Tanzan Ishibashi

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Tanzan Ishibashi
石橋 湛山
Ishibashi in December 1958
36th Prime Minister of Japan
In office
23 December 1956 – 31 January 1957
Preceded byIchirō Hatoyama
Succeeded byNobusuke Kishi
Minister of Posts and Telecommunications
In office
23 December 1956 – 27 December 1956
Preceded byIsamu Murakami
Succeeded byTaro Hirai
Minister of International Trade and Industry
In office
10 December 1954 – 23 December 1956
Prime MinisterIchirō Hatoyama
Preceded byKiichi Aichi
Succeeded byMikio Mizuta
Minister of Finance
In office
22 May 1946 – 24 May 1947
Prime MinisterShigeru Yoshida
Preceded byKeizo Shibusawa
Succeeded byTetsu Katayama (Acting)
Personal details
Born(1884-09-25)25 September 1884
Tokyo, Japan
Died25 April 1973(1973-04-25) (aged 88)
Osaka, Japan
Political partyLiberal Democratic Party (1955–1973)
Other political
Socialist Party (1945–1955)
Alma materWaseda University

Tanzan Ishibashi (石橋 湛山, Ishibashi Tanzan, 25 September 1884 – 25 April 1973) was a Japanese journalist and politician. Being a member of Nichiren-shū, the name Tanzan is a religious name, as his profane name was Seizō (省三). He was the 55th Prime Minister of Japan from 23 December 1956 to 25 February 1957. During the same time he was the 2nd president of the Liberal Democratic Party, the majority party in the Diet. From 1952 to 1968 he was also the president of Rissho University.


The son of a Buddhist priest, he was born in Tokyo, studied philosophy and graduated at Waseda University.

He worked as a journalist at the Mainichi Shimbun for a while. After he finished military service, he joined "Toyo Keizai Shimpo" (Eastern Economic Journal) and later he became its president in 1941. He wrote about Japanese financial policy and had arguments with Inoue Junnosuke.

Ishibashi had a liberal political view and was one of the rare personalities who opposed Japan's colonialism. Instead, he advocated a Small Japan policy; the core opinion of his Small Japan policy was the abandonment of Manchuria and of the other countries which Japan had partly or wholly colonized, to refocus efforts on Japan's own economic and cultural development.[2]

Ishibashi's cabinet (Ishibashi is in the centre, with Nobusuke Kishi to his left, as his Minister for Foreign Affairs, and Hayato Ikeda to his right as his Minister of Finance).

After World War II he received some political offers. The Japan Socialist Party offered to make him a candidate. Ishibashi became the minister of Finance under the first cabinet of Shigeru Yoshida from 1946 to 1947. In 1947 he was purged and forced to resign after openly opposing US General MacArthur's policies. After his purge was repealed in 1951, he allied with Ichirō Hatoyama and joined the movement against Yoshida's cabinet. In 1953 Ishibashi was appointed to minister of Industry by Hatoyama who became the prime minister. In 1955 the Liberal Democratic Party was formed and Ishibashi joined it.

When Hatoyama decided to retire in 1956, the LDP held a vote for their new president. At first Nobusuke Kishi was considered the most likely candidate, but Ishibashi allied himself with another candidate (Kojiro Ishii) and won the election. Ishibashi was appointed as president of the LDP and became the prime minister of Japan. Ishibashi stated that the government should endeavor to set up diplomatic relations with the People's Republic of China and his policy was popular among the people. Unfortunately he became sick and gave up his office only two months later.

After he resigned the post of prime minister and post of president of LDP, he visited China in 1963. He was known as a prominent figure among liberal politicians in the LDP. He opposed Kishi's politics on security, which seemed too militant to Ishibashi.

Tanzan Ishibashi died on April 24, 1973 [3]


From the corresponding article in the Japanese Wikipedia

  • Grand Cordon of the Order of the Rising Sun (29 April 1964)
  • Grand Cordon of the Order of the Rising Sun with Paulownia Flowers (25 April 1973; posthumous)


  • Liberalism in Modern Japan: Ishibashi Tanzan and His Teachers, 1905-1960, by Sharon H. Nolte, Published by University of California Press, 1986
  • Ishibashi Tanzan’s World Economic Theory - The War Resistance of an Economist in the 1930’s, Princeton University (http://www.princeton.edu/~collcutt/doc/Keshi_English.pdf)

Political offices
Preceded by
Keizo Shibusawa
Minister of Finance
Succeeded by
Tetsu Katayama
Preceded by
Kiichi Aichi
Minister of International Trade and Industry
Succeeded by
Mikio Mizuta
Preceded by
Isamu Murakami
Minister of Posts and Telecommunications
Succeeded by
Taro Hirai
Preceded by
Ichirō Hatoyama
Prime Minister of Japan
Succeeded by
Nobusuke Kishi
Party political offices
Preceded by
Ichirō Hatoyama
President of the Liberal Democratic Party of Japan
Succeeded by
Nobusuke Kishi


  1. ^ Okamoto, S. (1998). Ishibati Tanzan and the 21 Demands in Peter Kornicki (ed.) Meij Japan: Political, Economic and Social History, 1868-1912, Volume IV. London: Routlege. p. 245. ISBN 0-415-15622-X.
  2. ^ https://www.japantimes.co.jp/opinion/2017/10/20/commentary/japan-commentary/wisdom-tanzan-ishibashi/#.XD3mVPZFw5s
  3. ^ https://www.nytimes.com/1973/04/25/archives/tanzan-ishibashi-dies-at-88-was-former-premier-of-japan-philosopher.html