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Meiji Okimono, Kinjiro Ninomiya, by Tsunenobu

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Item Number: AA174
 

 



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12" bronze okimono of the famous Edo Period boy scholar, Kinjiro Ninomiya. A great & inspirational true story that was used to inspire hard work & studies in Japanese Children.
Kinjiro was born in 1787 into a poor farming family in present-day Kanagawa prefecture in central Japan. His parents died when he was young and he was raised by an uncle who had a large collection of books in his house. Kinjiro wanted to spend his time reading books, but his uncle forced him to work, so he began taking books with him as he worked delivering firewood, and at night.

Kinjiro eventually became very wealthy and influential, and was hired by the local lord to rebuild the family’s treasury. His financial policies became famous, and spread throughout the country, making him very famous. He became a symbol of thrift and diligence, and in the pre-war years, thousands of Kinjiro statues were created, and placed in elementary schools all over Japan. Unfortunately, most of them were melted down during the war, and when it ended, his name had become wrongly associated with the right-wing military movement that had caused the war, so there are very few of these statues left today.
Controversy
n October 1994, Rollins College, a small private liberal arts college in Winter Park, Florida, United States made international headlines when the government of Japan, per the request of its Okinawa Prefecture, asked for the return of a statue that was taken as war loot by Clinton C. Nichols, a lieutenant commander in the United States Navy and Rollins graduate after the Battle of Okinawa in 1946. Nichols presented the statue of Ninomiya Sontoku to then Rollins President Hamilton Holt who promised to keep the statue in the main lobby of the college's Warren Administration Building forever.[2] At first, the college rejected the offer made by Okinawan officials, who suggested that a replica of the statue would be presented to the school if the original was returned to the island, however, after consulting both with the U.S. State Department and the college's board of trustees, then Rollins President Rita Bornstein accepted the offer and the statue was returned to Okinawa in 1995 in commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the end of World War II.[3] In addition to providing the college with a replica of the original statue, the government of Okinawa and Rollins signed an "an agreement of cooperation" that pledges to develop additional cooperative projects between the college and Shogaku Junior and Senior High School, the Okinawan school where the original statue has been placed.


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