BiographyHiroshima, Hiroshima, Japan
Born in 1888 and raised in Hiroshima, Japan, Toraichi Kono immigrated to the U.S. around 1906 to study law and become a lawyer. In 1916, when Charles Chaplin was recruiting a trusty for his secretary, Kono applied for the position and immediately obtained it. Chaplin hired the Japanese allegedly because the cane, one of the trademarks of the Little Tramp character Chaplin played, was made in Japan. During the next 18 years, Kono was Chaplin's right-hand butler both in his public and private life. Read more... his lifetime (1932, twice in 1936, 1961). However, their close relationship with trust ended in 1934 when Kono reproached Paulette Goddard, Chaplin's 3rd wife, for being a spendthrift. It made Chaplin angry and made him dismiss Kono after 18 years as his butler. As Kono, 1-year older than his boss, was thinking of returning home to Japan, Chaplin appointed him as the chief manager of the United Artists Japan. According to Kono himself, Chaplin visited him one day at his house and appeared to be eager to have him back, but Kono declined. Not fitting in the new position as well as the old one, Kono came back to Los Angeles and worked as a lawyer. Toraichi Kono died in his home Hiroshima, Japan in 1971 at age 83.