About the CollectionYoshi's ChronicleDatabaseYoshi's Travels

Who is W. T. Yoshimoto? What is ‘Yoshimoto Collection’?

3rd floor exhibition room A permanent exhibition titled “The Animals of the Earth” is displayed on the third floor of the Earth Pavilion of the National Museum of Nature and Science. Most of mammal specimens presented here is the “Yoshimoto Collection” donated by Mr. W. T. Yoshimoto (1909-2004). Yoshimoto was born on 1909 in Oahu Island, Hawaii, as a second-generation of Japanese Americans. He studied architecture by himself and started his business, eventually succeeded. At first, he hunted animals for food for his family. After his success on business, he toured all over the world to hunt and became a famous big-game hunter at last. The “Yoshimoto Collection” including 400 specimens collected from all over the world. Most of them are mounted skin of large mammals. This collection is very important for scientific study; because some specimens are collected from the areas restricted to entry in these days. The specimens originally exhibited in the Wildlife Museum established by Yoshimoto to educate diversity and wonderfulness of wildlife for Hawaiian people. Finally, in 1997, Mr. Yoshimoto decided to donate the collection to the National Museum of Nature and Science take account of the preservation of the collection.

Yoshi’s world hunting tour – Experience of biodiversity

Yoshimoto’s first hunt in a foreign country was in Canadian Rocky Mountains in September 1957. After that, he repeated hunting every year and number of his hunting tour was totally 156 times throughout his life. Why did he devote himself to hunt? In his early years, his hunting was necessary for life because he hunted for food for his family. After his success in business, he had opportunities to watch wildlife and to hunt them for sports. However, he changed his mind gradually. He ordered to make life-sized mounted skins because he wanted to record wildlife. And then, he introduced those animals to Hawaiian people those who had little chance to see terrestrial mammals. Yoshimoto respected Theodore Roosevelt, 26th President of the US. The latter half of Yoshimoto’s life, he was aiming at the conservation of wildlife and make the best use of specimens in museums, as Roosevelt did. He established W. T. Yoshimoto Foundation and made contributions to many wildlife conservation groups, even now of after his death, and his mind of saving wildlife still lives on today.

African elephant and Mr. Yoshimoto

Yoshimoto’s heritage of biodiversity–Yoshimoto Collection

They reproduce faithfully living animals. The “Yoshimoto Collection” consists of specimens hunted from all over the world from 1957 to 1995. From 1997 through 1998, W. T. Yoshimoto Foundation, Oahu Isl., Hawaii, donated the collection to the National Museum of Nature and Science, Tokyo. This includes 400 specimens and 173 species; Mammals for 158 species, Birds for 13 species and Reptiles two species, respectively. Most of them are mounted skins; 267 mounted skins, 98 hunting trophies, seven mounted skins of the upper half of the body, seven flat skins, one skull, eight horns and ten tusks. Those mounted skins were made by Klineburger taxidermy shop, Seattle, Washington. The sophisticated technology of the company figured animal body details. Especially, the modeling of the veins standing out in skins and the vents are excellent. In addition, poses of some individuals were reflected behaviors of living animals. The collecting date and precise locality of all specimens are recorded, and supplemental documents are stored in cabinets. It is certain that Yoshimoto regarded specimens as important records of wildlife.

Enlightenment of biodiversity

In 1972, the collection of Yoshimoto had donated to Bishop Museum of Honolulu, Hawaii. Unfortunately, it seemed that the museum had thought little of his collection. Yoshimoto wanted his collection used for exhibition to show biodiversity for Hawaiian people. However, his request was not accepted. Therefore, he repurchased all of his donated collection. And then, he redecorated his own bowling alley to open his private “Wildlife Museum.” After his retirement, he spent every daytime in the office of the museum and guided children by himself. He decided to close his museum to donate his collection to the National Museum of Nature and Science, Tokyo, in 1997. Now, “Yoshimoto Collection” is widely used not only for various exhibitions of the museum but also for loans to other museums, showing the precious aspects of wildlife. Yoshimoto’s Wildlife Museum