- 19 February 1934
) was a statesman in Meiji period Japan
Itō was born into a local samurai
administrator's family in Nagasaki
, Hizen Province
(present-day Nagasaki Prefecture
). From his early days, he showed a mastery of foreign languages. After working as a translation official for Hyōgo Prefecture
, he served in the new Meiji government
. He was selected to accompany Ito Hirobumi
(no relation) to Europe in 1882 to investigate the constitutions
and governmental structures of various European counties, with the aim of creating a constitution for Japan.
After his return to Japan, he assisted Inoue Kowashi and Kaneko Kentaro in drafting the Meiji Constitution, and was subsequently nominated to the House of Peers.
In 1892, he was became Chief Cabinet Secretary
to Itō Hirobumi's second administration, and in 1898, served as Minister of Agriculture and Commerce
under the third Itō administration.
At the same time, Itō was also president of the pro-government newspaper, the Tokyo Nichinichi Shimbun (the predecessor to the Mainichi Shimbun).
From 1899, Itō served as a member of the Privy Council. In 1907, he was ennobled with the title of danshaku (baron) under the kazoku peerage system. He was further elevated to hakushaku (count) in 1922.
In his later years, Itō was the bane of civilian government through his consistent and conservative use of the Tokyo Nichinichi Shimbun to inflame public opinion. During the Financial Crisis of 1927
, he brought out the collapse of the administration of Prime Minister Wakatsuki Reijiro
through a virulent bad-press campaign. He also strongly criticized Prime Minister Hamaguchi Osachi
for accepting the London Naval Conference
proposal on arms limitations as infringing on the direct prerogatives of the emperor.
His grave is at the Tsukiji Hongan-ji temple in Tokyo.
References and Further Reading
- Gordon, Andrew. A Modern History of Japan: From Tokugawa Times to the Present. Oxford University Press, 2003. ISBN 0-19-511061-7
- Sims, Richard. Japanese Political History Since the Meiji Renovation 1868-2000. Palgrave Macmillan, 2001) ISBN 0-312-23914-9
- [http://www.ndl.go.jp/portrait/e/datas/14.html?c=0 National Diet Library Photo & Bio]