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Matsue Statue

“A tribute to the Sugar King”

N15 ̊12’5.468” E145 ̊43’16.256

This larger-than-life bronze statue was erected in honor of Haruji Matsue (1876-1959) who established the commercial sugar industry in the Northern Mariana Islands in the pre-World War II years. In 1920, Matsue conducted a thorough inspection of the island during which he became convinced that Saipan had excellent potential for sugarcane agriculture. In 1922, he established the Nan’yô Kohatsu Kabushiki Kaisha (South Seas Development Company) better known as NKK or “Nankô”. Under Matsue’s direction, Nankô established three large sugarcane plantations on Saipan. Cane stalks from these plantations were brought to Nankô’s modern processing mill in Chalan Kanoa via an elaborate system of rail lines that connected all points of the island. Nankô also established sugar plantations and processing mills on the islands of Tinian and Rota. The sugar industry was the most successful commercial enterprise in Japan’s South Seas territories. By the mid-1930s Nankô accounted for over 60% of the total South Seas revenues. This statue of Matsue, dedicated in 1934, recognizes the important economic contributions of the man who came to be called “The Sugar King.” Surprisingly, it survived the devastating World War II battle of Saipan with only minor damage. The area surrounding the Matsue’s statue is now called “Sugar King Park.”