Thomas Blake Glover (Thomas Blake Glover)

Thomas Blake Glover

Entrepreneur.  Blake was a Scottish merchant who came to Japan in 1959. Soon after his arrivial, he founded the Glover Trading Company in Nagasaki to export gold and silver and to import ships and weapons for the Choshu and Satsuma clans. In 1865, he imported the first locomotive in Japan and later established shipyards and operated mines. Glover supported the Meiji Restoration and is acknowledged for his considerable contributions to the modernization of Japan. The home he built in Nagasaki was the first Western-style building in Japan. His mansion home, now a museum, at the Glover Gardens in Nagasaki is said to be the setting for the story of Puccini’s opera, Madame Butterfly. Near the home is a statue of the renowned opera singer Miura Tamaki, who is most famous for her performances of Madame Butterfly. Glover founded a shipbuilding company, which was later to become the Mitsubishi Corporation of Japan. He also helped found the Japan Brewery Company, which later became the major Kirin Brewery Company, Ltd. It is rumored that the mustache on the mythical creature featured on Kirin beer labels is a tribute to Glover, who sported a similar mustache. In recognition of these achievements, he was awarded the Order of the Rising Sun (second class), the first non-Japanese to receive such an honor. Glover’s former residences in Nagasaki, Japan and Aberdeen, Scotland have both since been turned into museums. The beautifully situated “Glover Garden” house in Nagasaki attracts two million visitors each year. Glover also had a residence in the Shiba Park area of Tokyo, and it was there that he died. (bio by: Warrick L. Barrett)  Family links:  Parents:  Thomas Berry Glover (1806 – 1878)  Mary Findlay Glover (1807 – 1887)  Spouse:  Tsuru Awajiya Guraba (1849 – 1899)*  Children:  Thomas Albert Glover (1870 – 1945)*  Hana Glover Bennett (1873 – 1937)*  Siblings:  Charles Thomas Glover (1830 – 1877)*  James Lindley Glover (1833 – 1867)*  Henry Martin Glover (1836 – 1837)*  Thomas Blake Glover (1838 – 1911)  Alexander Johnston Glover (1840 – 1895)*  Martha Ann Glover George (1842 – 1903)*  Alfred Berry Glover (1850 – 1904)* *Calculated relationship


  • June, 06, 1838
  • Scotland


  • December, 12, 1911
  • Japan


  • Sakamoto International Cemetery
  • Nagasaki
  • Japan

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