He is known as the “Peasant Sage of the Edo Period”. This statue is in the Little Tokyo district of Los Angeles, California.
“It is not uncommon to see statues of Ninomiya in or in front of Japanese schools, especially elementary schools. Typically these statues show him as a boy reading a book while walking and carrying firewood on his back. These statues are depicting popular stories that said Ninomiya was reading and studying during every moment he could.” – Wikipedia
“Ninomiya Sontoku was born to a poor peasant family with a name of Kinjiro in Kayama (栢山) Ashigarakami–gun Sagami province. His father died when he was 14 and his mother died two years later. He was then placed in his uncle’s household. While working in his uncle’s land, Sontoku studied on his own. He later obtained abandoned land on his own and transformed it into agricultural land, eventually restoring his household on his own at the age of 20 and achieved considerable wealth as a landlord while in his 20s. He was then recruited to run his small feudal district which was facing considerable financial difficulty. He achieved this by reviving local economy, particularly through agricultural development. The daimyo, hearing of his achievement, eventually recruited Sontoku to run Odawara Domain then Shimotsuke Province. He was eventually entrusted with one of Shogunate’s estate, which was great honour for someone of his low origin. His philosophy and methodology became a standard format in feudal land, developmental and economic management. The name “Sontoku” was given to him for his accomplishments. After his death, the emperor awarded him with Jyu Yoni, Lower Fourth Honour under the ritsuryō rank system.” – Wikipedia