Kojiro Matsukata was born on December 1, 1865, in Satsuma (present-day Kagoshima Prefecture)
as the third son of Masayoshi Matsukata.
He first studied at the Preparatory School of the University of Tokyo (present-day University of Tokyo),
and then at Rutgers College (present-day Rutgers University) and Yale University in the United States,
where he graduated with a PhD in Law.
In 1896, he was appointed the first president of Kawasaki Dockyard (present-day KHI).
As the head of the company, he made remarkable achievements that propelled KHI
to become one of the prominent heavy industry enterprises in Japan.
While working hard at his job, Kojiro began collecting Western paintings. His collection,
totaling about 10,000 pieces, is now known as the "Matsukata Collection"
and is considered to be one of the three major collections of art in the world.
On June 24, 1950, at age 85, Kojiro passed away after becoming seriously ill
at his vacation home in Kamakura.