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|Lord Keeper of the Privy Seal of Japan|
21 August 1912 – 21 December 1912
|Preceded by||Tokudaiji Sanetsune|
|Succeeded by||Prince Fushimi Sadanaru|
|Prime Minister of Japan|
21 December 1912 – 20 February 1913
|Preceded by||Saionji Kinmochi|
|Succeeded by||Yamamoto Gonnohyōe|
14 July 1908 – 30 August 1911
|Preceded by||Saionji Kinmochi|
|Succeeded by||Saionji Kinmochi|
2 June 1901 – 7 January 1906
|Preceded by||Saionji Kinmochi (Acting)|
|Succeeded by||Saionji Kinmochi|
|Minister of War|
12 January 1898 – 23 December 1900
|Prime Minister||Itō Hirobumi|
|Preceded by||Takashima Tomonosuke|
|Succeeded by||Kodama Gentarō|
|Governor General of Taiwan|
2 June 1896 – 14 October 1896
|Preceded by||Kabayama Sukenori|
|Succeeded by||Nogi Maresuke|
|Born||4 January 1848|
Hagi, Nagato, Japan
|Died||10 October 1913 (aged 65)|
|Cause of death||Stomach cancer|
|Resting place||Shōin Jinja, Setagaya, Tokyo|
|Political party||Constitutional Association of Allies (1913)|
|Spouse||Katsura Kanako (1875–1940)|
|Profession||Soldier and politician|
|Allegiance||Empire of Japan|
|Branch/service||Imperial Japanese Army|
|Years of service||1870–1901|
|Commands||IJA 3rd Division|
First Sino-Japanese War
Prince Katsura Tarō (桂 太郎, 4 January 1848 – 10 October 1913) was a Japanese politician and general of the Imperial Japanese Army who served as the Prime Minister of Japan from 1901 to 1906, from 1908 to 1911, and from 1912 to 1913.
Katsura was a distinguished general of the First Sino-Japanese War and a genrō of the Meiji government who served as Governor-General of Taiwan and Minister of War. Katsura was appointed Prime Minister in 1901 as a military candidate and positioned himself as a conservative outside party politics. Katsura's first and second premierships oversaw several major events in modern Japanese history, including the Russo-Japanese War and the annexation of Korea. Katsura's third premiership triggered the Taisho Political Crisis, and he resigned three months later after a vote of no confidence.
Katsura is the second-longest serving Prime Minister of Japan, after Shinzo Abe, and served for 2883 days (7 years and 330 days) over his three terms from 1901 to 1913.
Katsura was born on 4 January 1848 in Hagi, Nagato Province (present-day Yamaguchi Prefecture) as the eldest son of horse guard Katsura Yoichiemon into a samurai family of the Chōshū Domain. As a youth, Katsura joined the movement against the Tokugawa shogunate and participated in the Boshin War that led to the Meiji Restoration in 1868.
The new Meiji government considered that Katsura displayed great talent, and in 1870 sent him to Germany to study military science. He served as military attaché at the Japanese embassy in Germany from 1875 to 1878 and again from 1884 to 1885. On his return to Japan, he was promoted to major general. He served in several key positions within the Imperial Japanese Army, and in 1886 was appointed Vice-Minister of War.
During the First Sino-Japanese War (1894–1895) Katsura commanded the IJA 3rd Division under his mentor, Field Marshal Yamagata Aritomo. During the war, his division made a memorable march in the depth of winter from the north-east shore of the Yellow Sea to Haicheng, finally occupying Niuchwang, and effecting a junction with the IJA 2nd Army which had moved up the Liaodong Peninsula.
After the war, he was elevated with the title of shishaku (viscount) under the kazoku peerage system. He was appointed 2nd Governor-General of Taiwan from 2 June 1896, to October 1896.
In successive cabinets from 1898 to 1901, he served as Minister of War.
Katsura Tarō served as the 11th, 13th and 15th prime minister of Japan. His position as the longest-serving prime minister of Japan (total length) was surpassed by Shinzō Abe on 20 November 2019.
Katsura became prime minister for the first time on 2 June 1901, and he retained the office for four and a half years to 7 January 1906, which was then a record in Japan. Japan emerged as a major imperialist power in East Asia. In terms of foreign affairs, it was marked by the Anglo-Japanese Alliance of 1902 and victory over the Russian Empire in the Russo-Japanese War of 1904–1905. During his tenure, the Taft–Katsura agreement, accepting Japanese hegemony over Korea, was reached with the United States. Katsura received the Grand Cross of the Order of St Michael and St George from British King Edward VII and was elevated to the rank of marquess by Emperor Meiji.
In terms of domestic policy, Katsura was a strictly conservative politician who attempted to distance himself from the Diet of Japan and party politics. His political views mirrored that of Yamagata Aritomo in that he viewed that his sole responsibility was to the Emperor. He vied for control of the government with the Rikken Seiyūkai, the majority party of the lower house, headed by his archrival, Marquess Saionji Kinmochi.
In January 1906, Katsura resigned the premiership to Saionji Kinmochi over the unpopular Treaty of Portsmouth (1905), ending the war between Japan and Russia. However, his resignation was part of a "back door deal," brokered by Hara Takashi to alternate power between Saionji and Hara.
On 1 April 1906, he was awarded the Grand Cordon of the Supreme Order of the Chrysanthemum.
Katsura returned as Prime Minister from 14 July 1908, to 30 August 1911. His second term was noteworthy for the Japan–Korea Annexation Treaty of 1910. He also promulgated the Factory Act in 1911, the first act for the purpose of labor protection in Japan.
Katsura was increasingly unpopular during his second term over public perception that he was using his office to further both his personal fortune and the interests of the military (gunbatsu) over the welfare of the people. He also faced growing public dissatisfaction over the persistence of the hanbatsu domainal based politics.
After his resignation, he became a kōshaku (公爵 = prince), Lord Keeper of the Privy Seal of Japan and one of the genrō.
Katsura's brief reappointment again as Prime Minister again from 21 December 1912, to 20 February 1913, sparked widespread riots in what became known as the Taisho Political Crisis. His appointment was viewed as a plot by the genrō to overthrow the Meiji Constitution. However, rather than compromising, Katsura created his own political party, the Rikken Dōshikai (Constitutional Association of Allies) in an effort to establish his own support base.
However, faced with a no-confidence motion, the first successful one in Japanese history, and the loss of the support of his backers, he was forced to resign in February 1913. He was succeeded by Yamamoto Gonnohyōe.
Katsura died of stomach cancer eight months later on 10 October 1913, aged 65. His funeral was held at the temple of Zōjō-ji in Shiba, Tokyo and his grave is at the Shōin Jinja, in Setagaya, Tokyo.
From the corresponding article in the Japanese Wikipedia
- Viscount (20 August 1895)
- Count (27 February 1902)
- Marquess (21 September 1907)
- Prince (21 April 1911)
- Grand Cordon of the Order of the Sacred Treasure (20 August 1895; Second Class: 11 May 1891)
- Order of the Golden Kite, 3rd class (20 August 1895)
- Grand Cordon of the Order of the Rising Sun (27 December 1901; Third Class: 19 November 1885; Fourth Class: 26 May 1880)
- Grand Cordon of the Order of the Paulownia Flowers (10 October 1913; posthumous)
- Collar of the Order of the Chrysanthemum (10 October 1913, Awarded a few hours before his death; Grand Cordon: 1 April 1906)
- Russian Empire:
- Knight of the Order of the White Eagle (1 May 1899)
- Knight of the Order of St. Alexander Nevsky in Brilliants (11 November 1911)
- German Empire:
- Grand Cross of the Order of the Red Eagle (4 October 1906; Knight 1st Class: 3 February 1900)
- Knight of the Order of Merit of the Prussian Crown (19 September 1912)
- Duchy of Brunswick: Knight 1st Class of the Order of Henry the Lion (1 July 1910)
- France: Grand Officer of the Legion d'Honneur (16 April 1901)
- United Kingdom: Honorary Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the Bath (GCB) (8 July 1905)
- Holy See: Knight Grand Cross of the Order of Pius IX (5 June 1906)
- Korean Empire: Grand Cordon of the Order of the Golden Ruler (21 December 1907)
- Qing dynasty: Order of the Double Dragon, Class I Grade II (21 December 1907; Class I Grade III: 18 December 1899)
- ^ "明治宰相列伝 ： 桂太郎 | 国立公文書館". www.archives.go.jp. Retrieved 19 February 2022.
- ^ a b c d e public domain: Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Katsura, Taro, Marquess". Encyclopædia Britannica. Vol. 15 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. p. 697. One or more of the preceding sentences incorporates text from a publication now in the
- ^ Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1922). "Katsura, Taro". Encyclopædia Britannica. Vol. 31 (12th ed.). London & New York: The Encyclopædia Britannica Company. p. 676.
- ^ "Latest intelligence – Japan". The Times. No. 36703. London. 28 February 1902. p. 3.
- ^ "The London Gazette, 14 July 1905".
- Lone, Stewart (2000). Army, Empire, and Politics in Meiji Japan: The Three Careers of General Katsura Taro. Palgrave Macmillan. ISBN 0-312-23289-6.
Media related to Katsura Tarō at Wikimedia Commons
- 1848 births
- 1913 deaths
- 20th-century prime ministers of Japan
- Governors-General of Taiwan
- Japanese generals
- Honorary Knights Grand Cross of the Order of the Bath
- Recipients of the Order of the Sacred Treasure
- Recipients of the Order of the Golden Kite
- Knights Grand Cross of the Order of Pope Pius IX
- Grand Officers of the Legion of Honour
- Members of the House of Peers (Japan)
- Military personnel from Yamaguchi Prefecture
- People of Meiji-period Japan
- People of the Boshin War
- Japanese military personnel of the First Sino-Japanese War
- Japanese people of the Russo-Japanese War
- Prime Ministers of Japan
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- Government ministers of Japan
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- Rikken Dōshikai politicians
- 20th-century Japanese politicians
- Deaths from stomach cancer
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- Commanders of the Order of Franz Joseph
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