Sonyu Ōtani

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Sonyu Ōtani
大谷 尊由
Born (1886-08-19)August 19, 1886
Kyoto, Japan
Died August 1, 1939(1939-08-01) (aged 52)
Nationality Japan
Occupation Buddhist priest, politician, Cabinet Minister

Sonyu Ōtani (大谷 尊由, Ōtani Son'yu, August 19, 1886 – August 1, 1939), was a Buddhist priest and politician in the Empire of Japan, serving as a member of the Upper House of the Diet of Japan and once as a cabinet minister.

Biography[edit]

Ōtani was born in Kyoto as the son of Ōtani Koson, the 21st hereditary head of the Jōdo Shinshū branch of Japanese Buddhism. His brother, Ōtani Kōzui was the 22nd head of the sect, and a noted explorer of Central Asia, while his sister was Takeko Kujō, a noted poet and humanitarian.

In 1904, Ōtani was sent by the Jōdo Shinshū to the Liaodong Peninsula, to minister to Japanese forces during the Russo-Japanese War. In December 1905, he was ordered the Qing dynasty China to lay the foundations for a network of Jōdo Shinshū temples and missionary activities. In September 1907, he made a tour through Southeast Asia before returning to Japan to assume his duties as an official at the Higashi Honganji in Kyoto. He travelled to Korea in 1909 to assist in the development of a network of Jōdo Shinshū temples, and departed for London in May 1910. However, due to the financial scandal which enveloped his brother, Ōtani Kōzui, then 22nd head of the sect, he was forced to curtail his trip in July 1910. He became secretary-general of the sect in March 1921.

In October 1925, Ōtani left for a tour of the United States and Canada, returning to Japan at the end of February 1926. On April 4, 1928, he was appointed to a seat in the House of Peers.

On June 4, 1937, he was asked by Prime Minister Fumimaro Konoe to accept the post of Minister of Colonial Affairs, which he held to May 26, 1938. In November 1938, he assumed the post of Director of the North China Development Company, a subsidiary of the South Manchuria Railway dedicated to the economic development of the areas of northern China under occupation by Japan. From July 1939, he was also a member of the East Asia Development Board. He died in Zhangjiakou, Hebei Province, China in 1939.

Political offices
Preceded by
Toyotarō Yūki
Minister of Colonial Affairs
Jun 1937 – May 38
Succeeded by
Kazushige Ugaki