|Born||August 14, 1846|
|Died||September 1, 1923(aged 77)|
|Occupation||politician, cabinet minister|
Matsuoka was a native of Awa Province (modern-day Tokushima Prefecture), where his father was a samurai in the service of Tokushima Domain. After education at the domain academy, he went to Edoin 1861 for further studies, and to Osaka in 1863. Following the Meiji restoration, in 1870, he returned to his native Tokushima, where he obtained a position as a bureaucrat within the prefectural office, and also serving as a legal councilor. He was soon (in 1871) recruited into the central government, moving to Tokyo for a position within the Ministry of Justice. He subsequently worked as prosecutor and secretary in the courts in Tokyo and Kobe, and at the Appeals Court in Hiroshima (1882). In February 1886, he was sent overseas to study the court system in France and Germany, returning to Japan in November 1887 and joining the legal team assembled under Justice Minister Yamada Akiyoshi to draft improvements to Japan’s Civil Code. Matsuoka was appointed an assistant judge of the High Court in February 1888. In 1889, he assisted in the establishment of the Law School of Nihon University.
In October 1890, Matsuoka became head of the Tokyo Appeals Court. In June 1891, he was promoted to the position of Attorney-General, and was given a seat in the House of Peers of the Diet of Japan in December of the same year. From 1894 to 1898, under the 2nd and 3rd Ito administrations, Matsuoka served as Vice-Minister for the Home Ministry, participating in numerous committees and bureaus.
Under the Saionji administration (1906–1908), Matsuoka was appointed Minister of Agriculture and Commerce. In August 1917, Matsuoka was awarded the title of baron (danshaku) in the kazoku peerage. He joined the Privy Council in November 1920, and was appointed first President of Nippon University in March 1922. He was killed on September 1, 1923 during the Great Kantō earthquake when his house in Hayama, Kanagawa collapsed.
|Minister of Agriculture & Commerce
January 1906 – July 1908