Friday, May 6 1921: Toshitsune KAWAKAMI assumed the post of the first Polish Minister in Warsaw.

1921 (Taisho 10) Friday, May 6: Toshitsune KAWAKAMI assumed the post of the first Polish Minister in Warsaw. Poland was an emerging country that gained independence the year before.

Kawakami was born as the first son of Sentaro KAWAKAMI, a feudal retainer of the Murakami Domain with a stipend of 150 koku, in Iino, Uehommachi, Niigata Village. He studied at hanko “Kajukan” and graduated from the Department of Russian language at Tokyo University of Foreign Studies in 1884 (Meiji 17). He joined the Ministry of Foreign Affairs as a trade official, and while he was stationed in Vladivostok, he commanded Japanese residents in Russia to escape when the Russo-Japanese War broke out. In January 1905 (Meiji 38), he served as a Russian interpreter at the Nogi-Stessel talks when Lushun fell. In October 1909 (Meiji 42), he welcomed Hirobumi ITO as Consul General of Harbin at the head of Harbin Station and during the assassination of Ito, he was seriously injured by a stray bullet.

Visiting Russia, which was in chaos during the Russian Revolution, he informed Japan of the state of the revolution. In the negotiation for the conclusion of the basic treaty with the Soviet Union after the Siberia expedition, he was ordered by Shinpei GOTO to conduct preliminary negotiation with Joffe, the representative of the Soviet Union. He was involved in the plot to disturb the rear of Russia and contacted with leaders of the Polish independence movement, so he was appointed as the first minister in 1921 (Taisho 10) after Poland’s independence.

During that time, he served as Consul General of Japan in Harbin and Moscow, Director of the Mantetsu, and made efforts to found Harbin Academy. After that, he assumed the position of president when Kitakafuto Mining Co., Ltd. was established in 1927 (Showa 2), and then he also assumed the position of president of Nitro Gyogyo. He was one of the most important diplomats involved in Russo-Japanese relations from the Meiji period to the Showa period. His daughter married Joji MATSUMOTO’s son, who was famous for his draft constitution. His grave is in Tama Cemetery. It is located on the side of 1 species and 12 in Section 6.

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