Takahashi Korekiyo Memorial Park

Honouring the slave who became Prime Minister

By Sleiman Azizi    - 2 min read

The story goes that Takahashi Korekiyo travelled to the United States in the mid-19th century to study only to find himself sold off as as a slave by his landlord before eventually escaping and returning to Japan.

A fantastic tale if true, Takahashi Korekiyo moved from being an English conversation teacher to working as a government bureaucrat before heading off to Peru to set up a silver mine (which apparently failed). He returned to Japan and eventually become the country's 20th Prime Minister. A worldly life indeed.

Unobtrusive entry into the park (Photo: Tokyo Watcher)
Unobtrusive entry into the park (Photo: Tokyo Watcher)

Fluent in English, Takakahashi was born when Japan was still ruled by the Tokugawa Shogunate and Tokyo was still known as Edo. By the end of his life, he had lived through four different Imperial reigns and Japan had become an integral part of the modern world. Takahashi himself played an pivotal role in Japan's march into modernity.

Sadly, Takahashi's life was ended at the age of 81 when he was assassinated by radicalised members of the military. Japan had successfully pulled itself out of the Great Depression courtesy of his Takahashi's economic policies and his decision to cut military spending earned him the ire of many in the military. He would feel the ultimate brunt of that ire in 1936 during a failed coup d'etat.

Serene landscaping within the park (Photo: Tokyo Watcher)
Serene landscaping within the park (Photo: Tokyo Watcher)

The Takahashi Korekiyo Memorial Park was established in 1938 and is known for its traditionally-styled Japanese landscaping. For a man of the world, the park commemorating him is decidedly Japanese. A pond and the delicate leaves of Japanese maple trees only reinforce that view and the steps leading up to his statue presents a grand yet charming image.

Steps leading to the statue of the late Prime Minister (Photo: Tokyo Watcher)
Steps leading to the statue of the late Prime Minister (Photo: Tokyo Watcher)

Particularly pretty in spring and autumn, the park is a pleasant retreat from the modern world - the same world that Takahashi himself helped to create.

Getting there

Take any of the Ginza, Hanzomon or Toei Oedo Subway Lines to Aoyama-itchome Station. The park is about a minute from Exit 4.

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Sleiman Azizi

Sleiman Azizi @sleiman.azizi

A Japanese Permanent Resident, I drool over proper soba and sushi while Japanese aesthetics ticks all the right boxes for me.With over 100 published articles on Japan as well as 5 English language books written in a traditional Japanese style, I also happen enjoy writing. Funny that...I'm also the Regional Partner for Tokyo, Japan's never ending capital, so if you've anything to say about Tokyo - or Japan in general - don't be shy and contact with me via sleiman.azizi@japantravel.com

Join the discussion

Elizabeth Scally 2 weeks ago
What a tranquil and fitting memorial to an important statesman with world experience.

Right next door is the Canadian Embassy. If I understand correctly, the embassy owes its existence to the former estate of Korekiyo, which the park now occupies.
Sleiman Azizi Author 2 weeks ago
You can't compete with world experience, though some tried. Yes, next door is the Canadian Embassy and I think you may be correct about it too.
Elena Lisina 2 weeks ago
There were always progressive people in Japan who wanted Japan to be open, prosperous, friendly and free from prejudices, but they were punished for that...
Takahashi Korekiyo looks like a kind man.
Sleiman Azizi Author 2 weeks ago
Unfortunately that kind of thinking is everywhere.
Kim B 2 weeks ago
His death was as dramatic as his life from the sounds of it. Beautiful park!
Kim B a week ago
Yes, these days simplicity is often underrated but it’s something I find peace in!