Shigeru Yoshida

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In this Japanese name, the family name is Yoshida.
Shigeru Yoshida
吉田 茂
Shigeru Yoshida smiling2.jpg
Prime Minister of Japan
In office
15 October 1948 – 10 December 1954
Monarch Shōwa
Governor Douglas MacArthur
Matthew Ridgway
Preceded by Hitoshi Ashida
Succeeded by Ichirō Hatoyama
In office
22 May 1946 – 24 May 1947
Monarch Shōwa
Governor Douglas MacArthur
Preceded by Kijūrō Shidehara
Succeeded by Tetsu Katayama
Personal details
Born (1878-09-22)22 September 1878
Yokosuka, Japan
Died 20 October 1967(1967-10-20) (aged 89)
Tokyo, Japan
Political party Japan Liberal Party (1945–1948)
Democratic Liberal Party (1948–1950)
Liberal Party (1950–1955)
Liberal Democratic Party (1955–1967)
Spouse(s) Yukiko Yoshida
Children 2 (including Ken'ichi)
Alma mater University of Tokyo

Shigeru Yoshida (吉田 茂 Yoshida Shigeru?), KCVO (22 September 1878 – 20 October 1967) was a Japanese diplomat and politician who served as Prime Minister of Japan from 1946 to 1947 and from 1948 to 1954, becoming one of the longest serving PMs in Japanese history.

Early life[edit]

Yoshida was born in Yokosuka near Tokyo and educated at Tokyo Imperial University. He entered Japan's diplomatic corps in 1906 just after Japan's victory against Russia in the Russo-Japanese War. He was Japan's ambassador to Italy and the United Kingdom during the 1930s and finally retired from his last appointment as ambassador to London in 1938. Throughout the 1930s and before the war ended in the 1940s, Yoshida continued to participate in Japan's imperialist movement; in early 1945 he was the Munitions Minister, and attempted to construct underground armament-manufacturing facilities to protect them from aerial bombing.[1] After several months' imprisonment in 1945, he became one of Japan's key postwar leaders.

Prime ministership[edit]

Prime Minister Yoshida signs the US-Japan Security (1951)

Yoshida became the 45th prime minister on 22 May 1946. His pro-American and pro-British ideals and his knowledge of Western societies, gained through education and political work abroad are what made him the perfect candidate in the eyes of the postwar Allied occupation.

After being replaced with Tetsu Katayama on 24 May 1947, he returned to the post as the 48th prime minister on 15 October 1948.

According to CIA files that were declassified in 2005, there was a 1952 plot to assassinate Yoshida and replace him with Ichirō Hatoyama as Prime Minister. The plot was led by Takushiro Hattori, who served as an Imperial Japanese Army officer, and had the support of 500,000 Japanese.[2]


Meeting with Ichiro Hatoyama

Yoshida's policies, emphasizing Japan's economic recovery and a reliance on United States military protection at the expense of independence in foreign affairs, became known as the Yoshida Doctrine and shaped Japanese foreign policy during the Cold War era and beyond.[3]

Under Yoshida's leadership, Japan began to rebuild its lost industrial infrastructure and placed a premium on unrestrained economic growth. Many of these concepts still impact Japan's political and economic policies. However, since the 1970s environmental movement, the bursting of Japan's economic bubble, and the end of the Cold War, Japan has been struggling to redefine its national goals.

He was retained in three succeeding elections (49th: 16 February 1949; 50th: 30 October 1952; and 51st: 21 May 1953). Power slipped away as he was ousted on 10 December 1954, when he was replaced by Ichirō Hatoyama.

Yoshida retired from the Diet of Japan in 1963.

Later years[edit]

Yoshida's grave in the Aoyama Cemetery

In 1967, Yoshida was baptized on his deathbed after hiding his Catholicism throughout most of his life. His funeral was held in St. Mary's Cathedral, Tokyo.

Yoshida's grandchildren are Princess Tomohito of Mikasa and Tarō Asō, a Japanese politician who served as the 92nd Prime Minister of Japan from 2008 to 2009.


Selected works[edit]

Yoshida's published writings encompass 159 works in 307 publications in 6 languages; His work can be found in the collections of 5,754 libraries worldwide (as of 5 June 2001).[9]

The most widely held works by Yoshida include:

  • The Yoshida Memoirs: the Story of Japan in Crisis; 15 editions published between 1957 and 1983 in English and Japanese and held by 875 libraries worldwide.[9]
  • Japan's Decisive Century, 1867–1967; 1 edition published in 1967 in English and held by 650 libraries worldwide.[9]
  • Yoshida Shigeru: Last Meiji Man; 2 editions published in 2007 in English and held by 286 libraries worldwide.[9]
  • 日本を決定した百年; 7 editions published between 1967 and 2006 in 3 languages and held by 46 libraries worldwide.[9]
  • 大磯隨想; 5 editions published between 1962 and 1991 in Japanese and held by 34 libraries worldwide.[9]
  • 吉田茂書翰; 2 editions published in 1994 in Japanese and held by 31 libraries worldwide.[9]
  • 世界と日本; 3 editions published between 1963 and 1992 in Japanese and held by 26 libraries worldwide.[9]
  • Japan im Wiederaufstieg; die Yoshida Memoiren (German); 1 edition published in 1963 in German and held by 9 libraries worldwide.[9]


  1. ^ "Industry Hide-Out Sped," New York Times, January 28, 1945
  2. ^ "CIA Papers Reveal 1950s Japan Coup Plot". Associated Press. 28 February 2007. Retrieved 11 August 2015 – via HighBeam Research. (subscription required (help)). 
  3. ^ Beeson, Mark. (2001). "Japan and Southeast Asia: The Lineaments of Quasi-Hegemony," p. 4 of linked e-reprint, citing Pyle, Kenneth B. (1998) "Restructuring Foreign Policy and Defence Policy: Japan," in McGrew, A. et al. (1998). Asia-Pacific in the New World Order, pp. 121–36.
  4. ^ From the corresponding article in the Japanese Wikipedia
  5. ^ From the corresponding article in the Japanese Wikipedia
  6. ^ From the corresponding article in the Japanese Wikipedia
  7. ^ From the corresponding article in the Japanese Wikipedia
  8. ^
  9. ^ a b c d e f g h i WorldCat Identities: Yoshida, Shigeru 1878–1967


Further reading[edit]

  • Dower, John W. Empire and Aftermath: Yoshida Shigeru and the Japanese Experience, 1878–1954.
  • Edström, Bert. Yoshida Shigeru and the Foundation of Japan's Postwar Foreign Policy.
  • Finn, Richard B. Winners in peace: MacArthur, Yoshida, and Postwar Japan.
  • Takashi Hirose (広瀬隆); 『私物国家 日本の黒幕の系図』 Tokyo:Kobunsha (1997) Genealogy14

External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by
Mamoru Shigemitsu
Minister of Foreign Affairs
Succeeded by
Hitoshi Ashida
Preceded by
Kijūrō Shidehara
Prime Minister of Japan
Succeeded by
Tetsu Katayama
Preceded by
Hitoshi Ashida
Minister for Foreign Affairs
Succeeded by
Katsuo Okazaki
Prime Minister of Japan
Succeeded by
Ichirō Hatoyama