasa Kido and Sueko Kido   Onmohojisha in the New Year ceremony
Takamasa Kido and Sueko Kido
This is a photo taken to commemorate the wedding anniversary of Takamasa Kido and Sueko. It was photographed on May 18, 1888 (Meiji 21). Sueko was the eldest daughter of Yozo Yamao.
(Museum Collection)
Onmohojisha in the New Year ceremony
This was photographed on January 2, 1903 (Meiji 36). Onmohojisha means boys who held the hems of the Western court dresses of the empress and the imperial princesses in the New Year court ceremony.
(Museum Collection)

Note: Please note that items in the exhibition are subject to change.