Matsui Sumako was born in December 1886, the nineteenth year of the Meiji period. 1 Her place of birth was a village called Matsushiro in the old province of Shinshū. Shinshū people are said to have a positive attitude towards life and to be progressive in their thinking. Matsui Sumako’s family seems to have conformed to the Shinshū type. Her parents were from the old samurai class. Her father had been involved enough in the issues of the Restoration to go to Edo and fight against the Imperial forces. He returned to Yamashiro and became a vigorous business man who had no patience with traditional methods if they were not efficient. 2