Dr. Inazo Nitobe and Banff

September 1, 2022 marks Dr. Inazo Nitobe’s 160th birthday. On this occasion, the Consulate wants to introduce him, whose last workplace was Banff, Alberta, to you, the people of Canada.

He was born in Morioka, Iwate, northern part of Honshu-Island on September 1, 1862 (before the Meiji Restoration). If you have been to Japan before, you might recognize him by his face. He appears on the previous 5,000 Japanese Yen bill. Some might know his name through his famous book “Bushido: The Soul of Japan” (first written in English and published 1900).

He was not only a good writer, but also a great diplomat. He served as the Under-Secretary General of the League of Nations (1920-1927). Before that, when asked about his reason for applying then-Imperial University (now The University of Tokyo), he stated “I wish I could be a bridge over the Pacific”. Since then, despite difficult situations surrounding Japan and the world, he preserved to enhance the mutual understanding among countries and worked hard for world peace.

After Japan’s announcement for its withdrawal from the League of Nations in 1933, he, as the Japan’s head of delegation, attended the fifth Conference of the Institute of Pacific Relations in Banff, Alberta in fall, 1933. The venue was at The Banff Spring Hotel (now known as The Fairmont Banff Springs). As you may already be aware of, those times were not friendly for Dr. Nitobe.

He was not successful at his last conference. But his efforts to be “a bridge over the Pacific” were worth praising. The Consulate would also like everyone to remember, he pursued the peace in beautiful Banff, Alberta, under a tremendously difficult situation. After the Conference, he passed at the age of 71 following a surgical operation in Victoria, B.C. on October 15, 1933.

Now, there is Nitobe Memorial Garden at the University of British Colombia Vancouver Campus and this Japanese garden welcomes many visitors.

Last, but not least, the Consulate is grateful that Morioka Memorial Museum of Great Predecessors kindly gave its consent to the usage of Dr. Nitobe’s Photo in Banff.