Isokichi Komine

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Born 1866 or 1867
Shimabara, Nagasaki, Japan
Died 3 October 1934 (aged 66 or 67)
Cause of death Food poisoning
Citizenship Australian
Occupation Pearl diver

Isokichi Komine (1866[a] – 3 October 1934) was an Australian pearl diver, merchant, and trader. One of German New Guinea's earliest emigrants, he is known as "one of Rabaul's oldest pioneers".

Early life[edit]

"[O]ne of Rabaul's oldest pioneers",[1] Komine was born in 1866[2] or 1867,[1] in Shimabara, Nagasaki, Japan.[2] First working as a factory worker in Korea,[2] he had already begun voyaging New Guinea's seas in the 1890s and first settled at Thursday Island, Queensland.[3] An emigrant of Japan, Komine was the first recorded Japanese presence in German New Guinea; he arrived there in 1901[3] or 1902,[1] after being denied permanent residency in British New Guinea (now Papua).[3]

Career and death[edit]

Komine is said to be "the most famous Japanese resident in the region [German New Guinea] of that time".[1] A Japanese community leader in German New Guinea,[4] Komine set up Nanyō Sangyō Kaisha,[5] an independent business, there,[4] and employed up over a hundred Japanese workers.[3] An extensive collection of Komine's rare finds in his voyages comprised more than 3,000 "valuables", although it was noted that a few gold-lip ouster shells in his collection were only worth up to $5.[1] The collection was sold in October 1910[6] to A. B. Lewis,[7] and is considered to be the largest single purchase of items from the Bismarck Archipelago,[6] which was where Komine resided in from 1902.[7] When Japan declared war against Germany in 1914, Komine aligned with the Australians but also maintained close ties with German businesspeople to safeguard his business interests.[8] Komine died on 3 October[9] 1934[3] of food poisoning,[9] although one report claims that Komine "outlived his obituary notice" and was still alive after 1934.[10]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Another source says 1867. See "Early life" section.


  1. ^ a b c d e Gosden, Chris; Knowles, Chantal (2001). Collecting Colonialism: Material Culture and Colonial Change. Berg. pp. 92–93. ISBN 9781859734087. 
  2. ^ a b c "Nanshin and Japanese migrants in Papua and New Guinea : myth and reality of Japanese expansion in the South Seas" (PDF). South Pacific Study. Retrieved March 16, 2013. 
  3. ^ a b c d e Hiramitsu, Iwamoto. "Remembering the war in New Guinea". Retrieved March 16, 2013. 
  4. ^ a b "Japanese Southward Expansion in the South Seas and its Relations with Japanese Settlers in Papua and New Guinea, 1919-1940" (PDF). South Pacific Study. Retrieved March 16, 2013. 
  5. ^ The Australians in German New Guinea 1914-21. Melbourne University Press. 1958. ISBN 978-0522837254. 
  6. ^ a b Barton, Gerry; Dietrich, Stefan J. (2010). This Ingenious and Singular Apparatus. Books on Demand. p. 142. ISBN 9783839168745. 
  7. ^ a b "A Century of Collecting: Colonial Collectors in Southwest New Britain" (PDF). Australian Museum. 2004. Retrieved March 16, 2013. 
  8. ^ "The impact of World War I on Japanese settlers in Papua and New Guinea, 1914-1918" (PDF). South Pacific Study. Retrieved March 16, 2013. 
  9. ^ a b "Death of a pioneer: Captain I. Komine". Rabaul Times. October 5, 1934. 
  10. ^ "(Untitled)". The Straits Times. June 3, 1909. p. 6.