Japanese Political Glossary


Abe Shintaro (1924-91) LDP politician and faction leader expected to succeed Takeshita until his untimely death.


Akihito (1933) Personal name of the present emperor whose reign began in 1989. His reign name is Heisei.


Doi Takako (1928) First elected in 1969 in the HR, she became the JSP's first female leader in 1986. Her personal popularity in 1988 90 assisted the party to regain electoral strength in the HC and HR elections of 1989 and 1990. She was the first female Speaker of the HR in 1993 4 and resumed the leadership of the Socialist Party, now called the SDP,


Fukuda Takeo (1905-95) Elected to HR in 1952 after a career in the Ministry of Finance, joined the Kishi faction and served in several cabinet posts before serving as prime minister 1976


Hashimoto Ryotaro (1937) First elected to HR in 1963 having 'inherited' his seat from his father. A loyal member of the Tanaka and Takeshita faction, he remained in the LDP in 1993 and served as prime minister 1996. He remains a key figure in the party and was expected to be selected party leader once more in spring 2001 until he was surprisingly beaten by Koizumi.


Hatoyama Ichiro (1883-1959) After a brief career as a lawyer, he was elected to the HR in 1915 and served throughout the war, although critical of government. Nevertheless, he was purged in 1946 and prevented from becoming prime minister. He re entered politics in 1951 and was prime minister in 1954


Hatoyama Kunio (1948) Son of Ichiro and brother of Yukio, he was elected to the HR in 1976 and joined the Tanaka faction. In 1993 he defected from the LDP to join the Shinseit6 and later the Shinshint6, but in September 1996 he was one of the founding members of the DPJ.


Hatoyarna Yukio (1947) Son of IchirC5 and brother of Kunio, he was elected to the HR from Hokkaido in 1986 and joined the Tanaka faction. In 1993 he joined Shinta Sakigake and later became one of the co equal chairmen of the DPJ.


Hirohito (1901-89) Personal name of the emperor whose reign is referred to as Showa, Illustrious Peace.


Hosokawa Morihiro (1936) Governor of Kumamoto (1983 91) and LDP member of the HC (1971 83), he was elected to the HC in 1992 as a member of the Japan New Party (JNP). As leader of that party he took part in the negotiations in 1993 to form a coalition to replace the LDP and served as prime minister until April 1994.


Ikeda Hayato (1899 1965) Ministry of Finance bureaucrat who in 1949 was elected to the HR and served as minister of finance 1949 52. Built up his own faction in the LDP and was prime minister 1960-64.



Ito Hirobumi (1841-1909) A key figure in the Meiji restoration, he was the first prime minister (1885 8) and is regarded as the architect of the Meiji Constitution. He was later president of the Privy Council, president of the House of Peers and prime minister (3 more times). He was resident general of Korea 1905-09 and assassinated in Harbin by a Korean nationalist.


Kaifu Toshiki (1931) Elected to HR in 1960, he served twice as minister of education before serving as prime minister 1989 91 at a time when most other LDP leaders were in disgrace because of their links with Recruit. He was a leader of Shinseit6 but ran as an independent in 1996.


Kan Naoto (1946) Elected as a member of the tiny Social Democrat League in 1980, he joined Sakigake in 1993 and served as minister of health and welfare 1996 8. At MHW he apologized to victims of blood products contaminated by the HIV virus, which made him popular with the electorate. He was a founder member of the DPJ in 1996 and remains one of its leading figures.


Kanemaru Shin (1914 96) Elected to HR in 1958, he was a leading member of the Tanaka and Takeshita factions, served in several cabinet posts and was deputy prime minister under Nakasone. Police raids found vast amounts of cash and gold at his house and subsequently charged him with corruption. He died before a verdict was reached.


Kanzaki Takenori (1943) Komeito member of HR from 1983, he led the party into a coalition with the LDP in 1999.


Katayama Tetsu (1887 1978) Christian and leading social democrat, he was elected to the HR in 1930 though he resigned in 1940. He re entered politics in 1945, became president of the JSP in 1946 and was the first socialist prime minister, serving from May 1947 to February 1948. He remained a leading figure on the party's right wing in the 1950s and supported the formation of the DSP in 1960.


Kishi Nobusuke (1896 1987) Graduate of Tokyo University, he joined the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, rising to serve in Manchuria in 1936 and as minister during the war. He was detained as a class "A" war criminal but was never charged and was released in 1948. In 1952 he was elected to the HR and succeeded Ishibashi as prime minister 1957 60.


Koizumi Junichiro (1942) LDP member for Kanagawa from 1983, he served in several cabinet posts before standing for the post of leader in 2001. He was very popular among party members and trounced Hashimoto in the primary election.


Komoto Toshio (1911-2001) Wealthy former shipping executive who took over the Miki faction.


Konoe Fumimaro (1891 1945) Descendant of a noble family, he took his seat in the House of Peers in 1916 and attended the Paris Peace Conference in 1919. President of Peers in 1933 and prime minister 1937-9 and 1940. Designated a class A war criminal despite his attempts to end war from 1944, he committed suicide in December 1945.


MacArthur, Douglas (1880-1964) Appointed Supreme Commander of the Allied Powers in 1945 and the dominant figure during the occupation of Japan until his dismissal in April 1951.


Miki Takeo (1907-88) Elected to HR in 1937, secretary of the Cooperative Party after 1945 and played similar role in LDP in 1956. He stood as party leader in 1968 and 1972 but was offered the post in 1974 after Tanaka was forced to resign. He too was forced out in 1976.


Miyazawa Kiichi (1919 ) Elected to HR in 1955 with a background of a career in the Ministry of Education By the 1980s he was leader of the faction founded by Ikeda and was prime minister in 1992 3. Although widely blamed for the collapse of the LDP in 1993, he remained an influential figure and served again as minister of finance in 1998.


Mori Yoshiro (1937) First elected in 1969, he was a leading figure in the party by the 1990s and selected to succeed Obuchi after his sudden death in 2000. He was not popular with the party or public and resigned in May 2001.


Mutsuhito (1852 1911) Personal name of the Meiji emperor who succeeded his father in 1867.

Nakasone Yasuhiro (1918) Elected to the HR in 1947, he gained a reputation as a hawk in international affairs. While prime minister, 1982 7, he strengthened ties with the USA and launched several measures designed to reduce the size of government.


Obuchi Keizo (1937 2000) Member of HR from 1968 and member of the Tanaka/Takeshita faction. Served in a number of senior positions in the party and government until he succeeded Hashimoto as prime minister in August 1998. Died suddenly in April 2000.


Ohira Masayoshi (1910 80) After working in the Ministry of Finance, he was elected to HR in 1952 and served as foreign minister 1962 4 and at MITI 1968 70. In 1971 he took over the Ikeda faction and stood for leader of the LDP in 1972, 1973 and 1976 before success in 1978. His position was weakened by factional rivalry which resulted in two elections within twelve months; during the latter campaign he died.


Ozawa Ichiro (1941) Member of the HR from 1969, when he 'inherited' his father's seat. A leading member of the Tanaka/Takeshita faction and rival of Hashimoto. His split from the LDP caused its fall from power in 1993 and the formation of the Shinseito and Shinshinta. His attempts to create a broad church conservative rival to the LDP broke down in late 1996, since when he has been leader of the Liberal Party.


Park Chung hee (1917 79) Leader of a military coup in South Korea in 1961 which put the army at the centre of government until the 1990s. Party leader from 1961, he was assassinated by army colleagues in 1979.


Saionji Kimmochi (1849 1940) Prime minister twice in the 1900s; longest lived member of the genro.


Sato Eisaku (1901-75) Brother of Kishi, he entered the bureaucracy in 1924 and the HR in 1948. Held several key party posts and was minister at the Ministry of Finance. 1958 60 and MITI 1961. Served as prime minister from November 1964 to June 1972. Awarded Nobel Peace Prize in 1974 for his anti nuclear diplomacy amid considerable controversy.




Suzuki Zenko (1911) Worked in the fishing industry until elected to the HR in 1947 as a JSP candidate. In the 1950s he switched to the LDP and served in several cabinet posts in the 1960s and '70s. He took over as party leader and prime minister after Ohira died in July 1980 and served until 1982.


Takemura Masayoshi (1934) Elected to the HR in July 1986 as a member of the LDP, he left the party in June 1993 to found the Sakigake and played a key role in the coalition governments of 1993 8.


Takeshita Noboru (1934 2000) Became a member of HR in 1948 and was chief lieutenant to Tanaka before taking over the faction in 1986, when it was clear he would not recover from a stroke. Served as prime minister 1987 9 when he was forced to resign because of links with the Recruit company. Remained an influential figure throughout the 1990s.


Tanaka Kakuei (1918-93) Made a personal fortune from his transport and construction companies while pursuing a political career from 1947. Served in various cabinet posts in the 1950s and '60s before beating Fukuda for the post of prime minister in 1972, largely by dint of money His time at the top was short, as he was forced to resign in 1974 following criticism of his financial dealings. He was also charged with corrupt practices relating to the Lockheed scandal, but he never gave up his ambition to regain the post of prime minister and he created a huge faction. He had a serious stroke in 1.985 and died in 1993.


Tanaka Makiko (1944) Daughter of Kakuei, first elected to the HR in 1993. An outspoken member of the LDP, she supported Koizumi during his election campaign in 2001 and was rewarded with the post of minister of foreign affairs.


Tokugawa leyasu (1543-1616) From his power base around Edo (Tokyo) he took over on Toyotomi's death as undisputed leader of Japan. After the emperor granted him the title of Shogun in 1603, he created an administrative structure that would ensure his descendants would rule until 1867.


Toyotomi Hideyoshi (1536 98) From lowly origins he rose swiftly in the service of Oda Nobunaga and defeated all rivals to succeed him. Having united Japan under his wing, he embarked on a campaign to conquer Korea, causing massive destruction and loss of Japanese and Korean lives.


Uno Sesuke (1922) Member of the Nakasone faction since his election to the HR in 1960, he had been Takeshita's foreign minister and took over as prime minister when he resigned. A much publicized sex scandal damaged an already weak LDP in the HC election campaign of July 1989. Uno took

responsibility August.


Yoshida Shigeru (1878 1967) Joined the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in 1906 and served in Europe during the 1930s. His criticism of wartime policy made him acceptable to SCAP, which allowed him to take over as prime minister in April 1947. He remained in power until 1954 apart from May 1947 October 1948. He was a powerful force in politics until his death, and his foreign policy line dominated mainstream thinking until the 1990s