Main content

Inazo Nitobe papers


Held at: Haverford College Quaker & Special Collections [Contact Us]370 Lancaster Ave, Haverford, PA 19041

This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held at the Haverford College Quaker & Special Collections. Unless otherwise noted, the materials described below are physically available in their reading room, and not digitally available through the web.

Overview and metadata sections

Inazo Nitobe (1862-1933) was a Japanese Quaker, author, educator, and politician. He rose to fame as an agricultural sugar expert, was the president of several colleges, and was a Carnegie exchange professor to the United States.

At age 13, Nitobe entered Tokyo English School. By studying English, he became acquainted with Christianity and the Bible. In 1877, he entered the newly founded Sapparo Agricultural College in the northern island of Hokkaido, and graduated in 1881. William S. Clark, from Amherst College, was the vice principal of the Sapparo Agricultural College, although he left the college before Nitobe started attending. He left a strong influence on the students, particularly in the teaching of ethics. He said the only way he could teach ethics was by teaching the Bible. All of his students became Christians and signed Clark's "Covenant of Believers in Jesus."

Nitobe subsequently became a Friend when he was 22 years old while doing graduate study at Johns Hopkins University. He joined Baltimore Yearly Meeting.

In 1885, Inazo and a Japanese classmate were invited from Baltimore to Philadelphia by the Women's Foreign Missionary Association of Friends to advise them about establishing a Quaker mission in Japan. This ultimately resulted in the establishment of the Friends Girls School in Tokyo, as well as ten agricultural missions in Iberaki Province, just north of Tokyo.

Most notably, Nitobe was the leader of the Japanese delegation to the League of Nations in Geneva, Switzerland, in 1919, and when he arrived there he was promptly appointed under-secretary general of the League. Nitobe is famous for coining the phrase "Bridge across the Pacific," for writing the history of William Penn, and for the book, Bushido: The Soul of Japan. He is the only known Quaker whose picture is on his country's currency.

This collection is comprised of the papers of Inazo Nitobe, a Japanese Quaker, author, educator, and politician. His papers include two 5,000 Japanese yen notes; three letters, addressed to Anna Hartshorne, Anna Brown, and Henry Brown; and a postcard featuring a portrait photo of Inazo Nitobe.


Processed by Kara Flynn; completed March, 2016.

Haverford College Quaker & Special Collections
Finding Aid Author
Kara Flynn
Finding Aid Date
March, 2016
Access Restrictions

The collection is open for research use.

Use Restrictions

Standard Federal Copyright Laws Apply (U.S. Title 17).

Collection Inventory

Papers, 1890, 1897.
Box 31 Folder 1

Print, Suggest