Bunkio Matsuki

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  • Birth: 1867
  • Other name: Takasaburo Matsuki

Bunkio Matsuki was born in Sewa, in Shinano province.

At the age of 15 he became the attendant to the head of the Nichiren sect of Buddhism, and two years later he became his disciple, when he was given the name Bunkio.

Like many other Japanese, he had a desire to see the outside world. He went to China in 1886 and remained there one year and a half, after which he returned to Japan. He then left his native land for the United States, arriving in San Francisco in 1888, where he remained only seven days, when he went East to Boston with $67 in his pocket. He got acquainted with Prof. Edward S. Morse, and through his kindness got into the Salem High School, from which he graduated in 1890. He revisited Japan for the first time in 1891, representing the Syndicate Trading Company. A. Swan Brown was then president. He opened the first Japanese store in Boston in October, 1883. In the same year he built the first Japanese house in Salem, Mass.

Beginning in 1891, he visited Japan every year, as he found it necessary to select ancient and modern art goods in person. He originated many ideas of commercial value which offered in his store in Boston, and in his art sells in various cities. His aim in commerce was to handle only the real and highest quality of Japanese art objects, importing only genuine articles, instead of buying imitations in what is known as the "Yokohama style."

Matsuki was a liberal contributor of illustrated articles on Japanese art in different papers and magazines in the United States.