Kotaro Noritake was born in 1860 in Hyogo Prefecture, Japan.
In 1875 he went to Tokyo and studied English at the school of Shimpachi Seki. In 1879 Kotaro Noritake joined the staff of the Economic Magazine of Ukichi Taguchi and studied economics.
Kotaro Noritake also joined the Omeisha Society, a group campaigning for civil rights. In 1888 joined the Yokohama Specie Bank and succeeded Taguchi as president of the Economic Magazine. He advocated free trade and enlightened the masses on the subject.