Prince Komatsu Akihito

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A statue of Prince Komatsu Akihito, erected in Ueno Park, in Tokyo, 1912.
  • Born: 1846
  • Died: 1903/1/18
  • Other Names: 純仁法親王 (Junnin hou shinnou), 東伏見宮嘉彰 (Higashi Fushimi no miya Yoshiaki)
  • Japanese: 小松宮彰仁親王 (Komatsu no miya Akihito shinnou)

Prince Komatsu-no-miya Akihito was an Imperial prince who commanded forces in the Boshin War and played a central role in the founding and early administration of the Japanese Red Cross.

Akihito was the eighth son of Prince Fushimi-no-miya Kuniie, and was thus an older brother to a number of influential imperial princes, including Kitashirakawa Yoshihisa, Fushimi Sadanaru, and Yamashina Sadamaro. He entered Ninna-ji at age 12, in 1858, but returned to secular life in 1867 at the orders of Emperor Kômei, taking on the name Higashi-Fushimi-no-miya Yoshiaki.

Yoshiaki took part in the Battle of Toba-Fushimi in 1868/1 as commander of the subjugation of the East (Seitô-tai-shôgun), and in the Boshin War which followed as well. During the Satsuma Rebellion of 1877, the prince played a central role in the establishment of the Hakuai-sha, which provided medical attention to the wounded, and was named its president. In 1882, Prince Yoshiaki was renamed Komatsu-no-miya Akihito. The Hakuai-sha then became the Japanese Red Cross in 1887. That same year, incidentally, Prince Komatsu visited the Sultan of the Ottoman Empire, in Constantinople, as a formal envoy of the Emperor.[1]

Meanwhile, in 1881, Prince Akihito served as the head of the welcoming committee for the visit of King David Kalākaua of Hawaiʻi, the first foreign head of state to visit Japan.[2] During the king's visit, Prince Akihito accompanied Kalākaua on a number of occasions as he traveled across Tokyo, as well as hosting a reception for the king at his princely residence, ... At a number of these events, the prince wore the Grand Cross of the Order of the Rising Sun, an honor he shared with his brothers Prince Fushimi and Prince Kitashirakawa, among others. The princes were all also awarded the Order of Kamehameha I by King Kalākaua.[3]

Prince Akihito died on 1903/1/18, at the age of 58. A bronze statue of him, designed by Bunten judge Ôkuma Ujihiro, was erected within Ueno Park in February 1912.


  • Plaque associated with statue of Prince Komatsu at Ueno Park.[1]
  1. "An Ottoman Ship in Japan The Frigate Ertuğrul," Skylife Magazine, September 2010.
  2. King Shô Nei of the Ryûkyû Kingdom is an exception, having been brought to Japan as a prisoner of war in 1609.
  3. Masaji Marumoto, "Vignette of Early Hawaii-Japan Relations: Highlights of King Kalakaua's Sojourn in Japan on His Trip around the World as Recorded in His Personal Diary", Hawaiian Journal of History 10 (1976), 52-63.