Machida Chūji

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Machida Chūji
Chuji machida.jpg
Machida Chūji
Born (1863-05-17)May 17, 1863
Akita, Akita, Japan
Died November 12, 1946(1946-11-12) (aged 83)
Nationality Japanese
Occupation entrepreneur, politician, cabinet minister

Machida Chūji (町田忠治, 17 May 1863 – 12 November 1946) was a politician and cabinet minister in the pre-war Empire of Japan.


Machida was born in Akita as the fourth son to a samurai in the service of Kubota Domain. However, his father died when he was three years old, and he was raised by his grandparents until adopted by an uncle in 1875, to whose estate he succeeded. He moved to Tokyo and studied at preparatory schools for Tokyo Imperial University, where one of his classmates was Ichiki Kitokurō. Although he passed his examinations, he had frequent health problems in Tokyo, including bouts of beri-beri and was forced to return to Akita. In 1883, he was invited to become an editor for the Akita Sakegake Newspaper, where he specialized in political topics and became acquainted with noted politician Inukai Tsuyoshi. In the summer of 1884, he returned to Tokyo, where he attended the law school of Tokyo Imperial University. One of his classmates at this time was Uchida Kosai and Hayashi Gonsuke. However, because of his frequent absences and failure to complete his preliminary studies, Machida never obtained a degree.

On the recommendation of Kaneko Kentaro, Machida obtained a post at the Cabinet Legislation Bureau for a year, before leaving to become a reporter for the Choya Shimbun. This newspaper was a mouthpiece for Inukai and Ozaki Yukio. In November 1891, at the urging of Ozaki, Machida moved to the Hochi Shimbun, where he introduced the theories of Italian economist Luigi Cossa on public finance to the general public.[1] His translations were adopted by Waseda University as a textbook.

In May 1893, Machida departed Yokohama for the United States, and from there to England, where he spent a year studying finance and economics. After his return to Japan, in November 1895, he helped establish the Toyo Keizai Shimbun, an economics newspaper.[2] However, in December the following year, at the recommendation of Tameyuki Amano, he became an assistant director of the Bank of Japan.

In January 1898, Machida was requested by Bank of Japan chairman Iwasaki Yanosuke to go to Osaka as an auditor to investigate irregularities and managerial disputes. He subsequently became chairman of Yamaguchi Bank (the forerunner of Sanwa Bank)

Political career[edit]

On May 15, 1912 Machida was elected to a seat from the Akita district in the lower house of the Diet of Japan. He was subsequently elected ten times to the same seat. He joined the 2nd Okuma cabinet as parliamentary undersecretary for Agriculture and Commerce, where he set official government-determined wholesale price of rice. Initially with the Rikken Kokumintō, Machida later joined the Rikken Dōshikai, Kenseikai and Rikken Minseitō (of which he became president in 1935).

From 1919-1926, Machida was also president of the Hochi Shimbun.[3] Machida was defeated in the 1920 General Election, but regained his seat in the 1924 General Election, becoming House Budget Committee chairman under the Katō cabinet. In June 1926, he joined the Wakatsuki cabinet as Minister of Agriculture and Forestry. As Agriculture Minister, he addressed the issues of rural debt consolidation and rural development, while preventing extreme fluctuations in the price of rice, drawing praise from both the ruling and opposition parties. He continued in the same position under the Hamaguchi administration. In July 1934 he agreed to serve as a consultant to the Okada cabinet, but was soon appointed Minister of Commerce and Industry as well as Minister of Finance. He strongly supported small and medium businesses through the establishment of the Shoko Chukin Bank.

Machida was promoted as a possible successor to Wakatsuki Reijirō has party president, which he accepted in 1935; however, although he remained party president until 1940,[4] the February 26 Incident ended hopes that he would one day become prime minister. Machida served in the 1st Konoe, Hiranuma, and 2nd Konoe administrations as an advisor, and in the Koiso administration as a Minister of State. He refused an offer to join the Privy Council and elevation to the kazoku peerage as a baron, preferring to remain a commoner. During World War II, he joined the Taisei Yokusankai despite his previous outspoken objections to a one-party state, and the Imperial Rule Assistance Political Association in 1942.

After World War II, Machida briefly became the first president of the Japan Progressive Party in November 1945,[5] but was purged in January 1946 by the American occupation authorities.[6] He died in November of the same year. Kijūrō Shidehara, a long time friend, presided over his funeral.


  • Salapino, Robert A. Democracy and the Party Movement in Prewar Japan. University of California Press (1975) ISBN 0520029143
  • Brownlee, W. Elliott. The Political Economy of Transnational Tax Reform . Cambridge University Press (2013) ISBN 1107033160
  • Freeman, Laurie Ann. Closing the Shop: Information Cartels and Japan's Mass Media . Princeton University Press (2012) ISBN 1400845874
  • Van Sant, John. Historical Dictionary of United States-Japan Relations . Scarecrow Press (2007) ISBN 0810864622 -
  • Masuda, Hiroshi MacArthur in Asia. Cornell University Press (2012) ISBN 0801466180-


  1. ^ Brownlee. The Political Economy of Transnational Tax Reform. Page 148
  2. ^ Brownlee. Page162
  3. ^ Freeman. Closing the Shop . page 33
  4. ^ Scalapino. Democracy and the Party Movement in Prewar Japan. Page 371
  5. ^ Van John Sant. Historical Dictionary of United States-Japan Relations. Page 25
  6. ^ Masuda, MacArthur in Asia. Page 222

External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by
Hayami Seiji
Minister of Agriculture and Forestry
7 Jun 1926 – 20 Apr 1927
Succeeded by
Teijirō Yamamoto
Preceded by
Teijirō Yamamoto
Minister of Agriculture and Forestry
2 Jul 1929 – 13 Dec 1931
Succeeded by
Teijirō Yamamoto
Preceded by
Jōji Matsumoto
Minister of Commerce and Industry
8 Jul 1934 – 9 Mar 1936
Succeeded by
Takukichi Kawasaki
Preceded by
Takahashi Korekiyo
Finance Minister
27 Feb 1936 – 9 Mar 1926
Succeeded by
Eiichi Baba