It is said that as a young man, Mori was a fervent admirer of his fellow Tosa countryman, Itagaki Taisuke, the melodramatic champion of the People's Rights Movement of early Meiji and an early advocate of an aggressive Japanese influence on the Asian continent, particularly in Korea. If true, this may explain how Mori in his youth became criminally involved in the so-called Osaka incident of 1885. In brief, this dramatic political scandal centered on the plans of Japanese political dissidents, frustrated by their government's abandonment of the reformist cause in neighboring Korea, to cooperative with the members of a Korean reform party for the overthrow of the Korean government and its replacement by a "progressive" regime. The leader in the conspiracy was Oi Kentarô, a former samurai, in whose person was combined an explosive mixture of explosive liberalism and unrestrained chauvinism.... Young Mori was caught up in a police dragnet, but, as a minor, was quickly released.After further misadventures, he signed on to become the Micronesian trading representative of the Ichiya Company. In 1892, he arrived in Moen, Chuuk [Truk] aboard the Tenryû Maru after a stop in the Bonin Islands. He was 22, all alone, and armed only with a sword and two daggers.
Perceiving that the islands, particularly Moen, were in a continual state of internecine warfare, Mori soon offered his services as military advisor to Manuppis, the most important chief on the island. Armed only with a spear, Mori led the complete rout of an opposing Trukese clan, a victory that earned him the lifelong friendship of Chief Manuppis and, eventually, the chief's daughter in marriage.They prospered and had twelve children. When the Germans took over in 1900, Mori was the only Japanese trader in Chuuk to escape expulsion for trading in guns and liquor. A Japanese trading ship ended his isolation in 1907.
By the time Japanese ships dropped anchor there in the huge lagoon at Truk in the autumn of 1914, Mori, by character and exploit, was already a legend among the small Japanese community there.By 1940, the Japanese press was referring to him as "King of the South Seas" and the government awarded him the Order of the Sacred Treasure. However,
Mori had little use for the aggressive bombast of Japanese propagandists, and he genuinely feared the coming of the war. Yet, fiercely loyal to his country, he had actively assisted in the military preparations and had drawn upon decades of goodwill among Trukese relatives and friends to help muster labor and support for the war effort. But he was an old man with failing powers, and by the time the war broke out he had suffered a stroke that paralyzed his right side and left him unable to walk. He became a convalescent at his home on Tol, cared for there by his family. In the summer of 1943, he began to have hallucinations in which he saw his country's utter defeat. His mind began to wander and, by the time American planes roared over the reefs to launch their devastating attack on Truk in 1944, Mori had slipped into senility.By August 1945, he had slipped into a coma. He died on the evening of the 23rd, 8 days after Japan had surrendered.
SOURCE: Mark R. Peattie, Nan'yo: The Rise and Fall of the Japanese Empire in Micronesia (U. Hawai‘i Press, 1988), pp. 26-33, 195-197, 299-300.