When I came across some slides labeled Thomas Glover’s house, I wondered if my mom and her friends had met another old Japan hand in Nagasaki and were invited over for tea or something.
So I googled Thomas Glover and learned he was a Scottish trader straight out of a James Clavell novel. Glover had died more than 50 years before my mom visited Nagasaki over her New Year vacation in late 1964/early 1965.
Glover worked for Jardine Matheson as a tea merchant before he struck out on his own to deal in ships, guns, and gunpowder. He went on to manage coal mines and help develop Japan’s industrialization, creating the shipbuilding company that went on to become the Mitsubishi Corporation. And for beer aficionados, he helped found the company that would become the Kirin Brewery Company.
Although he never officially married, Glover lived with a Japanese woman in the house from which my mom photographed the gardens in this slide. He had two children, a son and a daughter born from different mothers. Glover’s daughter had one grandchild, who is still alive and living in the US.
His son, on the other hand, was branded a spy by Japan and committed suicide in Nagasaki weeks after the end of WWII, but not before the US dropped the bomb on his hometown.